500 signatures reached
To: Damian Hinds, Education Secretary
Stop the introduction of compulsory tests for children in reception
Please do not introduce compulsory baseline tests in numeracy, literacy and behaviour for children in the first 6 weeks of primary school. Four-year-olds are too young to accurately assess. Many psychologists, parents and teachers are firmly against this and it should be dropped.
Why is this important?
The government are introducing compulsory testing for children in reception. The tests will be in numeracy, literacy and behaviour. A £10m trial will begin in September, with the aim of introducing it to all infant schools in 2020. This must be stopped.
Though early assessments are important, baseline testing is not the way to approach this. Different ways of assessing children were explored in 2015, and the most popular was based solely on observation of children. The approach of baseline testing came under scrutiny from teaching unions and parents, and the Department for Education quickly put an end to the tests, claiming the different approaches were too hard to compare.
However, here we are again, and this time compulsory baseline tests are being pushed through. The only way to stop this is to speak up.
The tests are unreliable. Many factors are thought to 'scew' the results, including 'whether the child was summer born, spoke English as a first language, or had settled happily into school.'
The tests are also risking making social inequality worse. 'Parents with high expectations will prepare their children, which could mean these infants have a higher score and that higher expectations will follow them throughout their school careers. The opposite could be true for children from disadvantaged homes.'
So the disadvantaged, the youngest, those who do not speak English as a first language, even those who are shy and not settling as well as others could have their education seriously damaged by these tests. Is this not discrimination?
This approach being pushed through seems to be based on a November OFSTED report that 'highlighted that a third of five-year-olds, and half of disadvantaged ones, were not reaching expected standards of development in their reception year. The inspectors recommended more focus on reading, including phonics.' It suggested that reception pupils need to be 'pushed harder in reading and maths'.
However, this is being challenged by parents, teachers and other education experts, who claim the OFSTED report was biased because 'the schools used as good examples by the inspectorate were chosen for their more formal approach.'
The evidence suggests that baseline testing will be extremely damaging. Please sign and share this petition to show Damian Hinds that it is not supported.
A good summary of everything you need to know about this issue: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jan/16/tests-reception-children-immoral-england-play