If Baseline Assessment goes ahead in 2020, every four-year-old will take a 20-minute one-to-one test in their first six weeks at school.
Despite a sustained campaign from teachers, parents and experts to stop the tests, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has now said they will go ahead as planned.
Addressing Mr Williamson in the House of Commons yesterday, Margaret Greenwood, MP for Wirral West, flagged a University College London study of the Government's pilot of the Reception baseline assessment last year.
‘This found that the test caused anxiety, distress and a sense of failure in many children – and we're talking about four-year-olds here’, she said.
When she asked the Government ‘to do the right thing’ and abandon its plans to bring in the Reception baseline assessment, the Education Secretary simply replied no.
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There was an angry reaction on social media. Professional association TACTYC tweeted: ‘It will be a travesty if the Government goes ahead with tests for four-year-olds in 2020/21. Baseline tests are unreliable and uninformative and show a lack of trust in the teaching profession’!
But Jonathan Simons, director at the Public First Consultancy tweeted: ‘This is an excellent announcement and much needed for the system. Together with the announcements on restarting exams for summer 2021, it’s important to return to normality next year as much as possible’.
Campaign group More Than A Score now has more than 84,000 signatures on its petition to scrap Baseline and is aiming for 102,400.