Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the reception baseline assessment (RBA).
As you may be aware, following a consultation in 2017 on Primary Assessment in England, the Government committed to introducing a baseline assessment in reception by autumn 2020.
I am aware that there has been widespread opposition to the RBA from the National Education Union, educationalists and campaign groups.
The Government started a national voluntary pilot of the RBA in autumn 2019, and schools were able to sign up to participate between 1st March and 5th April 2019.
In February 2020, the UCL Institute of Education published research into the pilot which highlights a number of issues relating to the RBA. The research found that 69% of survey respondents disagreed that “Reception Baseline Assessment has helped to develop positive relationships with the children in Reception”. It also found that 83% of survey respondents stated that their workload had increased with RBA. The research further found that teachers reported that some children experienced RBA as stressful and this had detrimental effects upon their well-being.
With the ongoing situation with coronavirus, it will be vitally important for teachers to create the positive and supportive environment that pupils will need to be able to settle in to school and enjoy learning in the school environment.
I therefore welcomed that in June 2020, the Government announced that the statutory introduction of the RBA will be delayed for a year because of the issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. I pay tribute to the work that campaigners have done to achieve this.
I believe that it must be a key priority of the Government to support the psychological and emotional well-being of pupils and I will continue to monitor developments over the implementation of the RBA closely.