Thank you to those who have contacted me about SATs, phonics and formal tests in primary schools.
Firstly, I pay tribute to the teachers, headteachers, school staff and others for making it possible for our children and young people to return to school. This has been a very challenging year for all.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, lost learning has seriously impacted the education, health and wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I believe that keeping pupils learning is hugely important for their education.
In January 2021, the Education Secretary confirmed the Government would not be proceeding with SATs in 2021. All statutory key stage 1 and key stage 2 tests and teacher assessments planned for summer 2021, including the key stage 2 tests in reading and mathematics and the key stage 1 Phonics check, will not take place. However, it has said it is planning for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021-22 academic year.
Coming out of the pandemic – and as we enter a new chapter for Britain – a children’s recovery must be at the heart of our efforts. I have long called for a national strategy to help children catch up and close the attainment gap. Children’s recovery from this pandemic is a five-year mission, not a task for five months only.
That is why I support the establishment of the Bright Future Taskforce to ensure every child can recover from the impacts of the pandemic and every child is able to reach their potential. The taskforce will focus on the whole experience of the education system, from early years through to adulthood, considering children’s happiness, wellbeing and educational attainment. We must embed broader wellbeing in the ethos of the education system, as a pre-requisite for successful learning.