Primary education is fundamental to ensuring every child receives the best possible start in life. The primary assessment and accountability system plays an important role in making sure that all children, no matter what their background or where they go to school, benefit from a high-quality primary education. We are fortunate to have some excellent local schools in Buckinghamshire and these assessments help ensure these schools are recognised and identify and improve those that can learn from others.
The reception baseline assessment (RBA) will be used to inform the way the Department for Education measures primary pupils’ progress at school. The RBA is not a test. It is a short, teacher-led assessment of children’s communication, language, literacy and early mathematics skills. No preparation will be required, either at home or at school. It will enable the Department for Education to develop improved progress measures, taking into account the work that primary schools do with their pupils in the reception year and throughout the first two years of schooling. Data from the assessment will only be used once children reach the end of primary school and, importantly, will not be used to judge, track or label individual pupils.
It is important to note that this assessment will replace existing end-of-key stage 1 tests, which will be made non-mandatory once the new reception baseline has become established.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic ministers decided to postpone the statutory rollout of the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) until September 2021, given that some schools may not have had the time they needed to familiarise their teachers and staff with the process. I hope this will provide some reassurance for you.
Ministers remain committed to introducing the RBA to have a fairer accountability system for schools, based on the educational progress their pupils make during their time at primary school. Schools will have the flexibility to sign up to the Early Adopter Year to familiarise themselves with the content and administration, with the reassurance that this year’s data will not be used for accountability purposes.