Friday Update – 18 July 2014

This week we highlight new Primary school Maths and English tests coming in from 2016 with some recently released sample questions, a consultation on new subject content for further GCSEs and A levels and new statutory guidance on performance attainment targets for pupils with SEN.

Sample questions published for new Primary school tests in Maths and English

Earlier this week the DfE announced new tougher primary school tests in Maths and English to further the government’s objective of ensuring nobody leaves school without being able to read or write and with a solid grounding in maths.  Sample questions for the tests taken by 7-year-olds and 11-year-olds – in maths, reading, and grammar, punctuation and spelling – reveal the higher standards expected of children in the 3Rs.  The new tests will come in from 2016 and will be taught from this September. All topics in the curriculum – including the most complex – will be tested in these new assessments, whereas at the moment 11-year-old pupils are only fully stretched if they are also entered for the separate level 6 tests. The complicated system of levels is being scrapped, with pupils given ‘a scaled score’ which shows how they compare to the expected standard for their year.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announces next steps on GCSE and A level reform

The DfE is consulting on new subject content for a further set of GCSEs and A levels. These subjects will be first taught in 2016. There are 2 parts to the consultation. The first part seeks views on content which awarding organisations have developed, working with subject associations and other stakeholders. At GCSE these subjects are art and design, computer science, dance, music and physical education. At AS and A level, the subjects are dance, music and physical education.

The second part of the consultation seeks views on content for AS and A levels in modern foreign languages, ancient languages, mathematics, further mathematics and geography. Ofqual is consulting in parallel on the assessment arrangements for all these subjects.

New Statutory guidance on performance (P scale) attainment targets for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)

The document supplements the national curriculum by specifying performance attainment targets (P scales) and performance descriptors for pupils aged 5-16 with special educational needs (SEN) who cannot access the national curriculum. These apply to key stages 1, 2 and 3.  In key stage 4, the P scales and performance descriptors can be used as non-statutory guidelines describing some of the types and range of performance that pupils with SEN who cannot access the national curriculum might characteristically demonstrate.