Commons Education Committee inquiry into primary assessment – Friday 23 September 2016

This week the Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into how this year’s new tougher SATs tests have affected primary schools and the DfE has published new guidance on screening and searching pupils and handling strike action in schools.

Education Select Committee inquiry into primary assessment
This summer was the first year that 10 and 11 year olds took the new tougher tests in reading, maths and spelling, grammar and punctuation. Pupils were also assessed in writing by their teachers according to a new national framework.  Just 53% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths and the NAHT, ATL and NUT have said that urgent changes are needed or they will consider a boycott in 2017.

The Commons Education Committee has launched an inquiry looking at the implementation of the new system, its impact on teaching and learning schools and the wider issue of what primary assessment is for.

The Government has already put on hold plans to introduce multiplication tables tests next year and has said that proposed Year 7 resits will not begin in this academic year.

Guidance: searching, screening and confiscation at school
Today the Department for Education (DfE) published updated guidance explaining the powers schools have to screen and search pupils, and to confiscate items they find. The new guidance now includes a link to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety’s advice on responding to ‘Sexting in schools and colleges’.

Given that we now live in a technological age and most pupils have a mobile phone and/or access to a tablet/laptop, Governors are reminded that the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education now includes an annex in relation to online safety. As Governors should be aware pupils should be taught about online safety as part of safeguarding within the curriculum.

Updated guidance on handling strike actions in schools
This week the Government published revised guidance on what to do when school staff go on strike. The document emphasises the DfE’s expectation that all reasonable steps will be taken to keep a school open in the event of a strike. It also provides advice on how to achieve this while explaining the law on trade disputes and picketing.