Confirmation of the national funding formula – Friday 15 September 2017

This week I report on the Government’s confirmation of the new national funding formula, changes to the primary assessment system and the scrapping of P-scales for assessment of pupils working below national curriculum level.

Confirmation of the national funding formula
This week Justine Greening, the Education Secretary announced that primary schools will get at least £3,500 for every pupil on their roll from 2019/20, an extension of the £4,800 per-pupil funding guarantee for secondary schools that was announced in July. However, she later clarified that the formula was only “notional” and that the actual levels of funding for the first two years for each school would be reviewed and distributed by local authorities based on their own factors.

Every school in England will also receive a lump sum of £110,000 to help with fixed costs, and there is also a £26 million fund to help “rural and isolated” schools to manage their “unique challenges”.

Changes to the primary assessment system
Yesterday the Education Secretary announced changes to the primary assessment system stating, “These changes will free up teachers to educate and inspire young children while holding schools to account in a proportionate and effective way.” She confirmed the DfE will:

  • introduce a new teacher-mediated assessment in the Reception year from 2020 to provide a baseline measure to better track pupils’ progress during primary school. The check, which will be developed in conjunction with the teaching profession, will ensure schools are given credit for all the work they do throughout a child’s time at primary school;
  • improve the Early Years Foundation Stage profile – a check on a child’s school readiness at the end of their early years education. This includes reviewing supporting guidance, to reduce burdens for teachers;
  • make Key Stage 1 tests and assessments non-statutory from 2023 and remove the requirement for schools to submit teacher assessment data to the Government for reading and maths at the end of Key Stage 2, as these subjects are already assessed through statutory tests, from 2018/19;
  • introduce a multiplication tables check to aid children’s fluency in mathematics from 2019/20;
  • improve teacher assessment of English writing by giving teachers greater scope to use their professional judgement when assessing pupils at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 from the current academic year (2017/18).

Removal of P-scales for assessment of pupils working below national curriculum level
This week the Government also confirmed it had accepted the final recommendations from last year’s Rochford Review looking at how pupils who are working below the standard of the national curriculum tests should be assessed.

The statutory requirement for teachers to use performance scales (P-scales) to assess pupils with SEND who are not working at the standard of national curriculum assessments will be removed from the 2018/19 academic year, to allow the Government to make the necessary changes to legislation.

In its consultation response to the review, the Government said it would make interim pre-key stage standards, which assess ability in reading, writing and mathematics, permanent for all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning. For the pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning, which is a small number of pupils nationally, the Government will pilot using seven areas of cognition and learning instead of P-scales.