All children to be able to swim by the end of primary school – Friday 26 October 2018

This week I report on the DfE’s announcement of extra help to ensure all children know how to swim by the end of primary school and Ofqual’s desire for rules around the oversight of Key Stage 2 tests to be strengthened.

Drive to ensure all children can swim by the end of primary school
Yesterday, the Department for Education and the Department for Digital, Culture Media in partnership with Sport Swim England, announced extra help for schools to make sure every child knows how to swim and be safe in and around water by the end of primary school, supported by the £320 million PE and Sport Premium.

The extra support will help deliver the government’s sport strategy ‘Sporting Future’, which committed to ensuring that every child leaves primary school able to swim. It includes:

  • using the PE and Sport Premium for extra lessons for children who have not yet met the national curriculum expectation after core swimming lessons, and extra training for teachers on water safety and swimming techniques through courses provided by Swim England;
  • extra guidance, provided by Swim England, will be available to help schools deliver safe, fun and effective swimming lessons; and
  • a drive to boost partnerships with independent schools to offer the use of facilities, coaching and other forms of support to schools in their area.

It comes after the Education Secretary announced a cross-government school sport and activity action plan that will consider ways to ensure all children have access to quality, protected PE and sport sessions during the school week and opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day. The action plan will be launched in the spring next year.

Exams regulator wants rules around oversight of Key Stage 2 tests to be beefed up
Ofqual has written to the Standards Testing Agency, responsible for developing and delivering statutory assessments, to “suggest” the body strengthens its current guidance over SATs.

The STA currently recommends schools “should” arrange for Key Stage 2 tests to be independently observed.  But in an annual report on national assessments regulation published today, Ofqual said this should be made into “more of an expectation or requirement”.

This would further support the “verification of the integrity of test administration”, said the regulator, which added that the STA is currently “considering” the language it uses around test observers.