Local Authority SEND leads

The Secretary of State made an announcement about primary assessment yesterday that will be of interest to all those whose work affects pupils with SEND in primary schools. I set out details below, particularly about the recommendations to the Government of the independent Rochford Review (including on the future of P Scales), on which we will consult early next year.

The group’s recommendations to Government will be of interest to anyone in your authority and beyond it involved in the use of P scales, so please do draw the issuing of the report and the Government’s intention to consult on the recommendations in it early next year to the attention of relevant colleagues.

The full announcement can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/primary-education. It includes the following text:

I am setting out steps to improve and simplify assessment arrangements. First, we have worked closely with the profession to improve the guidance for the moderation of teacher assessment. It is important that we have a consistent and reliable approach across England. This new guidance will be accompanied by mandatory training for local authority moderators. Second, the key stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will remain non-statutory for schools this year, with tests available for teachers to use if they choose. Third, we will not introduce statutory mathematics and reading resits on children’s arrival in year 7. Rather, we will focus on the steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground. High-quality resit papers will be made available for teachers to use if they wish, as part of their ongoing assessments. In addition, we will introduce a targeted package of support to make sure that struggling pupils are supported by teachers to catch up in year 7.

Whilst the steps set out above will make improvements in the current academic year, we also need to now set out a longer term, sustainable approach. Early in the new year we will launch a consultation on primary assessment and the implications for accountability. This will cover key issues, including the best starting point to measure the progress that children make in primary school, and the role and operation of teacher assessment. Whilst we take time to consult on assessment arrangements, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will remain in place for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

Last year, the Government commissioned Diane Rochford to lead an expert review into the assessment of pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests and to make recommendations that ensure they have the opportunity to demonstrate attainment and progress at primary school. I am grateful for the work of Diane Rochford and her team and we are publishing their report today. Its recommendations will also form part of the consultation.

I look forward to engaging with parents, teachers and unions on these issues in the coming months.

Further details of the Rochford Review’s report are set out at the bottom of this e-mail. Please note that currently schools should continue to use the pre-key stage standards and P scales for the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests, pending decisions to be taken following the consultation early in the new year.

With thanks


Chris Eridani Ball

0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Unit

Children’s Services, Equalities and Communications

Department for Education