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Curriculum, assessment and qualifications

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NAHT is working to ensure that the curriculum supports the learning, progress and success of all pupils. NAHT supports the principle that a broad and balanced curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

NAHT is campaigning to: 

Support schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils

  • Challenge the government policy, including EBacc, which may narrow the curriculum
  • Enable and support schools to successfully deliver statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education
  • Lobby for improvements to government policy which supports schools to deliver inclusive education and fulfil their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty
  • Support schools to deliver effective careers education for all pupils
  • Support schools to deliver high-quality Religious Education to all pupils
  • Provide guidance, materials and information to support schools in educating pupils about environmental issues.

Ensure a valid and proportionate approach to statutory assessment in primary schools

  • Lobby the government to reconsider the introduction of the multiplication tables check
  • Lobby the government to ensure changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Early Learning Goals are appropriate and relevant for the early years sector
  • Influence the development and implementation of the reception baseline assessment
  • Support members to implement the new statutory assessment for pupils with SEND
  • Identify and challenge the STA over any impact on members of the contract change to deliver statutory assessment in the primary phase
  • Engage with the STA to influence changes and improvements to statutory assessment including moderation and maladministration
  • Campaign for KS2 SPAG to be made non-statutory and oppose any additional statutory testing in the primary phase

Ensure the KS4 and KS5 qualification framework and examination system is fit for purpose

  • Press the government, Ofqual and exam boards to ensure that reformed qualifications, both academic and vocational, meet the needs of all pupils and schools
  • Explore the issue of grade reliability, identifying solutions and improvements which are supported by members and pressing the government and Ofqual for appropriate action
  • Inform members of the latest developments in secondary assessment through engagement with Ofqual, JCQ and awarding organisations. 

KS4 and 16-18 performance data 2022

NAHT have held a clear position that no data from tests or qualifications in 2022 should be published and have pressed this position from the very initial discussions with the Department for Education.

However, in July 2021 the government confirmed their approach to performance data in 2022.

In summary:

  • Key Stage 2: Data will not be published in Key Stage 2 performance tables in the academic year 2021 to 2022. The normal suite of KS2 accountability measures at school level would be produced and shared with primary schools, academy trusts, local authorities and Ofsted.
  • Key stage 4 and post-16: Results from qualifications achieved in 2021 to 2022 will be published on school and college performance tables, using the normal suite of accountability measures as far as that is possible. This data will also be shared through ASP and with Ofsted as in a normal year.

Since that announcement, NAHT have continued to lobby hard and ensure our views have been heard strongly at every opportunity and at all levels, from civil servants to the secretary of state for education.  

The secretary of state for education wrote to our general secretary today, and although the government have not reversed their decision to publish, we have achieved some significant shifts in the approach to the use of this data (which also apply to KS2) and some important changes to the presentation of the data on the Compare School and College Performance website.

Use of the data

On use of the data the DfE accountability guidance says:

We recognise the uneven impact on schools and colleges of the pandemic, and will ensure clear messages are placed on performance measures website to advise caution when considering the 2021/22 data.

This will include strongly discouraging all users of the data from drawing comparisons with performance data from previous years.

We will also advise caution when comparing a school’s performance with national or local authority averages, advising users to talk to the school or college to understand the context for the results.

We will also strongly advise against direct comparisons between the performance data for one school or college and another school or college, without taking this broader context into account.

Inspectors will be clear that 2021/22 data is not comparable with earlier years and aware of the caveats on the data due to the changes to the methodology outlined in this document and the uneven impact of the pandemic on pupils and schools.

Changes to the Compare School and College Performance (CSCP) website for the 2021/22 academic year

To support appropriate use of the 2021/22 data, DfE plan to make changes to the performance measures website and the way they present school and college level data for 2021/22. They will be carrying out further work and testing over the coming months on these changes for this year, which will include:

  • removing the “all schools and colleges in England” and local authority comparison tables (they will continue to show local authority and national averages for each performance measure on the individual school or college pages, and data on all schools/colleges and local authorities will still be available to download from the website),
  • changing the name of the website to reduce the emphasis on comparison between institutions,
  • stopping displaying pre-pandemic data (2018/19 and earlier) on the school/college pages and move these data to the usual archive with a link on the website and
  • changing the way they present progress measures, by removing the coloured “bandings” to discourage simplistic conclusions being drawn about a school or college’s overall performance.

You can read the guidance in full using the links below.

First published 22 June 2022