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Curriculum and assessment

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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. 

The Year 2 Phonics Check – NAHT’s Position and Campaigning Work

NAHT has ensured that members’ concerns and frustrations regarding the additional phonics test for Year 2 children this term have been raised with the government. We have absolutely opposed this additional test for Year 2 right from the outset in April; unfortunately, the government has chosen to ignore the sector in making its decision.

Soon after lockdown, when primary assessments were cancelled, we were engaged with STA regarding tests in 2020/21 and particularly the phonics test. There was a statutory consultation in April, and you can read our response below; we set out a very clear position that we did not support the whole Year 2 cohort having to take the phonics check.

There was a second statutory consultation in July, and the letter NAHT sent in response to that is also found below. We opposed STA's proposals and offered an alternative solution based on teacher assessment.

During that period, NAHT was involved in numerous meetings with DfE and STA, where our position re phonics for Year 2 was reiterated.

However, although our stance on the phonics test for Year 2 was made clear to ministers and our proposed approach was a sensible compromise, Ministers kept to their initial proposals.

We continue to raise members concerns about the administration of the phonics check to the whole of year 2. We have been clear that in the current context of the pandemic and the immense pressure schools are under, it is an additional and unnecessary burden, and the logistical challenges of releasing a teacher and finding a space to do the assessment with all of the Year 2 children cannot be underestimated.

We are also having detailed conversations with our branches and individual members about this issue and we have been listening carefully to the feedback from them. As a result, the union is currently assessing the legal status of these tests and the possible options available to both the union as a whole and to individual members.

First published 20 November 2020