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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. 

Analysis: KS2 assessment results in England, 2017 (provisional data)

Analysis: KS2 assessment results in England, 2017 (provisional data)


The DfE has published provisional data about attainment in the 2017 key stage 2 national curriculum assessment results for pupils in schools in England.

Key findings:

More pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics

  • In 2017, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard (a scaled score of 100 or more) in reading, writing and mathematics - an increase of 8 percentage points from 53% in 2016.
  • Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics at the higher standard (a scaled score of 110 or more in reading and maths and greater depth in writing) increased by 3 percentage points , from 5% in 2016 to 9% in 2017.
  • This increase may be due to pupils and teachers further becoming more familiar with the increased levels of demand of the new assessments, aligned with the new, more challenging national curriculum, in their second year.


Attainment at the expected standard by subject

  • Attainment at the expected standard has increased since 2016 by 5 percentage points in reading and mathematics and by 4 percentage points in grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS).
  • The proportion achieving the higher score increased by 6 percentage points in reading and mathematics and by 8 percentage points in GPS.
  • The proportion reaching the expected standard and 'working at greater depth' in the writing teacher assessment (TA) increased by 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points respectively. 
  • Attainment at the expected standard as measured by teacher assessment has increased in science by 1 percentage point since 2016. There has been a slight decrease (1 percentage point) in mathematics compared to 2016.


Girls outperform boys at the expected standard in all subjects

  • Attainment has increased for both genders but girls continue to outperform boys. The gender gap at the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics remains at 8 percentage points (as in 2016). 
  • The biggest gender gap is in writing where girls outperform boys by 12 percentage points while the smallest gap is in mathematics (1 percentage point).
  • At the higher score, girls outperform boys in all subjects except in mathematics where boys outperform girls by 3 percentage points.


Attainment by school type

  • Attainment levels in mainstream academies and free schools as a group are very similar to those in local authority maintained mainstream schools.
  • Within the academies group, converter academies have higher proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard and the higher standard than the average for all state-funded mainstream schools. This may be explained by the fact that schools that choose to convert to academies are typically high performing schools.
  • Sponsored academies are below the average for state-funded mainstream schools, which may be explained by the fact that they are typically low performing before their conversion to academy status.
  • As in 2016, attainment in individual subjects is highest in converter academies and lowest in sponsored academies.


Attainment by school phase and size

  • Attainment is similar in primary and junior schools - 63% of pupils in mainstream junior schools reach the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics compared to 62% in mainstream primary schools.
  • Schools in the 'Other' category have a lower attainment at the expected standard (59%) - than in primary and junior schools. However, these are fewer in number and are concentrated in particular areas of the country.
  • As in 2016, there is little difference in attainment by size of school.


Attainment and progress by religious character of school

  • The majority of eligible pupils (70% of those at state-funded mainstream schools) attend schools with no designated religious character. Results for these schools are therefore very close to the national average as they make up the majority of the total.
  • Apart from Methodist and Other Christian Faith schools, attainment results in faith schools are slightly higher than the national average.

More information, including national, local authority and regional tables are available here.

First published 28 November 2017

First published 04 August 2020