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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. 

Schools are ‘narrowing’ the curriculum, says Ofsted

In the first of a series of short commentaries from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector on the education system, Amanda Spielman warns that schools are focusing too much on working towards academic tests and not offering a balanced enough curriculum.  

Her comments come after Ofsted commissioned research earlier this year to broaden its understanding of the primary and secondary curriculum and how schools in England implement it. 

Ofsted’s chief explains in her announcement today that tests are important, but they should “exist in the service of the curriculum rather than the other way round.”

She goes on to explain that “without receiving knowledge, pupils have learned nothing and no progress has been made – whatever the measures might indicate.”

We agree that exam and test results are only part of the picture in judging a pupil’s success or a school’s effectiveness, but at the moment this isn’t happening.

Our school leaders want to do what is best for the children in their schools, but the accountability system restricts them because it places undue weight on SATs data and exam results. 

We strongly believe the government must value a broad range of subjects so that pupils’ opportunities are not limited either in school or later in life. And that is why it is one of our five priorities for bringing positive change to the education system. We will continue to push for schools to have the freedom to provide the curriculum that’s right for their students – one that’s broad and balanced, not restricted.

The initial findings highlighted from the research: 

  1. The primary curriculum is narrowing because some schools are focusing too much on preparing for SATs
  2. The key stage three curriculum is being ‘shortened’ to cover the new GCSE content
  3. Lower-attaining pupils are being ‘shut out’ from doing the EBacc and instead encouraged to take qualifications that score more highly in league tables

Read Spielman’s full commentary here.

Read our press release in response here.

First published 30 November 2017

First published 30 November 2017