NAHT has received indications that some local authorities and Regional Schools Commissioners have sought to act in a manner contrary to the statement made by the Secretary of State in October 2016:
‘Because of the changes to primary assessment, I want to be clear that no decisions on intervention will be made on the basis of the 2016 data alone. Regional Schools Commissioners and local authorities will work together with the current leaders of the small minority of primary schools below the floor or coasting to help and support the schools to move forward in a positive direction.’
NAHT officials have expressed concerns to the DfE in a meeting in December. The DfE’s position is that 2016 data can act as a ‘trigger’ to enter into discussions about the school’s circumstances but not as the basis for intervention.
Members are also advised to be aware of the ‘clarification’ issued by STA in March 2016 with regard to writing outcomes:
- ‘As this is the first year of schools working with the new interim assessment frameworks, the Minister for Schools has written to the Chief Inspector asking him to ensure that Ofsted inspectors take into account national performance and contextual factors when considering a school's performance in writing at KS2, which is used as part of the floor standard.
- The Minister has also asked RSCs to be mindful of the impact of these new arrangements in making decisions about issuing warning notices and tackling underperformance following this year’s results.’
A third key point relates to confidence intervals and, in particular, a footnote in the DfE’s technical guide to accountability and assessment. The note (with regard to the progress floor standard) reads:
‘If the school has one progress score that is less than sufficient in one subject, the school will only be below the floor if the progress score for that subject is significantly below average - the upper band of its confidence interval is below zero.’ (p.6)
NAHT officials will continue to discuss this matter with the DfE this term and the Department has been asked to be informed of examples of local authorities and RSCs whose actions are contrary to the points made above. Please contact NAHT’s advice team on 0300 30 30 331 option1 if you believe that this is happening to your school.
In addition, we have created a statement which members can use alongside the publication of results on your school’s website to give the context of this data: ‘"The National Association of Head Teachers urges strong caution in the use of test data from primary schools in 2016. As a result of dramatic changes to the tests themselves and mistakes in their design, the data is not a reliable measure of school or pupil performance. It should not be compared to past years or to results in other schools. The government have also urged caution in the use of the results and have said that the 2016 results alone cannot be used for formal intervention in schools."