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NAHT secures agreement from DfE that 2017 writing data will not be used as the basis for intervention

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On 5 June 2017, NAHT wrote to the Secretary of State outlining our concerns with the current approach to the assessment of writing, and our belief that this data should not therefore be used for school accountability purposes in 2017.

NAHT sought a commitment from government that no intervention will be made on the basis of this data, including where a primary school falls below the  floor or coasting standards in 2017 as a result of writing data alone.

On 18 July we received a formal response from the Secretary of State for Education. In her letter, Justine Greening has confirmed that in 2017:

  • no intervention will be made on the basis of writing data alone;
  • In addition, where a school is below the floor or coasting because of writing only, no intervention will follow.  
  • Ofsted intends to publish a termly update for inspectors in September and the DfE are working with Ofsted to ensure that this update reaffirms that inspectors should continue to use caution when assessing KS2 writing data in 2017, and that no single measure or indicator, including writing progress or attainment, should determine judgements.  
  • DfE recognise NAHT's concerns about how this published data is interpreted and will work with us on revised wording for the Schools Causing Concern Guidance to make this very clear to all schools concerned.   

The Secretary of State is also clear in her response that data should only be the starting point for a conversation about school performance. As stated in the consultation document, no single piece of data will be used to determine any decision on intervention, either in 2017 or beyond. Instead Ofsted, RSCs, local authorities, governors and parents should look at a range of data, alongside the school's broader context and performance history, rather than focusing on one piece of information alone.

You can read the letter in full here or see the document attached below.

NAHT is pleased to have secured these reassurances for our members. Do share these messages with governors and other members of your leadership team.

If you have concerns about the way your 2017 writing data is being used, please contact the NAHT advice team on 0300 30 30 333.