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The government has listened to our calls to delay the reception baseline assessment by a year

Today (Thu 25 Jun) the Department for Education (DfE) has written to all schools to inform them of the pragmatic decision to delay the assessment by a year, as we suggested. 

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “NAHT supports the pragmatic decision by the government to delay the statutory implementation of the reception baseline assessment (RBA) by 12 months to September 2021 and welcomes the much needed clarity this provides for schools as they prepare for the autumn term. 

“NAHT has been in regular discussions with DfE over the past weeks about this issue, and we are pleased that they have listened to our advice and the views of our members. 

“There is no certainty at the current time as to what will happen in the autumn term, and there is the potential of further disruption to the 2020/21 academic year. Furthermore, we know that there will be plenty of recovery work to do and that most children will not have had the opportunity to take part in the usual transition activities prior to starting school. Schools will rightly need to be focusing on this vital work as they return in the new academic year. 

“This delay could mean that the removal of key stage one statutory assessments is also put back. We would urge the government to consider how this could still happen to the planned timescales, reducing the amount of statutory tests and assessments which take place in the primary years overall. 

“Schools are being offered a voluntary opportunity to participate in the RBA in 2020, and we would reiterate that participation this autumn is entirely a choice for each school. For those schools who do want to participate, pushing the assessment window into the second half of the autumn term will help them to do so, and there is reassurance that, as with the pilot year, the data will not be used in any form of accountability.” 

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363


Email :
press.office@naht.org.uk