News: Changes in Assessment and Accountability announced

accountability road sign illustration design over a white background

-Primary schools and further education colleges in England have been advised of new assessment and accountability reforms by Schools Minister David Laws. In a ministerial statement, the minister states how progress will now be the most important way in which we will hold schools and colleges to account, “The new accountability system will be fairer, measuring the progress that students make while at school or college.”

The changes announced are as follows:


We are resetting the standard for success for primary schools. Expectations are currently too low (level 4c in English and mathematics). In 2012, fewer than half the pupils who had only just reached this expected standard went on to achieve 5 good GCSEs. Under the new system, we will expect schools to support at least 85% of their pupils to achieve a new higher standard (closer to the present 4b level). With the continued improvement in teaching, the sharper focus of the new curriculum and increased funding, results should rise.

We have invested through the pupil premium so that schools can give disadvantaged pupils the help they need. With more than 1.1 million pupils from reception to year 6 currently benefiting, schools receive £953 for each primary-age pupil rising to £1300 from April 2014.

To judge schools’ progress more fairly, we will work with experts to introduce a new assessment taken during reception as the baseline. This will sit within teachers’ broader ongoing assessments of children’s development and progress throughout reception. The reception baseline will be used to assess schools’ progress for children who start reception in September 2016 and beyond. Schools that choose not to use an approved baseline assessment from 2016 will be judged on the 85% attainment standard alone.

[pullquote]The grammar, punctuation and spelling test will not form part of the primary floor standard in 2014[/pullquote]

From September 2016, the early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile will no longer be compulsory. The EYFS will continue to be statutory and the basis for Ofsted inspection of early year settings including children in a school nursery and reception classes, thereby ensuring children receive a broad education and are able to learn and thrive in school.

I can also confirm today that the grammar, punctuation and spelling test will not form part of the primary floor standard in 2014.

16 to 19

Our changes to 16 to 19 accountability support the reforms we have already made to improve the quality of 16 to 19 education and training. The introduction of study programmes and traineeships last September, the reforms to A levels and vocational qualifications and the emphasis on English and mathematics support our ambitions to make sure that students in this country can compete with the best in the world.

We will introduce new, fairer minimum standards for 16 to 19 providers. Wherever data allows it we will use progress measures. This will apply to academic and applied general qualifications. Where the data is not robust enough, we will use a combined completion and attainment measure.

We will introduce 5 headline measures of performance for all 16 to 19 providers to give a broader picture of educational outcomes than attainment alone. These headline measures include:

  • progress measures
  • attainment measures
  • retention measures
  • English and mathematics progress measures for those who did not achieve good grades at age 16
  • destination measures

The statement concludes:

We believe that the single most important outcome for any school or college is to give as many students as possible the knowledge and skills to flourish in the later phases of education and life. The reforms that I have set out today set the framework for schools and colleges to meet this challenge: ensuring all children move on to secondary school ready to succeed and all 16 to 19 students can move into further or higher education or employment.

The full statement is available here, and the full document from the DfE is available here (pdf).


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