Pupils: Assessments

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Zarah Sultana Zarah Sultana Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of (a) SATs and (b) statutory testing on pupil mental health and wellbeing; and if he will make it his policy to pause such testing to allow for a profession-led review of the potential impact of the current assessment system in primary schools on pupil wellbeing.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Schools should support a culture of wellbeing amongst staff and pupils. The department understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and that this will have an impact in the longer-term. Although schools should encourage all pupils to work hard and achieve well in primary assessments, the department does not recommend that they devote excessive time to preparation, and certainly not at the expense of pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Assessments are a crucial part of a child’s schooling and are fundamental in a high-performing education system. Statutory assessments at primary school are an essential part in ensuring that all pupils master the basics of reading, writing, and maths to prepare them for secondary school. Assessment data also enables parents, schools, and the department to understand the impact of lost time in education and recovery initiatives.

In 2017, the government carried out a consultation into primary assessment in England. The consultation received over 4,000 responses from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms, providing a broad and informed range of views that informed policy on the current primary assessment system. Additionally, the department engages with teachers, parents and their representatives on a regular basis to understand their views on primary assessment.

The department has no current plans to undertake further major reform of assessments.

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