National Curriculum Tests

Department for Education written question – answered at on 23 October 2023.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the use of SATs to track the educational progress of primary school children.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Primary assessments play a crucial role in supporting pupils’ basic understanding of reading, writing and mathematics, and in preparing pupils for secondary school. They allow parents and schools to understand pupils’ achievements in relation to the age related attainment expectations outlined in the National Curriculum.

As set out in the Bew Report and the Government consultation document on primary assessment and accountability, the test and teacher assessment outcomes are also used to hold schools to account for the attainment and progress made by their pupils. In addition, the data enables benchmarking between schools, as well as monitoring of performance locally and nationally. The Bew Report is accessible here: The Government consultation outcome is available here:

In 2017, the Department carried out a consultation into primary assessment in England, with the aim of creating effective and settled policy in this area. The consultation received over 4,000 responses from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms, providing a broad and informed range of views. The Government response was published in September 2017, and can be accessed at:

The resulting reform programme was designed to bring higher standards to primary assessment and to put in place an assessment system that helps teachers and head teachers help all pupils to succeed.

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