On 6 July last year, I announced to the Senedd my intention to remove end of Foundation Phase and end of Key Stage 2 assessments from this academic year onwards. As Curriculum for Wales will be rolled out to all learners up to and including Year 6 in September 2022, I am proposing that these end of phase and stage assessments are removed a year early. The aim is to help create space for practitioners as they prepare their new curriculum and assessment arrangements and create flexibility for them to plan a smoother transition for learners as they move towards Curriculum for Wales.
As they prepare for September 2022, removing the end of Foundation Phase and end of Key Stage 2 assessments helps practitioners move away from using levels as criteria against which to make a ‘best fit’ judgement on the overall achievement of a learner. The Curriculum for Wales framework is clear that the purpose of assessment is to support individual learner progress with the emphasis on understanding where a learner is in their learning, how they got there and looking forward to their next steps, identifying the support needed to move forward.
Therefore, today, I am launching a consultation on the required legislative changes to remove the end of Foundation Phase and end of Key Stage 2 assessments. The consultation document also outlines consequential amendments to related legislation that would also be made if these assessments are removed. These consequential changes would mean removing the requirements for the:
- Moderation of end of Key Stage 2 assessments.
- Content of reports to parents/carers to include the outcomes of end of Foundation Phase or end of Key Stage 2 assessments in respect of pupils in Year 2 and Year 6.
- Governing bodies to report teacher assessment outcomes for learners at the end of Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 to local authorities.
- Local authorities to report teacher assessment outcomes at the end of Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 to the Welsh Government.
In addition, I am proposing to remove the requirement to moderate end of Key Stage 3 assessments from this academic year. The National Curriculum levels of attainment are well established and have been used by practitioners for many years. Therefore, I am recommending this to avoid placing additional burden on secondary schools to put new interim arrangements in place when end of Key Stage 2 assessments are removed and they are no longer able to moderate with their feeder primary schools. This proposal also helps create space for schools as they transition to the new arrangements under Curriculum for Wales.
Finally, I have combined this consultation with another consultation seeking the views of stakeholders on an amendment to regulations that will remove the requirement on local authorities to distribute paper copies of their annual prospectus to parents and pupils in their transfer year at schools maintained by them, whether they have requested a copy or not. Parents will continue to have access to the prospectus online and from the local authority offices, from any school in the local authority area or for reference at public libraries. This change in regulations will remove an unnecessary administrative and financial burden on local authorities, reducing time and costs associated with printing, distribution and storage which would better be spent on raising school standards.
These consultations been combined in order to reduce the administrative burden on respondents, at a time of continuing pressure, who in many cases are likely to be from the same organisations for example schools, local authorities, regional consortia. Respondents are under no requirement to provide a response to both policy sections of the consultation.
The consultation document is available at https://gov.wales/current-school-assessment-arrangements-and-local-authority-prospectus and the closing date for responses is 1 April 2022. I welcome and encourage the views of all those with an interest in curriculum and assessment reform.