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7000 schools opting out isn't a ringing endorsement for Reception Baseline

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Tuesday, 14 May, 2019

The DfE have today announced the numbers of schools who have opted into particpating in the Reception Baseline Assessment pilot in 2019-20, prior to it becoming statutory in 2020.  About 9,600 out of 16,800 schools have opted to take part in the pilot.

Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of Early Education, commented

“We know that there are many schools where the headteacher has signed up to the baseline pilot against the better judgement of the reception teacher.  In other cases, schools have signed up to ensure that feedback represents the views of all those across the sector, or to get advance sight of what they will have to deal with in 2020.  So the DfE should not in any way see this as an indication of numbers of schools supporting RBA.

"Nick Gibb compares this to a dental or eye check-up, but the comparison doesn't hold water.  Children benefit directly from health checks.  By contrast, these test results will be 'black-boxed' and used purely as a school accountability measure.  Reception teachers will continue to use their existing formative assessments to understand children's starting points and plan their teaching.  This makes the Reception Baseline an extra, unnecessary and unhelpful piece of work at a time when teachers would rather be helping children settle in and learn.”

Notes to editors: 

Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) is the leading independent national charity for early years practitioners and parents, campaigning for the right of all children to education of the highest quality. Founded in 1923, it has members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and provides a national voice on matters that relate to effective early childhood education and care of young children from birth to eight. The organisation supports the professional development of practitioners through publications, training, conferences, seminars and access to a national and regional branch network. For more information on the work of Early Education visit