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The Education Secretary, Justine Greening, has announced that pupils who didn’t achieve the expected standard in reading and maths in primary school will not be made to resit the tests at secondary school.
Instead, struggling Year 7 pupils will be given the time and attention through a “targeted package of support” to help them catch up. This change represents a government U-turn on their manifesto pledge, and comes as parents over the summer argued that the tests were placing undue stress on their children. The original plans were also disliked by teachers who feared that some children would be labelled as failures on their arrival to secondary school, however the Department of Education felt that the new tests better prepared them for secondary school and beyond.
Furthermore, no new tests will be introduced before 2018 and the spelling and grammar test for seven-year-olds introduced in 2015-16 is to remain non-compulsory for schools next year.
The changes come after a difficult academic year for the Department of Education. During the summer, as the new tests were introduced, there were a number of leaks of live test material while teachers complained that the relevant materials and information were slow to materialise.
Students did not perform as well as previous years - although it was noted that the 2016 assessments and results marked a break from the past are were not comparable to preceding years - however Ms Greening has announced that no school would face any intervention, such as being taken over and turned into an academy, on the basis of their results alone.