ASCL responds to UCL warning on primary school testing and inspections

09/10/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to UCL research which warns that primary school testing and inspections will do more harm than good if they go ahead as normal.
 
Responding to UCL research which warns that primary school testing and inspections will do more harm than good if they go ahead as normal, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“Even in normal years, the school accountability system is particularly harsh on schools which serve deprived communities, and the Covid crisis is likely to have widened educational gaps.
 
“Many disadvantaged children will have struggled more with the national lockdown period than advantaged children, not least because they may not have had access to laptops or stable internet connections.
 
“National tests cannot possibly provide a fair comparison of schools in these circumstances and the government should rule out their use for performance tables this academic year.
 
“Ofsted inspections should not resume in January as planned given the turbulence of rising infection rates and pupils having to intermittently self-isolate, and should be postponed until circumstances are more favourable.
 
“Schools must be allowed to focus on managing safety protocols, identifying learning gaps and helping children to catch-up, without the additional burden of the full weight of our excessive accountability system.”