Early congratulations are in order

16th July 2010 at 01:00

Congratulations to staff in reception classes on a job well done. Year 1 teachers will be able to plan a curriculum which is truly relevant to their classes in September 2010.

The assessment is based almost entirely on observations of children using their skills independently. The picture is comprehensive and not confined to a narrow perspective found in other phases, so the attainment is real and will not vanish mysteriously over the holidays. Unfortunately, the congratulations are probably political statements and will not come from official bodies. The deafening silence from the Department for Education on assessment at the end of reception year contrasts with the confirmation that other statutory assessments will remain.

Trawling through the pre-election manifestos suggests that testing, as opposed to observational-led assessment, is the way policy will go. This is a tragedy given the skilfulness in assessment acquired by early years practitioners. As the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the National Strategies are in purdah, it behoves organisations such as the Association for Achievement and Improvement through Assessment and Early Education to provide leadership - and start by congratulating our practitioners, as no one else will do it publicly.

Brenda Spencer, Early years foundation stage profile moderator, Surrey.

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