Growing concerns over workload in primary schools have prompted the NAHT headteachers’ union to call on members to sign its “proportionate” assessment pledge. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “Teachers and school leaders have significant concerns about the assessment arrangements for 2016. NAHT is in conversation with the government about possible solutions.” The pledge calls for a “stable, coherent, valid and proportionate” approach to assessment. The concerns follow the release of new details on the writing assessments for Year 6 that will require teachers to assess several samples of their pupil’s work against a number of “can do” statements. Materials published this month suggest that this could involve up to 198 boxes to be ticked per child. There are also new teacher assessments in reading, grammar and maths for Year 2.
Recruitment for the majority of primary school-based initial teacher training has been shut by the government, leaving schools warning of looming shortages for 2017. Primary headteachers – who rely on “grow your own” trainees to staff their classrooms – have been told to stop recruiting them. Some warned that this could be “disastrous”, as they have yet to recruit the staff they need this year. News of the closure emerged late last week, just two days after the Department for Education was damned by the National Audit Office for its handling of the recruitment crisis. From last Friday all primary training providers outside London that had taken on at least 75 per cent of last year’s numbers had to stop recruiting trainees on to fee-charging School Direct or SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) schemes. Jo Palmer-Tweed, executive director of Essex and Thames Primary SCITT, which covers 128 schools, said: “Our data shows that a large number of our schools will be unable to recruit the staff they need as a result.”
Primary schools are being urged to help educate children about the environmental impact of food, after a survey by charity WWF UK found that 53 per cent of pupils had tried growing their own vegetables at home, but only 25 per cent had done so at school. The survey of 500 children was part of the environmental charity’s Plant2Plate campaign to encourage all schools to try growing fruit and vegetables.
A new training programme on financial education has been launched at 12 primary schools across London. The two-year Money-Matics programme aims to help teachers with expert advice on how to create positive attitudes towards money early on in life. It is a joint project from charity Young Enterprise and the Nationwide building society.