Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
Work to develop the new on-entry assessment to the Foundation Phase began last summer and is being taken forward as part of the broader, cross-Government, Early Years Development and Assessment Framework (EYDAF) Project. The project is developing a single overarching 0-7 assessment framework and a suite of linked assessment tools which can be used to chart children’s progress, longitudinally, across the early years. It was intended that the new on-entry assessment for the Foundation Phase would be introduced from September 2014. While work has been progressing to schedule, it is vital that the new assessment is consistent with, and aligned to the Foundation Phase curriculum and assessment arrangements, as set down in the Areas of Learning, so that learners’ progress across the entire Foundation Phase can be recorded and tracked.
In October 2013, I announced a two-phase approach to the Review of assessment and the National Curriculum. The first phase of this Review has focused on the integration of literacy and numeracy into the curriculum, and includes proposals to revise the existing Foundation Phase Areas of Learning for Language, Literacy and Communication Skills (LLCS) and for Mathematical Development (MD). The on-entry assessment ladders being developed as part of the EYDAF will be dependant on the content of these two Areas of Learning, and therefore, it is essential that they align to ensure that the on-entry assessment, annual tracking and end of Phase reporting result in an accurate profile of learner progress.
In order to ensure that these key elements are suitably aligned, I have, decided that the introduction of the on-entry assessment tool for the Foundation Phase will take place alongside the proposed timetable for the statutory introduction of the new Areas of Learning for Language, Literacy and Communication Skills (LLCS) and for Mathematical Development (MD). The revisions to these Areas of Learning and the timetable for introduction were included in the consultation document which was published yesterday. In line with these proposals it is my intention that the on-entry assessment tool should be introduced on a statutory basis from September 2015.
Between September 2014 and September 2015 schools should continue to use their existing arrangements for assessing children when they first enter the Foundation Phase to identify any potential developmental delays and provide a baseline from which their progression across the Phase can be charted.