Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language
On 14 February, in preparation of the new curriculum, we launched a consultation seeking views on proposals to remove some current school assessment requirements from this academic year. They were:
- End of Foundation Phase assessments
- End of Key Stage 2 assessments
- Moderation of end of Key Stage 2 and end of Key Stage 3 assessments
As Curriculum for Wales will begin rolling out to schools and settings in September, we proposed to remove these requirements early to create space for practitioners as they prepare their new curriculum and assessment arrangements and create flexibility for them to plan a smoother transition for learners.
Secondary schools and their feeder primary schools moderate end of Key Stage 2 and end of Key Stage 3 assessments together. As we are proposing to remove end of Key Stage 2 assessments, without the proposed changes, in practice secondary schools would have to produce interim arrangements to moderate end of Key Stage 3 assessments with other secondary schools until roll out reached year 9. Therefore, the majority of consultation respondents agreed with the proposals in order to remove unnecessary burdens on schools.
The requirements relating to ongoing assessment and personalised assessments will remain in place.
The consultation closed on 1 April with the majority of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the proposals.
The proposals set out in the consultation did not impact the arrangements for end of Key Stage 3 teacher assessments as Curriculum for Wales roll out won’t reach year 9 until 2024-25. However, the consultation process shed light on issues at Key Stage 3 that are specific to Special Schools. As practitioners in these schools teach according to learners’ needs rather than their age, learners from different year groups are taught together. This causes challenges in the interim years as Curriculum for Wales rolls out on a year-by-year basis, reaching year 9 in September 2024. Practitioners would need to assess within the same class some learners using current National Curriculum levels and others according to the school’s Curriculum for Wales assessment arrangements. We were also informed during the consultation process that the majority of learners within our special schools are removed from the end of Key Stage 3 assessments every year as they are not accessible to them. As a result, I intend to remove end of Key Stage 3 assessments in special schools from this academic year. This is to create more flexibility for practitioners to make appropriate transition arrangements for their schools and to select the most appropriate assessment methods to support their learners.
Year 9 learners in all other schools will continue to undertake the end of Key Stage 3 assessment that support the current National Curriculum until Curriculum for Wales roll out reaches year 9 in September 2024. However, in relation to day to day teaching and learning and supporting learners to make progress, practitioners can draw on the approach to assessment outlined in Supporting Learner Progression: Assessment Guidance should they wish.
The consultation also included a proposal to amend the School Information (Wales) Regulations 2011 to remove the requirement on local authorities to distribute paper copies of their annual prospectus to all parents and pupils in their transfer year at local authority maintained schools. The change will remove an unnecessary administrative and financial burden on local authorities which would better be spent on raising school standards. Local authorities will be required to publish their annual prospectus on their website and make copies available on request. It will be freely available to anyone who wishes to read it. The majority of respondents agreed with this proposal.
This month, I will be laying regulations before the Senedd that will begin the legislative process to remove the requirements this academic year. A summary of consultation responses will also be published this month.