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Fightback launched against exams for four-year-olds

A CAMPAIGN was launched by a coalition of 15 groups yesterday against government plans to impose educational tests on four-year-olds.

The coalition of groups working in education won Labour Party backing for its fight against the widely criticised proposal, which would see infants forced to demonstrate their competence in literacy and numeracy.

The tests, known as “baseline assessments,” are to start in 2020.

They are opposed by the coalition called More Than a Score, which launched a dossier entitled Baseline Assessment: It Doesn’t Add Up, warning that the government’s plans are “statistically uninformed and educationally damaging.”

The groups include the National Education Union (NEU), British Educational Research Association and the Association of Child Psychotherapists.

Welcoming the campaign, Labour’s shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin said: “I believe children learn through play and creativity not just through examinations. That’s why it’s great More than a Score is leading on this important work.”

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Baseline assessment has everything to do with finding new ways of holding schools accountable and nothing to do with supporting the learning of children.”

Nancy Stewart of the Association for Professional Development in the Early Years said: “The proposal to test 99 per cent of four-year-olds in 2020 is based on the false premise that the knowledge and skills of a four-year-old can be accurately measured.”

She said few statisticians believe in this notion and there is no evidence linking tests for four-year-olds to later progress.


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