Primary school tests: Nick Clegg denies schools will be ‘exam sausage factories’

Nick Clegg has denied that the government is seeking to turn schools into “exam sausage factories” after he announced plans to toughen tests for primary school pupils. This is from the Guardian…

As the leader of the National Union of Teachers warned that the changes would doom many pupils to failure, the deputy prime minister said the government wanted to give children the best start to their secondary school education.

Clegg defend his plans for new tests for five- and 11-year-olds during radio and television interviews on Wednesday morning…

Clegg told BBC Radio Five Live that the government would not “turn schools into exam sausage factories”. But speaking later on the BBC News channel he defended the proposal for new “baseline” tests for five-year-olds.

He said: “For a school, say, in a very difficult area catering for children where it is really challenging to give them a good education they might say it is going to be very difficult for us to clear this new 85% hurdle.

“What we are saying is: OK, why don’t we then ensure there is some baseline assessment when a child first starts at primary school so that those schools can prove that they have nonetheless – even if they haven’t actually cleared that new higher hurdle – really given those children a good education. To do that you need to have some baseline assessment at the beginning of primary school so you can compare that to how they do at the end. That is one of the things we are consulting on today.”…

Clegg announced the tougher tests as he unveiled a big increase – from £900 this year to £1,300 next year – in the pupil premium for disadvantaged primary school children. This will be targeted at children who have had free school meals in the past six years as well as those in care.

Clegg said the tests for 11-year-olds were designed to ensure more children are better prepared for secondary school. He told the BBC: “We expect primary schools in the future to get more children across the bar so that they are ready to do well on the first day of secondary school. Pupils are already tested in the last year of primary school. Parents and teachers already get marks – level five, level four, level three – which distinguish one pupil from another.

“What we are saying is why don’t we give teachers and parents not a sort of name-and-shame league table, not something we would publish so that people are denigrated or celebrated one against each other, but give parents and teachers just a bit of information about how the boys and girls in that last year of primary school are doing compared to other boys and girls on our primary school system.”

More at:  Primary school tests: Nick Clegg denies schools will be ‘exam sausage factories’

Do these comments from the DPM reassure you about the proposed new tests, both at reception and year 6? If not, what are you most concerned about? Please share in the comments below, on Twitter or by using this form 

As the end of term approaches...
Let my three-year-old play - not sit exams
Categories: Primary.


  1. ContempLearning

    SchoolsImprove Why is our government still in the industrial revolution? 5 yr olds are on another conveyor belt, rubber stamps, bolt ons.

  2. PEandME

    SchoolsImprove The government too often forget who the main stakeholders of education are… The students themselves.

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