Voice Official Response: Legislative Changes Relating to the Phonics Screening Check for Year 2 Pupils in England for 2020/21 Academic Year Only
Background: On 18 March 2020 the Secretary of State for Education announced that statutory national curriculum assessments would not take place in 2019/20 academic year due to the COVID-9 pandemic. This included the phonics screening check (PSC) for year 1 and eligible year 2 pupils. The Education (National Curriculum) (KS1 Assessment Arrangements) (England) Order 2004 (SI 2004/2783) (“the KS1 Order”) were subsequently amended to disapply the requirement to administer the PSC in the 2019/20 academic year. STA informed schools (in an email sent on 14 July 2020) of its policy proposal (pdf) for the PSC for year 2 pupils for the 2020/21 academic year.
Summary: Whilst Voice recognises there is a particular need to identify the needs of pupils after so much time away from the classroom, we feel that schools and teachers are best placed to do this using formative methods which will directly inform their teaching.
We feel that any additional statutory tests implemented at this time will be an unnecessary burden and would increase workload at an already busy time. Furthermore, it will impact staff who may be stretched and vulnerable putting their wellbeing at risk.
The requirement to submit data through an additional data collection is an unnecessary administrative burden. The data will not directly support schools, teachers nor pupils and, whilst we are pleased it will not be used for accountability purposes, it also means it cannot be considered for schools’ benefit.