Editor’s view - Talking about the ‘B’ word

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Baseline just keeps returning despite great unpopularity with some and concern about its effects. Now what does that remind you of?

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Liz Roberts

Are you fed up of the ‘B’ word? No, not Brexit, but Baseline!

There are some similarities, of course. Like Theresa May’s unloved deal, Reception baseline assessment just keeps coming back, regardless of the fact that it has already failed more than once, few would vote for it and hardly anyone thinks it is fit for purpose.

Yet baseline marches on, with trials completed last year, following which scant information was released bar the decision that self-regulation would be dropped from the assessment, leaving maths, language, communication and literacy, and fuelling further criticism of the value of the baseline in trying to predict children’s later outcomes at this stage with such narrow parameters.

Now the government is asking for schools to pilot the baseline assessment in its final form, although this will seemingly be a matter of who volunteers rather than having a weighted sample of schools so that the effects on disadvantaged children or those with SEND can be evaluated.

A further complication will be the new Ofsted education inspection framework, due to start this September, which will put less emphasis on outcomes and more on ‘quality of education’, hopefully in a rounded way.

How will this fit with the baseline? Will Ofsted inspectors be judging almost in opposition to this scheme?

We will be exploring the new inspection framework and what it means for early years providers in our one-day conference on 9 July. ‘Delivering high-quality education under the new inspection framework: Intent, Implementation and Impact’ has a top line-up of expert speakers who will help to guide you through the change.

Meanwhile, with Baseline as with Brexit (depending on your view), perhaps it will all go away once more!

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