New pre-key stage standards aim to support transition to national curriculum

Education Minister Nick Gibb has announced the introduction of pre-key stage standards in order to help pupils working below the national curriculum.

The pre-key stage standards have been developed with teachers and other education experts and aim to help ensure these pupils are better supported to transition onto the national curriculum, when and if they are ready to do so. It will also give schools freedom to develop their own curriculum and assessments to meet the needs of their pupils.

The change follows a public consultation last year in response to the recommendations made by the independent Rochford Review which called for new standards to replace the outdated ‘P scales’ attainment targets for pupils with special educational needs.

The announcement builds on measures to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs and disabilities, including the recent confirmation that 14 new special free schools will be created, delivering more than 1,100 school places for children with learning needs.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

"We want every child to have the support they need to unlock their potential, no matter what challenges they face. Today’s publication will help ensure pupils with these additional needs are better supported to transition onto the national curriculum, if and when they are ready to do so."

Diane Rochford, Chair of the Rochford Review, said:

"As an executive head of a special school in the Learning in Harmony Trust, I strongly believe that every child’s achievements should be celebrated and progress in all forms should be recognised. These pre-key stage standards will help to recognise what pupils can do in relation to the national curriculum, while removing P scales will liberate schools to develop their own curriculum and assessments which meet the needs of their pupils."

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said:

"NAHT supported the Rochford Review’s principle that the assessment for pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum should align with the new national curriculum and we endorsed the decision to undertake a review of the pre-key stage standards, involving curriculum and assessment experts from the special and mainstream sectors."

The new standards are an improvement on what we had before. They offer a more inclusive statutory assessment system, where all pupils are able to transition onto the national curriculum if and when they are ready.

Claire Owens, Teacher at Red Oaks Primary School involved in trialling the standards, said:

"As a teacher of children with complex needs the review and extension of the pre key stage standards has been very welcome indeed, as they are now inclusive of all of our learners. Previously, there had not been a meaningful way of assessing our pupils at the end of key stages, so it has been a pleasure to be involved in the pilot to ensure that they actually reflect the learners in our classrooms."

Read more