When schools choose to increase their workload

Not long ago the DfE introduced a new assessment check for ‘proficiency in English’.

Schools had to assess EVERY child for their early English language acquisition and assess where they were on the journey towards competency so they could access the full curriculum. The assessment focused on children who are indicated by parents as having EAL, are bilingual or have dual nationality. Their English was graded A to E (plus possibly N – not yet assessed), from 'New to English' to 'Fluent'. We recorded this in SIMS and reported it in the spring term census.

Not one penny of extra funding was given to run assessments or as a result of assessments.

We did experience some resistance from a small number of parents, as there was suspicion over the motives for the assessment.

Now the HMI for EAL, Mark Sims (nice coincidence), has told schools that this collection of data 'is no longer required’ and it will not be collected in the census this term.

You would think that this would be seized on as an opportunity to reduce workload for all schools’ administration teams, except there is seen to be value in the assessment and data. Our LA, in-line with others, has urged ‘schools to continue to use these codes to assess EAL pupils’ levels of language acquisition, followed up by a more detailed EAL assessment framework, such as NASSEA, where appropriate’.

I come across these situations where I see the difference between being told that we 'do not have to do something’ and being told to ‘not do something’ too often.  Only one will reduce workload demands. The other means we continue, but it is our own fault.

Acronyms:

DfE          Department for Education

SIMS        School Information Management System

HMI         Her Majesty’s Inspector (of Schools)

EAL          English as an Additional Language

LA            Local Authority

NASSEA   The Northern Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement

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