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The Reception Baseline Assessment: latest news from the Department for Education

July 2015

Schools wanting to take part in the pilot of the Reception Baseline Assessment from September 2015 are being encouraged to sign up before the start of the new term. The Reception Baseline is an assessment of a child’s level of development at the beginning of their formal schooling and will roll out fully from September 2016.

To take part, schools must sign up to one of the Government’s approved providers. The six providers initially identified have now been reduced down to three. These are:

The Government will cover the basic cost of the reception baselines for local-authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools who use an approved provider.

The Communication Trust have developed some guidance on using the Reception Baseline Assessment to identify and support children with speech, language and communication needs. The guidance can be downloaded for free from here.

Reception Baseline Assessment providers have been announced

March 2015

Under government plans, national testing for Reception-aged children in England will be introduced from September 2016. The purpose of the Baseline Assessment is to assess each child's level of development at the beginning of their formal schooling in order to record how they've progressed by the time they leave primary school at 11 years. This will replace the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, which will no longer be done at the end of Reception year.

Schools do not have to do the Baseline Assessment; they can opt out of carrying it out if they want to. However, they will still be judged on the progress children make by the end of Year 6.

The Baseline Assessment will score each child against the knowledge and understanding thought to be typical for children at the start of reception year. It will be linked to the learning and development children are expected to do as part of the early years foundation stage (EYFS). It will also link to the key stage 1 national curriculum in English and mathematics.

Whilst there is some concern about the assessment of children at a young age, there may also be some positives. For example, the Baseline Assessment may provide opportunities for speech, language and communication needs to be identified early, meaning that support can be put in place if needed.

The government has now confirmed the six companies that will provide the Baseline Assessment; schools will be able to choose which assessment they want to carry out. The six providers are:

  • CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring), Durham University
  • Early Excellence Baseline Assessment (EExBA)
  • GL Assessment
  • Hodder Reception Baseline Assessment
  • NFER Reception Baseline Assessment
  • Speechlink Multimedia Reception Baseline Package

Each of the companies has developed a different type of assessment as some are computer or tablet based, others are paper based or activity based. This interesting article describes how each of the Baseline Assessment tools will look.

The Baseline Assessment will be formally introduced in September 2016. A pilot year will run from September 2015 and schools are invited to take part (although if they want to they must register by April 2015).

You can read more about the Baseline Assessment here.

I CAN have a number of programmes that support language and communication skills in the early years and Reception. Read more about Early Talk 0-5 and Talk Boost.