SAPS 169 – Coronavirus: Should Reception Baseline Assessment be Delayed?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
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talking about the crazy things people are doing to keep their kids happy during lockdown – from ski lifts in the garden – to dog yoga – to the ‘Von Trapps of Kent’ – to a stir-crazy mum. Coronavirus lockdown is making stars of some VERY unlikely people.
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Sue’s Tuppence Worth
BASELINE TESTING ☹
The introduction of the new Reception baseline assessment and reforms to the early years teaching framework should be delayed “by at least a year” in light of the coronavirus crisis, campaigners have said and I agree with them.
As a former Deputy Head and Reception Class teacher, I don’t think it is in ANYONE’S interest to go straight into testing kids as young as 4 ☹.
It is “not in children’s interest” to bring in new measures when learning has been “so disrupted” by the school and nursery closures.
Introducing the new baseline assessment in September, as originally planned by the Department for Education, would “make life impossible for everybody”.
Children will really NEED an extended transition. A slow, gentle pace back into school life.
Whether that’s starting school in Reception or starting into Secondary School we need to look at careful ways to ease children back from a traumatic or challenging time
To take teachers’ attention away from that transition and to spend a week or two just sitting down testing individual children in a way that they can’t actually use to plan their teaching would be really counter-productive and unfair on those children AND MADNESS.
It is not in children’s interest to be tested at a point where there has been so much disruption, and it’s not in children’s interest for the teachers to be distracted by so much change at the start of Reception, at a point when they just need to be settled and caught up and nurtured a bit.
Denmark goes back to school
Children line up six feet apart outside class as the country eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Nurseries, kindergartens, and primary schools are re-opening with special rules.
Desks must be kept six feet apart and breaks only arranged for small groups.
Some parents have opposed the reopening of schools, citing health concerns. A petition dubbed ‘My child is not a guinea pig’ has had around 18,000 signatures.
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Transition back into schools for little ones in primary school.
Tips for Teachers & Parents
Need stay and play sessions to go alongside the new environment.
Parents need to be confident as kids will pick up your nervous vibes – speak in positive, upbeat terms around starting school.
Handover still needs to be done with the nursery staff.
The children need to have the nursery staff there with them for the first few times that they are at school so that they have a familiar face to help settle them in.
Extended reduced timetable at the beginning of term.
No baseline testing (we can live in hope!).
Schools could do videos
Videos of the classroom and outside area for the children to watch over the summer period before they start would be very helpful to the children. It would also be lovely to have a video from the teacher and TA.
Schools need to start communicating with parents ASAP.
New parents are going to be feeling anxious about sending their children to school at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic!
Have a stay, play and picnic session at school during the summer holiday
This provides the parents and children to feel relaxed within the school, ask any questions, meet the other children and parents etc. (Of course if the social distancing rules have been relaxed by then). This worked really well with my son 20 years ago!
Teachers could do a Skype call to just say hello
They can show the kids their cat, get to know them and help them put a name to a face before they go back to school.
After a period of unprecedented disruption, the priority must be to give your small child a sound start at school
They will have missed a great deal of the necessary practical and emotional preparation including transition visits and, potentially, a whole term in nursery. So, be patient, relaxed and positive and read books about the excitement of starting school.
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