Commenting on the Department for Education’s plans to manage the disruption of Covid-19 on primary assessment, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have been working to care for children’s wellbeing and to engage them in learning. They will ask whether this latest announcement helps or hinders their work.  

"At key stage 1 the cancellation of tests and the focus on teacher assessment are welcome. Removing the pressure of tests will free up time for teaching the broad and rich curriculum which children need now more than ever.  

"We believe that tests in key stage 2 should also have been cancelled. Keeping most KS2 tests in place will mean that in many schools they will continue to be the focus of Year 6 teaching.  The Government has not recovered from its addiction to testing, and children will pay the price. Months of test preparation are not the way to ‘build back better’.  

"The Government needs urgently to clarify what it means to do with test results. It says that they will not be published, but this is very different from saying that they won’t be used. Teachers require an assurance that the results of key stage 2 tests in 2021, which cannot possibly be a measure of the quality of a school, will not be used as a measure of accountability.   

"The suspicion remains that key stage 2 SATs are being brought back not because of their educational value, but because the Government fears that schools will learn to live without them."