North West London


from autumn 2019, before a national roll-out in 2020. As this baseline testing appears in primary schools, so the Key Stage 1 tests taken by seven-year-olds will become non-statutory. This trade-off, adding and removing a primary school test, will happen once the baseline testing has been established, with the Department for Education saying that this would be 2022–23 at the earliest.

But this year has seen the proposals for baseline tests relaunched, with a timetable for their phased introduction. under the latest plans, the 20-minute tests will be developed by the National Foundation for Educational Research and will assess maths and “communication, language and literacy”. From autumn 2018, the baseline tests will be trialled in a sample of schools, with a wider pilot to run

Less pressure for schools to become academies

There can be few more striking examples of how much education policies can change than the approach towards academies. It was only two years ago that Nicky Morgan, the then-education secretary, was pursuing a policy that would have required all state schools in England to become academies, regardless of their quality or whether parents, governors or head teachers approved. Academies are state-funded schools that operate outside of local authority networks, sometimes as standalone academies and sometimes as part of chains known as “multi-academy trusts”. The plan for the compulsory conversion of all schools into academies was controversial and short-lived, failing to convince Conservative backbenchers, as well as facing strong criticism from the opposition parties and teachers’ unions. The proposal for so-called “forced academisation” was dropped after a matter of weeks, in a major u-turn. But there still seemed to be a strong current behind the push for more schools to become academies. High- achieving schools were nudged towards leading groups of academies; when schools appeared to be struggling,

Government policy in how they deal with both academies and non- academy schools is due to change

they were also often steered towards academy status as part of their recovery. This included “coasting” schools that were seen as not making rapid enough progress and those that fell below the “floor standards” in terms of exam results. abandon plans to convert all schools into academies, it was still using other levers to keep pushing as many schools as possible in that direction. But that had been the thrust of David Cameron’s government’s approach to schools. under Theresa May there It seemed that even though the government had been forced to


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