Update from STA

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Key message on behalf of Standards and Testing Agency (STA)

Information: administering the phonics screening check to incoming year 2 pupils

Cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2020 means incoming year 2 pupils did not take the check in year 1. This means that under the existing arrangements, all year 2 pupils would have been required to take the statutory check in June 2021.

Our current proposal, subject to the necessary legislation being made, is that (for 2020/21 only) schools will administer a past version of the check to year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 autumn term. Year 2 pupils who meet the expected standard in the autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. Year 2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the autumn check will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021.

Our proposal is that:

  • schools will have flexibility to decide when they administer the check within the second half of the 2020 autumn term
  • schools can choose which version of the check they use from the past materials already published on GOV.UK
  • schools will be required to report their year 2 pupils’ check scores to their local authority and local authorities will then submit this data to the DfE (this will mirror the existing data collection process, in order to minimise change for schools and local authorities, and will take place in December 2020 and January 2021)
  • the data will only be used to determine which year 2 pupils have not met the expected standard in phonics and are expected to take the statutory check in June 2021 (alongside year 1 pupils)
  • the data from the autumn 2020 check will not be added to Analyse School Performance, but schools should use the assessment outcomes to help inform their own teaching and support to pupils
  • Incoming year 3 pupils, who were due to take the statutory check in June 2020 are not required to take the autumn check. Schools are expected to maintain a programme of support for these pupils, which should be informed by formative assessment.

Further guidance will be published in September 2020.