The correlation between the summer drop and socio-economic background is well-documented.
Under-privileged children’s reading attainment will drop further than their privileged peers during a standard summer holiday. How much will this differential become accelerated over a six-month school closure?
The National Tutoring Service is mobilising an army of volunteer tutors to harness the proven power of tutoring to boost the progress of mean-tested students.
Professor Dylan Wiliams recently said “When the curriculum’s too full, you have to make a professional decision about what stuff you’re going to leave out, and the important point here is that not all content is equally important.”
We are trapped in a system of teaching what we assess rather than assessing what we teach. It’s a classic case of the tail that wags the dog. This year, let’s take the opportunity to do things differently: let’s just assess what we’ve taught.
With the possible exception of medical students, this will probably make no difference to anyone’s lives. In fact, quite the opposite.
And how about readiness? PISA results, which compare 55 countries’ academic performance, have long indicated that we teach reading and formal learning far too early. Well, since we’ve jettisoned Phonics screening this year, maybe it’s the perfect moment to move the goal posts. I have a feeling we would reduce a great deal of anxiety for both our teachers and our littlest learners. (Any one remember why mental health is such problem in our schools?)