STA plans autumn phonics check for year 2s who missed June test

Schools will be asked to administer a phonics screening check for year 2 pupils in the autumn, after the June test was missed because of coronavirus.

The Standards and Testing Agency announced in its most recent update for schools that it is proposing an autumn check to avoid all year 2 pupils having to take the test in June next year.

Under the normal system, pupils who don’t meet the expected standard or miss the test in year 1 take it again the following summer.

But partial school closures meant the check did not go ahead for pupils currently in year 1 last month.

In its update, the STA said its current proposal, which is subject to “the necessary legislation being made”, is that 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.”

Schools will have “flexibility to decide when they administer the check within the second half of the 2020 autumn term”, the STA said, and can choose which version of the check they use from past materials, which are already available online.

Schools will then 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.

However, the data from the autumn check will only be used to see which pupils have not met the expected standard, and will not be added to the government’s “analyse school performance” dataset.

Schools should “use the assessment outcomes to help inform their own teaching and support to pupils”, the STA said.

Incoming year 3 pupils who had been due to take the check in June will not be required to take the autumn check, but schools are “expected to maintain a programme of support for these pupils, which should be informed by formative assessment”.

The STA said further guidance will be published in September.