logo-education
0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

National reference test – help or hindrance?

13 April 2015

The new proposed national reference test (NRT) is intended to provide evidence on changes in performance standards over time. From March 2017 Ofqual will require that sample students from approximately 300 schools will sit tests of under an hour in maths, English language and English literature.

The requirement derives from the Education Reform Act 1988 which introduced the national curriculum and requires that attainment is carefully monitored in order to ensure improvements. However, concern has been raised that the NRT might not be fit for purpose; academics believe that whist it might be a useful general indicator of standards, it will not be an appropriate tool to inform precise GCSE grade boundaries. Unions believe that as the results are only recorded nationally, and not individually, they will not be comparable with GCSEs. Some head teachers have expressed concern that, being scheduled for March, the NRT could interfere with revision programs for summer exams.

At a time when there is evidence of growing mental health issues in students, with exam stress almost certainly making a significant contribution to the figures, there might be a risk that an additional exam could add to the anxiety levels or alternatively, without any individual record it could be seen as another hoop to jump through that is not taken seriously.

Related opinions

Head of Education, Mark Blois celebrates 25 years of being an education lawyer

Mark Blois, Browne Jacobson’s national Head of Education, is marking a notable anniversary, an incredible 25 years as an education lawyer.

View blog

Be wary of events post-dating the presentation of an Employment Tribunal claim

In Sakyi-Opare v Albert Kennedy Trust, the EAT held that an Employment Tribunal erred in deciding a claim was out of time because it did not first consider the claimant’s application to amend her claim, which included events that post-dated her claim.

View blog

A level results: what this means for schools and higher education?

This year’s A Level results have been a resounding success and demonstrate the commitment and resilience of students, schools and school staff during these unprecedented times. However, there will inevitably be some students who are disappointed with the teacher assessed grade.

View blog

Does the move into Step 4 mean the ending of Covid-19 restrictions within schools?

With the Prime Ministers announcement that he intends for Step 4 to begin on 19 July, this will also bring an end to the restrictions currently in place on education settings.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up