Children may have to take ‘diagnostic tests’ when they finally return to school

Pupils could be given ‘diagnostic tests’ when they return to school later this year in order for teachers to ‘identify gaps’ in their learning, according to a Government document.

The tender document by the Department for Education, entitled In-Class and Catch-Up Curriculum Resources, states the tests will allow teachers to ‘identify next steps’ and ‘assign a package of resources’ to help students who may have fallen behind.

Officials envisage that the tests will be downloadable by teachers and completed between teacher and student.

The proposal comes after Boris Johnson vowed to go ‘flat out’ to help children catch-up on lost learning during the lockdown- including the possibility of plans to extend the school year in England.

School children could be given 'diagnostic tests' in order for teachers to 'identify gaps' in their learning, according to a document by the Department for Education. (Stock image)

School children could be given 'diagnostic tests' in order for teachers to 'identify gaps' in their learning, according to a document by the Department for Education. (Stock image)

School children could be given ‘diagnostic tests’ in order for teachers to ‘identify gaps’ in their learning, according to a document by the Department for Education. (Stock image)

The new Government document, which was published on February 9, described how the diagnostic tests will enable teachers to ‘assign a package of resources to help pupils resolve gaps in knowledge.’

The document reads: ‘Diagnostic tests to support teachers in identifying gaps in pupil learning, enabling them to identify next steps and assign a package of resources to help pupils resolve gaps in knowledge and address misconceptions.’

It adds: ‘We envisage that the diagnostic tests will be downloadable by teachers and completed between teacher and student.’

The plans go on to state that the Contracting Authority is seeking a service provider to ‘create and host a range of free in-class and catch-up curriculum resources to support teachers with their in-class lesson delivery and catch-up activity’. 

Earlier this week the Prime Minister said getting pupils’ learning on track was the ‘single biggest priority’ for the Government.

His comments came after Sir Kevan Collins, who was previously chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, was appointed Education Recovery Commissioner.

However plans to help school students catch-up from a year of Covid disruption were thrown into doubt yesterday after the National Education Union (NEU) said a move to lengthen the school day or extend terms dates would also require a new pay deal. 

The NEU’s joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney, said while he was in favour of using school buildings for extra catch-up lessons, any plans that involved teachers working longer hours would require a new pay deal.

Boris Johnson vowed to go 'flat out' to help children catch-up on lost learning during lockdown

Boris Johnson vowed to go 'flat out' to help children catch-up on lost learning during lockdown

The NEU's joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney (pictured), said plans to involve teachers working longer hours would require a new pay deal

The NEU's joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney (pictured), said plans to involve teachers working longer hours would require a new pay deal

This week Boris Johnson (left) vowed to go ‘flat out’ to help children catch-up on lost learning during lockdown. The NEU’s joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney (right), said while he was in favour of using school buildings for extra catch-up lessons, plans to see teachers working longer hours would require a new pay deal

Figures from the Department of Health showed that Britain saw 13,013 more coronavirus cases and 1,001 deaths today

Figures from the Department of Health showed that Britain saw 13,013 more coronavirus cases and 1,001 deaths today

Figures from the Department of Health showed that Britain saw 13,013 more coronavirus cases and 1,001 deaths today

He told the Telegraph: ‘Like everyone else, teachers have contracts, and changes to contracts need to be negotiated if there are to be any changes.

‘Then there is the question of practicality – teacher working hours are already really long. This requires a conversation with the profession.’ 

Meanwhile, a Government spokesperson said: ‘We will invest a further £300million in tutoring programmes, building on the existing £1billion Covid Catch Up Fund, but the Prime Minister has been clear that extended schools closures have had a huge impact on pupils’ education, which will take more than a year to make up.

‘The Government is already working with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their lost education over the course of this parliament – and we have just appointed Sir Kevan Collins to the role of Education Recovery Commissioner, to specifically oversee this issue.’  

The latest proposed plans come as Britain today announced 13,013 more coronavirus cases and 1,001 deaths.

Covid infections were down by a third on last Wednesday’s figure, while fatalities have shrunk by a quarter compared to the tally a week ago.

The number of Covid patients in hospital have also fallen by more than a fifth in a week, with just over 26,000 beds now taken up by sufferers compared to almost 40,000 at the peak last month.

Meanwhile, Department of Health officials revealed another 415,000 vaccines had been administered on Tuesday, with more than 13million Brits having now received their first dose.

Playgrounds ‘for kids with no garden’

Families with gardens should avoid taking their children to playgrounds, the Government claimed yesterday.

The Cabinet Office was criticised after it suggested such places should not be enjoyed by those who have outside space at home.

It said it recognised ‘the importance of exercise to the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of children’ so had left playgrounds open.

But a spokesman said the spaces should be ‘primarily for use by children who do not have access to private outdoor space’ and that youngsters ‘must not socialise with other people while there’.

Tory MP Steve Baker last night voiced his anger. He told Sky News: ‘This unabashed vehemence in the expression of state power beyond the limits of the law would be comical if it were not for real.’

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