Assessment arrangements for funded non-maintained nursery settings
Assessment arrangements for funded non-maintained nursery settings that have adopted the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings.
These assessment arrangements have been co-constructed with key partners to support practitioners in funded non-maintained nursery settings which have adopted the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings.
The arrangements take account of the needs of all learners and recognise that their identity, language, ability, background and prior learning, as well as the support they may need, will differ according to their particular circumstances.
These arrangements will also support settings to:
- understand progression in children’s learning
- apply the principles of progression in practice
- develop a shared understanding of progression across the setting
- use observation to inform provision that supports children to make progress
- know about and implement initial and ongoing assessment arrangements
Where the guidance refers to initial assessments it means the on-entry assessment required by regulation 6 of The Education (Arrangements for Assessing in the Curriculum for Wales) Regulations 2022.
The primary audience for these assessment arrangements are:
- leaders, practitioners and management committees of non-maintained nursery settings funded to deliver nursery education
- early years advisory teachers, or those in equivalent roles in local authorities and regional consortia, who support settings in the planning and delivery of nursery education
- other organisations which provide professional support to non-maintained settings
- leaders, practitioners and management committees of childcare settings not funded to deliver nursery education but which are required, under the 'National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare', to deliver practice in line with statutory curriculum requirements
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The 'Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021' (legislation.gov.uk) sets out the requirements relating to the design and implementation of curriculum and assessment arrangements. While settings are not required to design their own curriculum, they are required to ‘adopt’ a curriculum and implement that for children at the setting. A duty was placed on Welsh Ministers to design a curriculum which should be made available for settings to adopt. A curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings was published in January 2022.
Settings are also required under the Act and 'The Education (Arrangements for Assessing in the Curriculum for Wales) Regulations 2022' (legislation.gov.uk) to make and implement assessment arrangements to support children’s progression within their adopted curriculum. The Regulations came into force for children receiving nursery education in September 2022.
These assessment arrangements meet the required legal duties and enable settings to assess the:
- progress made by learners and children
- next steps in their progression
- teaching and learning needed to make that progress
The arrangements will also support settings to assess children’s progress within 6 weeks of being provided with nursery education including assessing children’s:
- physical, social and emotional development
- numeracy and literacy skills
The arrangements take account of 'supporting learner progression: assessment guidance' to which all practitioners must have regard when making arrangements for assessing children.
Developing a shared understanding of progression
To support practitioners to develop and maintain a shared understanding of progression, leaders of funded non-maintained nursery settings must ensure arrangements for practitioners involved in learning and teaching to participate in professional dialogue within their setting and, where possible, with practitioners in other settings to share ideas and effective practice which support the progress of children at their setting.
Settings leaders will also recognise the importance of effective arrangements which support the transition of children from childcare settings to schools. As identified in the ‘Supporting learner progression: assessment guidance’, under the section ‘Transition along the 3 to 16 continuum’, primary schools should engage with leaders of funded non-maintained nursery settings to plan for and ensure that effective transition arrangements are in place to support children. Professional dialogue between the school and setting will be essential to support the learning and well-being of the child, and setting leaders may wish to pro-actively ensure that these discussions take place.
Implementing the arrangements
A setting must put in place a plan which:
- sets out the arrangements that enable practitioners to participate in professional dialogue to develop and maintain a shared understanding of progression
- outlines how the outcomes of this dialogue will inform future discussions, curriculum and assessment design, and learning and teaching
- is kept under review and revisited regularly to ensure that the arrangements remain fit for purpose
While not exhaustive, setting leaders may wish to consider including the following information in plans:
- the priorities for discussions across an academic term or year, ensuring that progression across the full breadth of the curriculum is covered appropriately on an ongoing basis
- a timetable for various meetings or engagement opportunities
- an indication of the most appropriate practitioners to contribute to discussions in supporting progression (depending on the focus of the discussions under consideration)
- an outline of how the outcomes of these discussions will be captured to inform a setting’s self-evaluation processes and how their subsequent improvement priorities help identify future areas for discussion
- an indication of how these discussions can support learner transition
- identification of how internal discussions will inform wider discussions with other schools or settings
Evidencing and recording assessment information
Assessment arrangements support teaching and learning only and the 'framework for evaluation, improvement and accountability' states that assessment should not be undertaken for accountability purposes. The purpose should be to better support children’s learning and development.
Further advice is available within the ‘Supporting learner progression: assessment guidance’ (the sub-section on ‘evaluation, improvement and accountability arrangements and assessment’).