§ Baroness Jeger
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What advice they have given to education authorities regarding the testing of pupils whose first language is not English.
§ The Minister of State, Department for Education (Baroness Blatch)
Pupils for whom English is a second language are expected to take end of key stage tests, if they have been following the National Curriculum for a reasonable period throughout the relevant key stage.
If language assistance is provided in the classroom as part of the school's normal policy, it is permissible for the requirements of the tests in mathematics and science (although not English) to be interpreted for pupils. The School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC) has advised schools of other strategies which teachers might consider to help such pupils without invalidating the assessment outcomes. These include the use of bilingual dictionaries or word lists for older pupils. Other special arrangements, such as additional time for completing the tests, may also be proposed at the discretion of the head teacher.