Trials of the controversial new test for reception-age children are to get under way in September, the organisation developing the checks has confirmed. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER) says that from the start of the next academic year a sample of schools will help it gather feedback from teachers and children about the testing process. The organisation, awarded a £10m contract in April by the Department for Education to develop the tests, also confirmed that questions will have a strong focus on assessing children’s literacy and maths skills. The baseline tests were announced last year by the government as a way of assessing children’s progress throughout primary school. But the plans have come in for criticism from academics, education experts and early years leaders, who say testing at such a young age is unreliable. Earlier this month an expert panel established by the British Educational Research Association concluded that the tests are “flawed, unjustified and wholly unfit for purpose”. Read more.