The New National Curriculum
As you may be aware, we introduced the new National Curriculum in school last year for years 1, 3, 4 and 5. This academic year, Year 2 and Year 6 will also be taught the new curriculum in line with the government’s expectations. Year 6 will then have been taught the new curriculum for two academic years before they sit their SATS. The new National Curriculum is part of the government’s initiative to improve the level of academic attainment of young people and, in many areas of the curriculum, the standard of knowledge, skills and understanding has been raised. Additionally there is a greater focus on broadening children’s learning with each skill to ensure they are secure.
Assessment of Progress in Learning
We, as you may know, formally assess children three times a year (once a term). We do this in three ways: setting tests, assessing classwork and using teacher’s professional judgements. The Senior Leadership Team of the school meets with teachers regularly to discuss pupil progress and ensure support is in place for those children who are not progressing at a rate which realises their full potential. The data from these assessment points is then presented to the school governors anonymously. We are therefore confident we know how well each child is progressing and what support we can put in place if required.
New Assessment Criteria
With the introduction of the new National Curriculum has come a new method of assessing progress and attainment which replaces the old levels (i.e. 2c, 4b etc.) which you may have been familiar with. The idea is that each child should be working within their Age Related Expectations, so a child in Year 3 is accessing the new Year 3 curriculum skills. Schools have been allowed to design their own method of assessing progress and attainment with the removal of the national system. We have designed our own which incorporates the best aspects of some leading assessment systems to help inform our professional judgements for the New National Curriculum. We will use our assessment criteria for class work along with formal tests and our professional judgement to continue to track and ensure the progress of children in the school.
Reporting your child’s progress
We are hoping the new assessment system will be easier for parents to understand and recognise their child’s progress in learning. Within each age related expectation, there are three steps: Beginning, Working Within and Secure. Therefore if your child, for example, is in Year 4, you would hope that they attain a 4s at the end of the year.
Children may be working below their Age Related Expectations.
Beginning / Working Within
Children are working within their Age Related Expectations but are not secure within this band. This would be typical at the Autumn / Spring assessment points, as children are just starting to develop understanding of the new skills being taught.
Children have a solid understanding of the concepts they have been taught for this age group and are now ready to broaden and deepen their understanding of these skills.
However, because the new National Curriculum requires a higher standard, it is unlikely that children after just one year will have been taught enough new skills to reach their age related expected level. It is for this reason that your child, who may have been exactly on course according to the old National Curriculum, may now be appearing at a lower level against the new curriculum.
It is therefore essential that we are accurate in the assessment of skills, knowledge and understanding for your child so that we can continue to narrow the gap between the old and new curriculum expectations.