At Pheasant Bank Academy, we follow the National Curriculum which is skills based and appropriate for the age of the children. We teach the curriculum through half termly topics, encouraging cross-curricular links between the subjects. Each topic is planned to engage and stimulate the children’s s curiosity and interest through a variety of activities where children learn and apply new skills. There are also learning opportunities provided through out of school trips and visitors. At the end of each topic children are given the opportunity to review and evaluate their learning and experiences.
Assessment Without Levels
In recent years, the Government has made a huge change in the way that children in schools are to be assessed. This is to tie in with the newly introduced National Curriculum 2014 . This is a new way of thinking for schools, and assessment will look very different to how it has done for the past 20 years. The aim of this guide is to hopefully give you some clear information about all the changes that are happening in Education across the country, and what that means for the children here at Pheasant Bank Academy. Before we even think about assessment we need to be clear on what changes The National Curriculum 2014 has brought to subjects that are traditionally assessed.
So, what are the changes to the curriculum?
The new programme of study for English is knowledge-based; this means its focus is on knowing facts rather than developing skills and understanding. It is also characterised by an increased emphasis on the technical aspects of language and less emphasis on the creative aspects.
English is set out year by year in Key Stage 1 and two-yearly in Key Stage 2.
Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. These are set out yearly across both key stages.
The main areas in the new programme of study for mathematics are called domains. These are number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra.
Two of these, number and geometry, are further divided into subdomains.
The way that the curriculum is organised varies across the primary age range – every year group has a unique combination of domains and subdomains. There is no longer a separate strand of objectives related to using and applying mathematics. Instead, there are problem-solving objectives within the other areas of study.
Most of the changes to the mathematics curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years.
Assessing Without Levels
The DfE announced last year that there would no longer be National Curriculum levels, and that schools would have to set up their own way of assessing pupils.
Under the old levels system children who were exceeding might have moved into the next level. The DfE now want children who are in the exceeding bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop their using and applying skills. They are calling this phase of learning Mastery and Depth.
Only exceptional children will move into working towards the end of year expectations from the year above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be emerging at the end of the year may work towards the expectations from the year below.
Assessment at Pheasant Bank Academy
At Pheasant Bank Academy teachers regularly assess their pupils based on whether they are working towards National Curriculum expectations, achieving National Curriculum expectations or working at greater depth within the National Curriculum expectations for their year group.
These assessments are recorded on a year group spread sheet in conjunction with a whole school tracking system called Educater. These data systems allow teachers and members of the leadership team to discuss the attainment and progress of cohorts and individual pupils. Attainment and progress through the National Curriculum, towards Age Related Expectations (ARE), are communicated to parents throughout the academic year at parent evenings and in the child’s school report.