Information for Parents
I am writing to share two new initiatives that staff and children will be working with over the next few years at Wraxall school. Both are the result of a new National Curriculum (effective since September 2014) and changes in how schools are now expected to teach and monitor pupil progress.
Assessment without levels
This academic year, schools in England are no longer using Attainment Levels to measure pupil progress and attainment. There are no Attainment Levels in the new National Curriculum. Therefore, you child’s attainment will no longer be referred to as, for example, a Level 3C in writing or a 2B in Maths.
For the first time, the National Curriculum explicitly states what each child is expected to be able to do in English and Maths by the end of an academic year. As such, teachers will now be referring to end of year expectations when discussing your child’s attainment.
Pupil attainment will now be assessed at the end of Term 2, Term 4 and Term 6 in reading, writing and maths. Judgements will then be made in terms of whether pupils are not yet on track to make the expected standard, on track to meet the expected standard or on track to exceed the expected standard for their year group. This is the language that we will be using with you at Parent/Teacher Meetings when discussing your child’s progress.
The new expectations can be found at:
The new National Curriculum focuses on children having a breadth of understanding within concepts and skills they learn through their application across a wide range of curriculum areas. As such, the focus is on moving outwards, developing deeper understanding and broadening of skills, rather than rapidly progressing to the expectations of the next year group. The Department of Education’s expectation is that by the end of the academic year, the majority of the children should be assessed as being ‘at the expected standard’ for their year group, having fully grasped the key knowledge, skills and understanding associated with that year group.
Learning Without Limits
The expectations of what each child is able to achieve at the end of each year group are higher than in previous years. Therefore, North Somerset Local Authority has encouraged all schools to adopt a philosophy of teaching called Learning without Limits – an approach that we have already been developing. This approach to teaching is underpinned by a belief that all children are able to succeed when the conditions they are provided with are conducive to accelerated learning. Children should not be labelled as being less able or more able but will be expected to engage, learn and flourish when given equal expectations and opportunities; to achieve beyond their personal best. Where Learning without Limits is in place, schools are reporting greater motivation, self-esteem, ownership and independence in learning.
Lessons are still differentiated, but teachers will consider how to offer pupil choices of tasks or activities within lessons and then challenge them to push themselves to attempt more challenging work. Teachers will closely monitor how children engage with tasks and activities and will continue to guide pupils, providing them with feedback to enhance the learning experience.
If you get the opportunity, it is worth looking at Ron Berger’s video clip of ‘Austin’s Butterfly’, which was shared in collective worship last term, to see the impact of Learning without Limits and the concept of employing ‘peer critique’ to improve standards. It is truly amazing what a child can do with the right feedback and the willingness to take advice on board.
If you would like to know more about the information contained in this summary letter, please talk to your child’s teacher or myself.
Ben Tucker (Headteacher)