Assessment & The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum:  During the course of  this academic year and beyond to 2015, the obligation to teach programmes of study from the existing national curriculum will be disapplied and new programmes of study and attainment targets will eventually completely replace the existing national curriculum.

What is the National Curriculum anyway?

The National Curriculum defines the programmes of study for key subjects in maintained/ state primary and secondary schools in England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own equivalents). Fundamentally, it sets out what your child should learn during their time at school

Why the big curriculum change?

The main aim is to raise standards. Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the current curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills.

The main changes.

The table below summarises the main changes in the core subjects:

Subject What’s new?
English
  • Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)
  • Handwriting is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy
  • Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating  and presenting skills.
Maths
  • Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10)
  • Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)
  • By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12×12 (currently 10×10 by the end of primary school)
  • Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic.
Science
  • Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms
  • Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time
  • Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system
Design & Technology
  • Design and Technology has become more important in  the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future
  • More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics
  • In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world.
ICT now ‘Computing’
  • Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs
  • From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data
  • From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet
  • Internet safety –Digital Literacy ‘E-Safety’– will be taught in primary schools
Languages
  • Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language (Latin or Greek) will be mandatory in KS2. Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language.
  • French is our MFL, complimented with a ‘Language of the Term’

Our teaching of the National Curriculum at Brook School stems from the needs and abilities of the children we teach. We believe every member of our school community is a life-long learner and that our role is to provide them with stimulus and skills, developing a thirst for knowledge, so that our pupils are empowered to fulfil their individual potential.

At Brook ‘Nurturing, Achieving & Growing Together means providing the best possible Teaching and Learning opportunity for every child, utilising every opportunity at our disposal. We aim to provide an outstanding curriculum, a curriculum of innovation and inspiration, which is continually evolving in the best interests of our pupils.

We echo the government’s desire for children to become ‘educated citizens’ and so advocate a curriculum rich in literacy, containing a range of differing and stimulating experiences. It aims to be enjoyable, inclusive, engaging and link to the Core Values of our school.

In line with guidance from the Department of Education, the ‘New National Curriculum programmes of study’ have been introduced.

English, Maths, Science in Upper KS2, Computing, RE, MFL, Music and PE will continue to be taught as discreet subjects, as well as being used across other subjects.

Subjects that were previously taught separately, namely History, Geography, Art, Design Technology and Science, are integrated together into Topics rather than being taught discretely in order to make them more meaningful to the children.

At BROOK our Core Values are integrated into our curriculum.

They are:

Respect, Honesty, tolerance, care, resilience

Assessment at BROOk:

National Curriculum Levels: End of National Curriculum levels: what will replace them?

Assessment from September 2015

The Department for Education (DfE) have stated that level descriptors will be removed from the National Curriculum and will not be replaced.

The impact of this decision? What this means for parents, pupils and staff at Brook…

Historically, parents were given their child’s Key Stage 1 National Curriculum levels in Reading, Writing, Maths and Science at the end of Year 2. (Level 1, Level 2a, 2b, 2c, 3…)

(Year 6 children were expected to reach Level 4 in their Key Stage 2 SATs test)

KS1 and KS2 levels will cease to exist after July 2015.

Assessment of pupils without levels:

The government is encouraging schools to introduce their own approaches to assessment during both primary and secondary stages of schooling, to support pupil attainment and progression.

The academic year (September 2014 – July 2015) is a ‘transition’ year for all schools.

The governing body at Brook has decided that during the transition period – for this academic year only – teachers will continue to use levels and sub-levels alongside ‘age appropriate expectations’.

The information below details how, during this time of transition, levels/sublevels will continue to be used as a guide.  Pupils will be assessed according to their age (the year group they are in) and whether they are:

Below year group programme of study (below age appropriate)

  • Emerging/Beginning – taught at year group programme of study (just)
  • Expected/Within – exactly age appropriate – they are where they should be with their learning according to their age / year group
  • Exceeding/Secure – they have covered the requirements of their year group programme of study and have been able to consolidate this learning and in some cases begin the programme of study for the year above.

A table showing levels/sublevels and ‘Age Appropriate’ Year Group Expectations

Year Group

Below POS

Emerging

Expected

Exceeding

1

Levels

<1

Levels

1c-1b

Levels

1a-2c

Levels

2b-2a+

2

P-1b

1a-2c

2b-2a

3c-3b+

3

<2

2c-2b

2a-3c

3b-3a+

4

P-2b

2a-3c

3b-3a

4c-4b+

5

<3

3c-3b

3a-4c

4b-4a+

6

P-3b

3a-4c

4b-4a

5c-5b+

 

In conclusion:

In spite of so many changes nationally in education at this period of time, the staff and governors at Brook would like to reassure you that our priority remains the same – to ensure we provide an outstanding educational experience for every child.

Parents can expect us to:

  • Keep you informed about your child’s learning
  • Share with you the progress your child is making year-on-year
  • Track whether your child is meeting academic expectations and provide intervention if not
  • Show how tailored support programmes are being used to support individual pupil needs
  • Provide opportunities for parents to meet with teachers to discuss their child’s progress

What has stayed the same:

Detailed records are kept on your child’s progress.  Assessments are made by teachers through the school year and progress records are regularly updated at termly pupil progress meetings.

Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) are taken by children at the end of Year 6 (in the school year when your child will be11 years old).  Individual  test results are available to parents/carers at the end of the Summer term.

All records are available for you to see by appointment with your child’s class teacher at the end of each term.  Every child  receives a written report in early July.

Teachers and children set ‘next step’ targets as part of ongoing assessment in English and maths.  This is part of our ‘ Marking’ policy.  These targets are reviewed and updated regularly.

Children set themselves each term.

Teachers set termly targets in Reading, Writing, Maths.  These are shared with the children and sent home for parents.

Please contact your child’s class teacher if you have any questions about next step or termly targets.