At Herons Dale our aim is to provide bespoke learning opportunities for all our pupils, ensuring that each individual is enabled to make maximum progress in all areas of learning. We have a ‘growth mindset.’ We have no fixed expectation of what any of our pupils can achieve and set aspirational but realistic targets for all pupils.
We recognise the vital part assessment has in ensuring teaching is appropriate, relevant and meaningful to each learner. Assessment of and for learning is ongoing and is seen as an integral part of an interactive learning process. Accurate and timely assessment enables us to tailor learning for individuals based on their level of need, current knowledge, understanding and ability and ensures that our teaching has maximum impact on their progress, outcomes and their readiness for the future.
Assessment, Recording and Reporting of pupil achievement is needed:
- to lead to improvement in learning outcomes for all pupils.
- to inform planning of individual programmes, focusing on priorities for future learning
- to identify at an early stage when additional support or intervention is necessary
- to plan for progression and maintain consistency and continuity.
- to provide a whole picture of the learner and the learning process
- to inform the contents of reports to parents.
- to promote consistency between staff and others assessing the pupil
- to ensure we can be held accountable to pupils, parents, Governors, LA, DfE, Ofsted.
- to provide evidence of the value the school adds to pupil achievement.
It is our intention to have in place, a system for assessment which:
meets our information needs in sufficient detail, but which is manageable (eg. must make efficient use of time)
matches the varied curriculums being taught
captures all progress
enables us to moderate and triangulate with both special and mainstream colleagues; allowing for comparison of results between schools
is jargon-free, especially for reporting to parents.
is clear, balanced and accessible
can be monitored by leadership at all levels and by the Management Committee
At the heart of our assessment processes remains our commitment to providing the best learning opportunities for our pupils. As highly committed and skilled teachers we will use a variety of techniques to assess pupil’s learning and progress:
- We will observe, record, evaluate and assess what we see and hear
- We will look at work pupils have produced
- We will work and play alongside pupils and communicate with them to assess and facilitate learning
- We will question pupils using a Total Communication approach to facilitate them sharing their understanding
- We will encourage pupils to reflect on what they know, what they have learnt and what they can do and we will encourage them to communicate about this and learn from each other
- We will make pupils aware of their targets as appropriate
- We will communicate with parents about target setting, tracking of progress and achievements
- We will use a bespoke tracking system to ensure we know what progress our pupils have made and what they need to learn next
- We will regularly review our Marking and Feedback processes and undertake training for all staff related to this
- We will test the validity of our assessment of learning through a regular, consistent pattern of half termly in-house and external moderations (both with Locality and Special Schools).
- We will take part in national tests as is appropriate for individual pupils.
- We will meet our statutory assessment and reporting requirements.
For new pupils starting Herons Dale, any prior knowledge of the child or information received about the child will be used to support transition and facilitate accurately differentiated teaching and learning. New pupils will then have Personalised Learning Plans in place at the end of their first half term with us. These will be informed by Assessment for Learning carried out throughout that half term.
For children joining in reception they will be assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. Learners new in other year groups will be assessed against Herons Dales extended P Level Scale.
The way in which Herons Dale have chosen to develop their assessment is through the extension of the P Scales. ‘P-scales’ are used to assess the progress of children aged 5-14 who have special educational needs and whose abilities do not yet reach what was previously, Level 1 of the National Curriculum. The P-scales scheme works by setting specific objectives at eight levels within subjects from ‘P (level) 1’ to ‘P (level) 8,’ the former representing the lowest level of attainment and the latter the highest. The first three levels apply across all subjects as they reflect initial progress, whilst the remaining five are subject-specific and allow for more precise measurement when the child’s abilities have increased.
At Herons Dale we expanded each of the P Levels 1-8 in order to develop breadth and we also extended them. We worked closely with Palatine Special School and also used the ‘I can’ Library within our tracking tool (featuring 30+ schools) to ensure that we were developing assessment which was in line with other schools. Additionally, we ensured that our assessment linked directly to Age-Related Expectations.
At present we have developed this assessment for English, Maths and Science and over the next year will do so for all other subjects. We also developed two bridging levels of assessment to address the gap that previously existed in assessment between P8 and Level 1. Please see the table below which describes what each P Level means in relation to what has been reported historically and what is now reported in mainstream settings.