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.

Herons Dale’s approach to assessment is explained in the two attachments below.

We have introduced different cohorts to Herons Dale School and these are explained below with information about the recovery curriculum they are following.


These learners (previously known as formal) take part in core and foundation subjects with explicit lessons in each area.

Pioneers Recovery Curriculum



These learners (previously known as semi-formal) follow a communication focused timetable with 1:1 work as well as group enrichment activities.

Adventurers Recovery Curriculum



These learners (previously known as engaging) follow the engagement model.

Explorers Recovery Curriculum


Discoverers – EYFS Learners

These learners follow the EYFS model.


Satellite Learners

These learners are working in satellite situations.



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
  • involves pupils
  • can be monitored by leadership at all levels and by the Governing Body
Principles of Assessment

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.
New Pupils

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.