The Village Academy

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Curriculum and Assessment

Assessment Without Levels 
In September 2014 the Government introduced a new National Curriculum to be taught in schools. Alongside this was a huge change in the way children are assessed. This is drastically different from the levels previously reported and will look very different from what parents have been used to. 

Our Academy schools introduced this new curriculum and assessment system at the beginning of this academic year. This Autumn Term will be the first set of data assessed and sent to parents, against these new targets.

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 your child.

Changes to the Curriculum 2014
The main changes to English and Maths are highlighted below.   

English - The new curriculum for English is knowledge-based; meaning it asks children to know facts rather than developing skills and understanding. There is also a much larger emphasis on the technical aspects of language and writing and less emphasis on the creative side. English is divided into year group in Key Stage 1 (years 1 and 2) and two-yearly in Key Stage 2 (years 3 & 4 and 5 & 6). Appendices give specific content to be covered in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation (SPAG). These are set out yearly across both key stages. A much larger emphasis has been put upon SPAG knowledge and children will be tested in this at the end of each Key Stage (years 2 and 6).

Maths - The new curriculum for mathematics is split into different areas: number, measurement, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion and algebra. 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 Maths curriculum involve content being brought down to earlier years meaning the expectation for each year group is harder and involves more content.If you would like to know how the other curriculum subjects have changed, please take a look at the following document ‘Assessment Presentation for Parents’. 

The End of Curriculum Levels  
Levels, as we knew them (1c, 1b, 1a) have now gone. July 2015 was the last ‘level’ report to parents and this has now been replaced with a new Academy ‘step’ system.The DfE wanted to change the ways levels worked as children were moving too quickly through the old National Curriculum levels to achieve higher attainment. However, it was felt that children did not have a strong enough foundation of the basic knowledge to build on with their further learning.

The old National Curriculum was sub-divided into levels, but these were not linked to their national curriculum year group. For example, a child in Year 4 could be a Level 3 or even a level 5. Children were achieving Level 5 and 6 at the end of Key Stage 2, but the DfE thought that a significant number were able to achieve a Level 5 or 6 in a test—but were not secure at that level. The feeling from the DfE was that the old national curriculum and the levels system failed to adequately ensure that children had a breadth and depth of knowledge at each national curriculum level.

So What’s New? - 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.As an Academy, we have spent a long time researching various different methods of assessing pupils, and we have had demonstrations of various commercial software tracking systems. Almost all of the systems used the same format, which was similar to the system used in the Early Years and Foundation Stage. This was to take the end of year expectations for each year group and to split this into 3 categories as follows:
  • Entering— Yet to be secure in the end of year expectations.
  • Developing—Secure in the majority of the end of year expectations.
  • Secure—Secure in almost all or all the end of year expectations and is able to use and apply their knowledge and skills confidently.

Under the old levels system children who were secure might have moved into the next level. However, the DfE now want children who are in the secure bracket to add more depth and breadth to their knowledge, and to have more opportunities to develop and apply these skills. This phase of learning is called ‘Mastery and Depth’, where children need to demonstrate skills independently, in a range of situations, across subject areas, before they are able to move on. Only exceptional children will move into ‘Entering’ the year group above. Similarly, children who are unlikely to be entering at the end of the year may work towards the expectations from the year below.

So how will this look at the end of each Key Stage?

Key Stage 1
It is anticipated that all children will be ‘Developing’ at the end of year 2 and the many will be ‘Secure’ in year 2 assessments. Obviously there may also be a small number of children entering year 3 or possibly Year 1 exceeding / expected / emerging, as not all children learn at the same pace and at the same time. 

Key Stage  2
Children in year 6 will be expected to reach the developing stage of year 6 by the end of Key Stage 2. Similar to Year 2 there will be some children who may be Year 6 secure and some children who are Year 6 entering. There may also be a small number of children who are still working at a lower level e.g. Year 4/5 entering/developing/secure.

Assessing Without Levels – What this looks like as an Academy school?
The Village Academy has decided to develop its assessment and tracking system based on the STAT Sheffield Assessment System. This is a system that allocates 6 steps to each year group.2 steps at ‘Entering’ the year group, 2 steps at ‘Developing’ the year group and 2 steps at ‘Secure’ in the year group. This allows teachers to show progression through smaller steps throughout the year.

Year 1 starts at step 16 and it is anticipated that a child will need to be secure in all areas of step 15 before being ready for step 16.The table below explains the steps throughout the year groups:
Year group AutumnTerms
1 & 2
3 & 4
5 & 6
Steps Entering Developing Secure
Year 1 16 17 18 19 20 21
Year 2 22 23 24 25 26 27
Year 3 28 29 30 31 32 33
Year 4 34 35 36 37 38 39
Year 5 40 41 42 43 44 45
Year 6 46 47 48 49 50 51

Please note – children do not develop at the same rate throughout the year and this is for guideline purposes only. As an Academy, we aim to report Steps to parents three times a year to show how your child is progressing through the year group.

You will be told what step your child is working at in the 4 main areas of Reading, Writing, SPAG and Maths. This will have been reached by assessing your child against each of the national curriculum statements in each area. Depending on how many statements your child demonstrated that term and how well this skill was embedded, feeds directly into each step.Please download the grid for the exact number of statements your child needs before they can move to the next step in each subject.  

Throughout the year, as your child is taught different aspects of the subject, so their knowledge and understanding will hopefully develop each term. This will show with the number of ‘ticks’ your child will have for each subject, which correlates with a Step.

Please note that a child can be awarded 1, 2 or 3 ticks against each statement depending on how confident your child is at demonstrating this skill independently. These are described in terms of 1: beginning to demonstrate this skill, 2: Progressing within this skill or 3: This skill is fully embedded.If you have any further questions, please ask your child’s teacher in the first instance, or make an appointment with the Headteacher.

 the following documents show the main changes to the curriculum in the main subject:
 PDF icon English 2014 Curriculum Changes

PDF icon  Maths 2014 Curriculum Changes

PDF icon  Science 2014 Curriculum Changes