May 2018

Curriculum

Reading Rocks 2016!

On October 1st, Rising Stars were thrilled to sponsor Reading Rocks 2016. A one-day spectacular reading festival for primary school teachers whose aim is to make reading rock for every pupil!

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Curriculum

Planning a successful series of lessons

Thanks to Caroline Clissold for this month's maths blog which explores the methods she uses to plan a series of maths lessons. Read more »
Assessment

Reading in the national tests: how can we rise to the challenge?

 

Thanks to Deputy Headteacher Michael Tidd for this article. 

It seems that the 2016 reading test may well go down as one of those test papers that we all talk about for years. Like the traumas of “Caves and Caving in Davely Dale” or that wretched ‘fried-egg’ Venn diagram of a few years ago, there are some papers that take on an almost legendary quality. Jemmy the Giraffe is sure to have such fame. The challenge in the key stage 1 test was similarly daunting.

There is almost universal agreement that the texts were more difficult than those we’d seen in the sample test papers. But we need to be careful not to dismiss it as a one-off, pinning our hopes on easier tasks next year. The direction of travel has been clear for a while, and we need to do the best we can to prepare our pupils for challenging texts. While the 2016 paper may have been a particularly difficult paper, the thresholds have clearly shown that the DfE intends for the test to be hard. So, what can be done?

It’s clear from the new tests – and indeed the samples – that more challenging texts will be chosen for reading test papers at both key stages. Perhaps this is a reflection of the government’s intention that children read earlier, more frequently and more widely throughout primary schooling. Certainly this seems a likely outcome of the changes. Schools would do well to look at how they can broaden their children’s reading experience. It’s worth remembering that the National Curriculum clearly sets out that children should be exposed to books and stories which are beyond their reading level. 

 

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Assessment

2017 key stage 2 assessment arrangements

Statutory guidance for assessing and reporting the national curriculum at key stage 2 in the 2016 to 2017 academic year has been released.

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Assessment

Key dates for key stage 1 and key stage 2 assessments 2016/2017

The DfE has published key dates for key stage 1 and key stage 2 assessments for 2016/2017.

Dates include actions and deadlines for the following:

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Assessment

Early years foundation stage profile results 2015 to 2016

The DfE has released the EYFS profile results for 2015 to 2016. This first release covers:

  • the percentage of pupils achieving each assessment rating in the early learning goals

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Assessment

Primary assessment announcement: what does it mean?

 

Thank you to Deputy Headteacher Michael Tidd for this article. 

As promised, this week Justine Greening announced some changes to Primary Assessment, after the department reflected on the process earlier this year. The changes fall in three main parts: the coasting standard; assessment for lower-attaining pupils; and plans for reform of assessment more generally. Hopefully this will mean that in the next couple of years, schools can be fairly confident of what’s coming up. Consultations will begin in the new academic year about what changes should be made in the longer term.

Assessment in 2017 and 2018… and beyond

The general message here is that there will be relatively little change over the next two years. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will continue to be used, as will the current style of KS1 and KS2 tests and Teacher Assessment. The only exception is that the Key Stage 1 Grammar and Spelling test will not be compulsory.

This will mean no new times tables test in Year 6, no phonics check in Year 3, and no new Year 7 resit tests at least for the next couple of years.

It also means that schools will continue to use the “interim” assessment frameworks for Teacher Assessment for the next two years. The department has clearly recognised the challenges presented this year, and has said that additional guidance will be available for 2017, as well as statutory moderation training for Local Authority moderators.

This broad consistency will be welcomed by many in the interim, but it is clear that the department still feels there are areas that could still be improved. We can apparently expect a consultation in the spring term about any alterations to be made in the longer term.

 

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Assessment

Definition of 'coasting' schools

The Department for Education has confirmed the definition for 'coasting' schools on p.8 of the Primary School Accountability document, as shown below.

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Assessment

Rochford review: final report

The DfE has published the final report for the Rochford review.

The final report’s recommendations include:

  • the removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils with SEND who are working below the standard using performance scales (P scales)

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Assessment

Justine Greening releases statement on primary education

Justine Greening has released a statement on primary education which outlines a number of decisions and initiatives that will be taken forward by the Department for Education over this academic year and beyond. Here's a quick summary of the key information.

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