Teacher, Torquay

Following the introduction of the 2014 national curriculum, as a school we wanted to ensure we were covering the requirements of the curriculum as well as delivering lessons which were interesting and fun for the children. 

To support the staff, in key stage 1 we purchased Skills Builders which gave the staff a guidance book as well as work books for the children to use during the lessons.  All of the staff found and still do find this really helpful – the tasks are clearly explained in step by step sequence and there is an exercise for each unit of work.  The staff are able to add to this using it either as a starting point or they can simply follow it in the sequence it is set out. 

Having used the series for nearly a year we have already begun to use it this year so that the children have as much opportunity as possible to develop the skills they already have but to also build on these in preparation for the end of key stage SATs. 

As with most schools, there has been movement between the key stages. Having used the materials in key stage 1, teachers who are now teaching in key stage 2 have asked for Skills Builders to be bought for their new class and, following a discussion during our staff meeting, we are in the process of looking to get the series for the whole of key stage 2 as well so we have a whole school approach to GPS where progression of skills and delivery of lessons is consistent from year to year.

In key stage 1 we all agreed the series was good and so decided if we were using these books it would make sense to use the assessments which run alongside them.  As a Year 2 teacher I am also conscious the children need to be able to complete comprehension tasks in a test environment; for this reason we bought the Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Progress Tests. These were bought later in the year and so we did not use them for the full year – we used them during the summer term. Staff felt they were a fair indicator of where the children were in terms of ability and using the comprehension in Year 1 gave a better understanding to these teachers of the independence needed and the standard which is expected at the end of key stage 1.

Our intention for this academic year is that the children will complete one of the six Progress Tests for both Reading and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling each half term so we can track individual children and address any issues as well as prepare them for the demand of the national tests.  
I showed the documents during an SLT meeting and the assessment co-ordinator thought they were a resource which key stage 2 would benefit from as well and so this is something we are looking to purchase for the whole school – thus ensuring consistency in the assessment of both reading and GPS as well as the delivery of the lessons and skills.

Nicole Turner
Assistant Head and Key Stage 1 Leader

St Margaret's Academy
Progress Tests (New Second Edition)
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