Little London Community Primary School are a three-form entry school situated very close to the city centre in Leeds. They support 78 different languages, 86% of pupils have EAL and they are over double the National Average for Pupil Premium. At their last Ofsted inspection, they we were judged as ‘Good with outstanding features’ and are in the window for re-inspection.
Why did you choose PiRA and PUMA?
We were very happy with the professional, full and detailed explanation provided by our customer representative as she explained the benefits of PiRA and PUMA. It was reassuring to hear that the tests are used across thousands of schools and can be accessed in both paper and online format. The question level analysis appealed to us, so too did the individual reports that can be shared with parents. We felt they would be flexible to use across our school.
Have you found the assessments easy to use?
We have 25 teachers working across our three form entry school and every teacher found the assessments simple to administer and the supporting manuals easy to follow. Interrogation of MARK has also been easy to understand.
How have the assessments been used to inform your planning and teaching?
The tests have clearly indicated strands that need additional teaching, as well as supporting differentiated work for individuals or groups across the class/year group/phase. The ability to easily access detailed breakdowns of strengths and areas to develop has enabled teachers to plan with more ease and be more targeted.
What do you consider to be the main benefits of the tests?
The common framework, common language and common expectations enable us to make quicker and easier comparisons between the three classes in each year group. This gives us the ability to assess children who are working significantly below the expected level – which is especially useful when assessing children who are accessing education for the first time. We also ask teachers to make predictions for end-of-year outcomes based on prior attainment. PiRA and PUMA have made it easy to note which of these children are on track, behind or ahead of where they should be. This makes offering interventions more effective and efficient, especially as the intervention can be very specifically focussed.
Do you use the results to report to parents/SLT/Ofsted?
Analysis of the assessments is shared with our governors, SLT, teachers, School Improvement Adviser and Ofsted. We also have parent consultations twice a year, where the individual reports are shared with parents. If an assessment highlights a sudden drop in performance, conversations with parents can happen much earlier.
Are you using the online marksheets and reports on MARK?
We use the online marksheets and reports on MARK. They make the processing of multiple tests much easier and the options offered to identify groups are broad and easy to tailor. As a Headteacher, I would recommend MARK to other schools. As staff are already under enormous strain to deliver an expanding curriculum, being able to give them access to something that not only reduces some of their actual marking time but then allows them to interrogate that marking in a deep and purposeful manner, is actually quite liberating. Allocating additional support is so much easier when year groups can quickly identify children with similar misconceptions: learning time is maximised, teacher stress is reduced and outcomes are improved.
How have the tests helped to assess children working below expectations?
A significant number of our children are working below expectations and we hope that by tracking these children more effectively through the Hodder Score and measuring the specific areas in learning that they need additional support with, will improve their overall performance.
How have PiRA and PUMA helped with remediation?
Children enjoy explaining what they know. Offering pupils the opportunity to be assessed twice each year online and once on paper encourages them to reflect on where they can make improvements. Both PiRA and PUMA reflect the end of year expectation for each year group – children know this and so do staff. We are an unusual school and, by quickly identifying how far behind many of our pupils are, we can deploy our resources more effectively.
Would you recommend the tests to other schools?
If you want to invest in something that reduces teacher workload and improves overall outcomes for children, then the flexibility of this assessment system is something worth considering. At SLT level these assessments provide a quick, effective and rigorous way to capture the whole school picture in terms of attainment.
Any closing comments?
Quality products, quality staff. Thank you.