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St Giles is a school with challenges, as Mark Dakin, the head teacher explains: “We have a diverse range of barriers to learning, from speech and language issues when children join in Reception to a lack of expectation from parents.”
The school receives the pupil premium for nearly 40 per cent of its pupils, a quarter speak English as an additional language and 17% have special educational needs. Yet, in just two years, the school has moved from an Ofsted rating of ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Good’ and Mark is keen to ensure this upward trajectory continues.
“Now that national curriculum levels have been removed, we were looking for something that could help us benchmark our children nationally – and that led us to GL Assessment’s Progress Test Series,” he explains.
Tracking without levels
The school uses the Progress Test Series to support teachers in identifying current attainment in English, maths and science of their children, and help them monitor progress over time. It can identify those in need of extra help, as well as those who are particularly able.
Mark says: “It’s easy to administer, doesn’t take up too much teacher time, yet we’re able to get in-depth information and age related scores. No other assessment we looked at was suitable for use throughout the school or was as accurate.
“Our teachers say that the Progress Test Series validates their thoughts and gives them confidence that their judgment is right from an objective point of view and also acts as an early marker for those who may have special educational needs.”
Mark and his staff have found the comprehensive reports, tailored for different audiences, to be particularly beneficial. “The reports are so powerful and visual, with coloured bars and graphs, and the analysis is second to none.
“These reports are essential for children with additional needs. Our safeguarding manager can access them to check vulnerable children are making good progress, and we can see the value of interventions at the click of a button.”
The reports have also been helpful when it comes to the transition to secondary school. “I’ve sat down with Year 7 teachers and been able to show that these children are working significantly above age related expectations.”
At St Giles, the true value of the Progress Test Series is in the accuracy of assessing without levels. “We gain a summative picture of the attainment of children at the end of an academic year, and can identify any new learning that needs to take place.
“For example, we’ve fully planned for the new maths curriculum in terms of tracking all the objectives and children’s ongoing progress, but the Progress Test in Maths brings it all together.
“By using the series every year, we will build a very powerful and complete picture of children’s attainment as they move through the school and this will help their achievements accelerate.”
Mark Dakin, headteacher, St Giles Primary CE School, which uses GL Assessment’s Progress Test Series – See more information at www.gl-assessment.co.uk/progress-test-series
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