Challenging ‘Behaviour Policies’: Misunderstood, inappropriate and unfair

I believe that proper assessment would reveal that these children have a range of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) problems that are the real cause of their misbehaviours.

Thanks to Rob Long, educational psychologist and author of SNAP-B, for the following article.

Recently I attended a meeting on school exclusions where clear evidence was presented which highlighted there are certain ‘at risk’ groups that are more likely to be excluded. For me this reinforced the article I had read by J O’Brian in which he suggested that there is a systemic bias in the education system against certain ethnic groups.

With this thought in mind I began to wonder if there is a similar bias to explain why children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) or Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) statements are also a vulnerable group to being excluded as the data suggests that they are higher than other non-disabled groups on exclusions.

Continue reading →

SENCO or Superhero – how on earth can any one person even start to do it all?

At first glance, the key issues related to SEN support and provision seem overwhelming. It gets worse at second glance, and the third … Small wonder so many schools find recruitment so hard for this role.

Thanks to Charles Weedon, educational psychologist and author of Special Needs Assessment Profile (SNAP) SpLD and SNAP-B, for the following article.

Who are they, who should they be?

The SENCO is the only role in a school that must be a qualified teacher and have a post-graduate qualification (unless they were in post before 1 September 2009). As a SENCO, you’re responsible for some of the most challenging pupils in a school – at the same time you’re at the confluence, the crunch point, for an ever-increasing barrage of expectations and demands.

Continue reading →

The most common SpLDs found in the classroom: How identification and intervention can remove barriers to learning

By identifying and minimising the barriers to learning, the child can feel more comfortable in the learning situation and will usually respond more effectively to the intervention offered.

Thanks to Gavin Reid, educational psychologist and author of Special Needs Assessment Profile (SNAP) SpLD, for the following article.

 

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs)

In every classroom in every school there will be a considerable number of children experiencing some form of specific learning difficulty. These can include: literacy difficulties (dyslexia), movement and coordination issues (dyspraxia), numeracy problems (dyscalculia), handwriting issues (dysgraphia), speech and language problems (Specific Language Impairment) and auditory processing difficulties (APD).

Continue reading →

3 ways to reduce unnecessary workload with standardised tests

Katie_Blainey_standardised_reduce_workloadPublishing Director, Katie Blainey, explores unnecessary workload and how using standardised tests can save you heaps of valuable time!

It may sound unintuitive that an increase in testing can ultimately reduce workload for teachers and increase pupils’ learning, but it is worth considering. Increasingly, primary schools, secondary schools and MATs are adopting standardised tests across the school to support informed teaching and save time. Here are just 3 reasons why…

Continue reading →

How have our Optional Tests helped Primary children and teachers?

Optional_Tests_SATs_StyleAs the Summer term nears its end, our Assessment Publisher, Cerys Hadwin-Owen, takes the time to reflect on how using our Optional Tests this term has helped Primary children and teachers.

Our Optional Tests are written and edited by primary subject experts, many of whom have experience of working directly with the Department for Education on the current National Test papers. They have all been primary classroom teachers themselves, with many still holding teaching and leadership positions in schools across the country.

Continue reading →

Planned changes to accountability and why standardisation is more important than ever

James Pembroke is back with another blog, and this time he’s talking all about the planned changes to accountability and why this means that standardisation is more important than ever!

Standardisation_assessmentFor as long as most of us can remember, the progress of pupils in primary schools has been measured from Key Stage 1. Prior to 2016 we had a mixed economy of a levels of progress measure – where making two levels of progress across Key Stage 2 was defined as ‘expected’ – and a value added (VA) measure, in which each pupil’s score at key stage 2 was compared to the national average score of pupils with similar Key Stage 1 prior attainment. This dual approach to measuring progress was confusing because the two measures did not relate to one another. In fact, they were often at odds, and it was entirely feasible for a school to have all pupils make the expected progress of two levels and yet end up with a VA score that was significantly below average. Something had to give.

Continue reading →

Helping MATs make sense of their data

James Pembroke is the founder of the school data company, Sig+, and he’s written this very handy article to help Multi Academy Trusts make sense of their data.  

What are the benefits and risks of data collection in MATs?

Due to the nature of MATs, there’s a wide range of expertise that can be utilised to develop effective, common approaches to assessment. Decision makers are more well informed, so they can direct resources to where they’re most needed, and large numbers of pupils mean more reliable, meaningful data. The risk of data collection, though, is that it might lead to a top down, accountability-focused system of assessment that increases workload but doesn’t have much of an impact on learning. So, how can we make sense of all this data, and put it to good use? Continue reading →

National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2

On 14th December, the DfE released the revised results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments, and a summary of school level results.

Summary of 2017 KS2 national curriculum assessments

  • This year, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to 53% in 2016, an increase of 8 percentage points.
  • Over half of schools (57%) have attainment proportions of at least the national average.
  • At the higher standard, 9% reached the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics in 2017, compared to 5% in 2016.
  • In 2017, 65% of girls achieved the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 57% of boys.
  • There are fewer schools below the floor standard in 2017. 511 schools are below the floor standard (4% of state funded, mainstream schools), compared to 665 school (5%) in 2016.
  • More schools fell within the coasting definition this year – 524 schools (4%) which is a 10 percent increase on 477 schools (3%) defined as coasting in 2016.

Continue reading →

Improving Mathematics in Key Stages 2 and 3

Thanks to John Dabell for this article.

Improving Mathematics in Key Stages 2 and 3’ is the latest report from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and presents sharp, intelligent and actionable guidance to support “great maths teaching” in primary and secondary schools.

The guidance is relevant to all pupils but in particular to those children who fall below their expected level of mathematics achievement. The report adopts the premise that it is essential to see maths as a pump rather than a filter in the pipeline of education but this can only be achieved through tapping into what works and is supported by research.

A vital enabler in the strengthening of teaching, learning and assessment is good access to relevant evidence; this report can help guide teachers towards this as its key focus is to promote a culture of evidence-led best practice.

Continue reading →

Using standardised testing to support teacher understanding – a MAT approach

Using standardised testing to support teacher understanding

By Tyrone Samuel, Network Lead for Primary Data and Assessment

The new academic year is in full swing, and as we enter autumn 2, I have already visited the majority of our primary schools as the Network Lead for Primary Assessment and Data at Ark.

Autumn 1 has been as busy and intense as ever for me, supporting schools with their data analysis and training, bringing our assessment leads together to collaborate on good practice, as well as sharing key lessons, messages and insights. This has helped to focus minds on our Ark network mission, to make sure that every pupil can go to university or into the career of their choice by setting high expectations and striving to know every pupil.

Continue reading →

12