Curriculum Changes: Impact on Pupil Assessment

k16907151As you are probably aware from media coverage and previous correspondence, September 2014 saw the introduction of a new National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2. We have been and continue to work hard to fully implement the necessary changes across the school.

New English and Maths curriculum changes have been of high significance and public interest. In authoring the new curriculum, the Education Secretary was keen to ensure that standards in both core subjects were raised significantly by bringing learning from later year groups down into earlier ones. At the same time, National Curriculum Levels were abolished as they now only correspond to the assessment of the previous National Curriculum. Both changes continue to present a number of issues for state schools nationally but, most immediately, they have a significant impact on the current assessment of pupil achievement.

As the new curriculum has not been fully implemented and embedded for a number of years, children have not had the time and opportunity of having been taught at the new age related standard year on year. As a result, many children at Blue Coat (and, more widely, nationally) will currently be assessed as falling short of the new ‘Age Related Expectation’ (ARE) in these subjects. This is to be expected. We would only anticipate these new standards being met by our pupils once they have been given significant time and opportunity under the new curriculum.

We feel that it is important for parents to be aware of this situation so that they are not alarmed by revelations of their child(ren) whom, having previously been achieving ‘above’ or ‘at expected levels’, is now reported as working ‘below’ by their class teachers at parent consultation meetings.

As a school, we would like to reassure you that we are teaching all of the new curriculum requirements in these subjects so as to bring children up to these higher levels of ARE. However, we hope that parents will understand that the impact on pupil outcomes will not be immediate and the achievement of the English and Maths ARE will take varying degrees of time for children to reach, dependent on the individual, their stage in the school, whether they have Special Education Needs etc.

As children in Year 2 and Year 6 must be taught as per the pre-September 2014 curriculum then they continue to be assessed using National Curriculum Levels and so remain unaffected by the new ARE this year. Reporting of Levels to parents will therefore continue in both of these year groups.

As time passes and we gather more school and national data surrounding pupil achievement under the new National Curriculum, we will strive to give you more contextual information as to the proportions of children achieving the ARE each year in each year group.

We hope that you can appreciate some of the difficulties that all schools currently face in these times of change and uncertainty. We would hope to give you a longer term perspective as to how this situation might evolve but as yet this information is not forthcoming from policymakers.

We appreciate all parental support and patience during this period of transition.