Life without Levels
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Dame Alison Peacock to Inspire2Learn recently. As Headteacher at The Wroxham School in Potters Bar she has developed a wholly inclusive ethos of developing children through highly engaging and stimulating activities. She shared the story of a school where children knew what their place was ‘sit there, get told stuff and agree’ to the current expectation where children are expected to have an opinion. Judging by the video clips she showed us, they certainly do! The focus of the day was how this ethos is underpinned by an effective assessment system that does not rely on levels. Obviously with the changes to the national curriculum and the expectations in terms of attainment around that, it is a hot topic at the moment. Delegates told me that the day was important to them as it was ‘timely’ and gave them ‘effective examples’ that they could take back to their own schools and discuss with staff.
The afternoon utilised the skills of Kath Pentney and Carl Faulkner from Normanby Primary Academy, looking at assessment as a whole school approach. Carl assured me that as he was sharing some of their embryonic work in planning a new assessment framework that he would be unable to give out copies to attendees….he has given it to at least 4 schools that I am aware of so far!
Pauline Jackson demonstrated how her assessment system backs up the teaching of the new Computing curriculum and how the general principles can be applied to other foundation subjects. It is fortunate that Pauline has a great deal of expertise in both assessment and the Computing curriculum to be able to pull this together.
I also weighed in with a look at how iPads can be used for assessment, whether you have one in the class or one for each student. We focussed on simple evidence gathering, organisation of evidence, through to effective feedback techniques. All of which are in an up coming course in more detail (see Events!).
The key feature of the day for many was the cost. Because we are funded by schools, for schools we were able to charge R&C schools £50 per delegate (£75 for non-LA schools). Ironically some of our Heads didn’t attend as they had already booked to see Alison speak in London, incurring travel, possibly accommodation and a £395 cost. We bring the national speakers to you, you don’t need to go and see them.