01 November 2016

At St Nicholas’ Primary School, we have developed a creative and cross-curricular approach to learning. We aim to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding whilst taking into account what the children want to find out. We encourage our children to become independent learners who are also able to collaborate effectively in problem solving situations. Our teachers use innovative and inspirational approaches, tailored to their class and each child’s specific needs, in order to work towards our Vision:

Live, Love, Learn and be Happy..

Our Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 classes comprise of two classes per year group, we have devised a programme of cross-curricular units. From September 2016, we based our units on the new National Curriculum for all year groups. The current long-term plans can be found within the class pages on our website. For the teaching of phonics, we mainly use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme but we supplement this with Floppy Phonics to make the learning stimulating and enjoyable. We do not use a single reading scheme to teach reading but use a wide variety of books which are colour coded by difficulty. We have many books from the Oxford Reading Tree series as well as others, for example Collins Big Cat and Usborne books.

Assessment in the National Curriculum. Last year the government brought in the new National Curriculum. Obviously this has meant quite a few changes. The biggest change is the way in which children are assessed. For the last decade we have assessed the children against the National Curriculum level descriptors and this has enabled us to report to you a level, in the case of years 2 and 6 the children have taken a series of tests for Reading, Writing and Maths in Year 2 and 6 with the addition of Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation in Year 6 only. There are no longer levels. The government has not told schools how to assess children or indeed what to use. Therefore we have decided as a school to working together to implement The 21 Steps. The 21 Steps is an assessment system that has been devised by a consortium of Kent Head Teachers.

This is how it works: the National Curriculum objectives for each year group are broken down in to three stages or steps that build towards the ‘End of Year Expectation’ for that year group. This enables children to make progress towards the end goal. We feel that this will work really well as The 21 Steps are written as a series of ‘I can’ statements that can be used by teachers to assess the children; plan their next steps; and be given to children and parents as targets for their learning. As you will see from the document that I have attached the Year group objectives ‘steps’ are broken down in to Autumn, Spring and Summer. So, what does this mean when you look at your report? If your child is mastery in an area, they are working beyond the Year group expectations. If they are developing/emerging they are working towards the end of year National Curriculum expectations, and if they are expected: they are on track.