The teaching methods used at The John Wesley Church of England and Methodist Aided Primary School are various depending on the age, ability and aptitude of the child and the setting and subject involved. The school is continuing to develop its ‘Irresistible Curriculum’. This curriculum aims to engage all learners developing children’s skills and knowledge and independent thinking. In certain settings, as in the swimming pool, the teaching methods are didactic by nature, especially relating to safety. All children in the school are able to work in individual classrooms and in group settings according to need. As a staff we feel this gives a greater strength to the pedagogic skills of the teachers. Particular areas are set aside to develop specific skills, such as the hall for movement; a room for design technology, art and science, a computer suite, and the library which promotes literacy skills. The children work in classes that are grouped where possible by age. The staff are diverse and highly qualified. Where possible the expertise of staff is harnessed to support each other via their subject expertise, which in turn creates a stimulating environment for all children.
The school has a distinct Foundation Stage. Children’s learning is supported by two full time teachers along with qualified classroom assistants. The school opened as a brand new primary school in September 2007. The staff meet regularly to discuss all aspects of school life. The governors, of whom there are 15, meet and work in the school and are always well informed as to the day to day life of the school. All governors are available for parents to exchange opinions and ideas with. The governors meet regularly 6 times per annum and also meet as various committees according to need.
The school practices a policy that is open to all parents as long as it does not compromise the safety and well being of all pupils.
All areas of the Curriculum set out in the National Curriculum are provided at John Wesley CEM Primary. Each subject is designed to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills of pupils in the course of their time at primary school.
Generally there is an integrated approach to learning across the curriculum. Subject policies and schemes of work have been agreed and are available for reference from the school office.
It is our intention to make each area of the curriculum accessible to all pupils whatever their ability. We will carry out regular assessment in order to match work for all pupils and encourage them to attain their potential. Where possible, learning will be enhanced by trips or by visitors coming to the school. At times this may necessitate a voluntary contribution from parents being made.
A close working relationship with home will be sought to maximise every opportunity for the enjoyment of learning and for educational progress to be made.
“The 21 Steps” Framework; Assessment and Progress
The John Wesley School, as part of the ACE collaboration of schools in Ashford, joined an Assessment Project initiated by the Samphire Learning Hub in the Summer of 2014. Together with RAID in Dover and the Sandwich Consortium, the headteachers of the four collaboratives considered a way forward in assessment for the new national curriculum. This Assessment Group incorporated the principles from the NAHT assessment paper, which they wanted to moderate across the collaborations.
In particular the following summary points within the NAHT report were relevant to working party:
- Schools should work in collaboration, for example in clusters, to ensure a consistent approach to assessment
- External moderation is an essential element in producing teacher assessment that is reliable and comparable over time
- Schools should be prepared to submit their assessment to external moderators
- Pupils should be assessed against objective and agreed criteria rather than ranked against each other
- Pupil progress and achievement should be communicated in terms of descriptive profiles
Additionally, it was important that the assessment criteria were simple and clear. It was to be formulated by teachers, giving everyone involved a deeper understanding of the new curriculum expectations.
The Assessment Project developed criteria in the following stages.
Working parties were established of leading teachers across the partnerships to formulate criteria for progression in English, Mathematics and Science. The criteria marked three stages of progress to age expectations for each year group against the new curriculum.
New tracking and assessment grids were formulated for collating and reporting data to governors or Improvement Advisors.
The criteria was trialled by schools and moderated. The working parties then edited the criteria and this was again trialled and moderated by schools.
The edited criteria was then developed by educational consultants who have a national perspective on developments in assessment.
The criteria is now being moderated across the collaborations.
Different collaborations have subsequently joined the Assessment group and so more schools are now using The 21 Steps. The progress of the project continues to be monitored by the steering group who meet regularly.
The Assessment Project welcomes new members on the basis that anything the schools or collaborations learn or develop using The 21 Steps is shared with everyone within the Assessment Project. The Assessment Project is excited about being proactive in approaching assessment for the new National Curriculum. We recognise that it is an opportunity to develop an assessment approach that can be personalised to the needs of individual schools whilst holding on to a collaborative approach. Our approach will allow the schools to measure the closure of the gap between current attainment and the higher new national expectations.
Using The 21 Steps
Developing a consistent approach to assessment for the National Curriculum
Each year group is broken into three steps. Achieving the three steps together ensures the pupil has achieved the end of year expectations. Each subject area is broken into different components to help both assessment and inform next steps for planning. The end of year expectations are part of The 21 Steps so teachers can always see the national expectations and are not a fourth step.
Each school can decide how it uses The 21 Steps. Some schools use them on a group level, others individually. What is important is the consistency of judgements so the Assessment Project has organised moderation events and schools are also moderating in their collaborations.
The 21 Steps are available for Speaking & Listening, Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Science. Schools who are working with the Assessment Project are considering different ways to develop the steps, including steps for other subjects and smaller steps for pupils with Special Educational Needs.
The Assessment Project continues to welcome new members on the basis that anything the schools or collaborations learn or develop using The 21 Steps is shared with everyone within the Assessment Project.
Variations in Progress
Children have phases of progress when they move ahead rapidly and times when they are consolidating their position gathering skills and knowledge ready for the next move forward.
Pupils also progress differently through the recognised phases of child development with some reaching a point of maturity that can really help their learning before others. This is especially true of the younger years but is quite marked around Year 3 and 4.
Life experience and emotional issues also play a big role in a child’s academic progress. It can sometimes be difficult for some children to develop the necessary resilience to make good progress.
We always re-iterate, if you have any concerns about your child and their progress, please discuss with the class teacher.