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Assessment for Children Charter

The Governors, the Leadership Team and Staff have agreed the following Charter with respect to end of Key Stage Two statutory testing. This Charter demonstrates the school is child centred, believes in a high quality of education (which includes a wonderful Adventurous Curriculum and great teaching) for ALL children, deep learning and high outcomes. 

 

CHARTER: ASSESSMENT FOR CHILDREN

 

This is a principled school, run and lead with integrity and with due care and attention to the well-being of its pupils. Our values and vision drive everything we do for our community.


Through our broad and balanced curriculum, we strive towards pupils producing work of the highest quality that allows them to express their individuality and apply key skills and knowledge that have been taught. We are an inclusive school that recognises a broad spectrum of achievement within different disciplines. Assessment is only used to support further learning for our children; by our staff knowing them better as learners and people to create bespoke curricula and teaching and ultimately help children continue to succeed in the future.

 

We therefore have decided through consultation with the teachers and governors to act in the following manner concerning National Statutory Assessments Tests (commonly referred to as SATs):

· always prioritise children’s personal growth, long term development and engagement as learners and their well-being over SATs test scores

· ensure breadth and balance to the curriculum in every year group and not narrow our broad, balanced and creative curriculum offer in Year 6 or 2 reference the work our pupils produce against suitable other benchmarks (e.g. work from pupils in other schools) to ensure that we are secure in our teacher assessment judgements

· not run any additional SATs booster classes, holiday clubs or other such provision that would indicate that the SATs tests have any broader significance than being simply a tool to aid teacher assessment

· will prepare the children emotionally for SATs with minimal test practice, recognise the way in which SATs test are used as predictor for GCSE results and ensure that the pupils leaving this school leave with results that are a true representation of their skills and knowledge

· ensure that we prepare children as fully as possible for life beyond this school and encourage positive learning attitudes and a growth mindset as essential character skills for the future
 

It is also our view that, statutory testing in English and Maths undertaken in Years 2 and 6 have very limited scope to measure children’s attainment; but being statutory we will administer them in accordance with Government guidelines. Due to the limitations of SATs we only use them to inform our teacher assessment, which is a more accurate, detailed and fully rounded assessment of the children’s achievements. Therefore we use teacher assessment to measure attainment, progress and evaluate our school and not SATs outcomes. We feel SATs should not be the sole focus of Year 2 or Year 6 and children should not be put under any undue pressure to achieve particular scores in their SATs.


We feel that SATs (as part of teacher assessment) must be accurate and not inflated due to cramming or inappropriate focus on test outcomes. An accurate picture of children’s true attainment at the end of key stage 2 is essential in helping children succeed in the future by transferring valid and valuable information to our colleagues in secondary schools. Learning and progress should be a continuum, which is not distorted by artificially applied age-related point in time.
 

Inflated assessment can lead to students being misplaced in subject ‘sets’ and inaccurate assumptions could be made about the level of challenge. Due to fact that secondary schools are judged by the progress made from KS2 SATs to GCSE, children who have inflated KS2 SATs are sometimes boosted and constantly working to tests from Year 7 to Year 11.

 

We feel that in the long term the whole statutory assessment system and associated accountability systems needs to be reviewed and re-designed to ensure tests are not the focus of any education setting. In the meantime, ASSESSMENT should only be FOR the benefit of CHILDREN!

 

This charter has been agreed by the Governing Body, the teachers and the leadership team and shared with the parents of the school.


The principles of this charter are supported by NAHT, MorethanaScore Group, NEU, Headteacher’s Roundtable, Sir John Jones, Mike Fleetham and

The Assessment for Children Group.

 

Endorsements for the Charter

 

 

SIR JOHN JONES –EDUCATION CONSULTANT - https://sirjohnjones.com/

I am delighted to lend my support to The Assessment FOR Children Charter, a timely reminder of what really matters in education. We send messages to the future through our children and The Charter challenges us to shift the education narrative, revisit our values and finally wrestle the assessment beast to the ground. The slavish prioritisation of performance data, test results and content-saturated curricula gives way to a values-driven world of care, compassion and the development of the whole child; a philosophy that puts ethical, emotional and spiritual intelligence alongside cognitive development; a belief-system that gives centre stage to the essential future skills of creativity, ingenuity, agility and adaptability; a curriculum framework which places the exploration of the world through the eyes of a child at its core. It’s arrival is as important as it is overdue.

 

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Debra Kidd – EDUCATION CONSULTANT - https://debra-kidd.com/

"I fully support the charter and its aims to ensure that a child's experience of education is in line with their developmental needs and not with the demands of adults. Their needs to play and grow; to learn to interact, speak, develop vocabulary and a love of language; to develop the physical fine and gross motor strength they will use in later life and to learn how to carry themselves forward in the world with confidence and kindness are not currently met within our system. Our current system is based on a fear of future, on political short term whim, on competition and inequality and it is not fit for our children."

 

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Bob Cox – ENGLISH EDUCATION CONSULTANT - https://searchingforexcellence.co.uk/

‘It’s encouraging seeing schools who adopt the Assessment for Children Charter, putting the emphasis on curriculum development and creativity with ongoing assessment a spur to deeper learning.’

 

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Michelle Moore

Headteacher

 

I fully support the charter. As an infant headteacher with 15 year s experience the charter has no direct impact on my children but in school we strive to instill a love of learning, where we are the starting place to encourage a life long journey of discovery. We offer a safe and challenging learning environment and encourage independence, individuality and self-esteem whilst offering them exciting and awe inspiring experiences. We nurture, value and celebrate their individual efforts and perseverance…..and then testing comes along and pulls everything we teach them out of the window as they are constrained by jumping through a ‘hoop’ that the government sets and then changes when it feels like. The system needs to change if we are going to fully prepare our children to be well adjusted adults.

 

 

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Helene Cohen - EDUCATION CONSULTANT - https://www.pleasemissplease.co.uk/

I fully support this charter. In a fast changing world, whose future we cannot predict, we need more than ever to prepare our children for life and not statutory assessments. Children need to be nurtured and supported; given opportunities for creativity and critical thinking; enabled to learn about our world with confidence and compassion. Cramming for SATs doesn’t allow for this. Give our teachers trust and flexibility and they will enable our children to flourish; give them a straight-jacket and their growth will be stifled.

I am a doctoral researcher with 34 years of teaching experience from Nursery to Masters level. As a past SENCO, with years of working with SEND, I am aware of how lost our SEND children become in a data driven system driven by statutory assessment; children whose amazing achievements are in no way acknowledged or supported by SATs.

 

 

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Paul Brown. Headteacher and National Leader for Education.

 

I firmly believe in the principles and ethos set out in the charter of assessment for children.

For too long high stakes testing has been at the heart of primary education in the UK. The current system leads to a narrowing of the curriculum, particularly in the arts and humanities and there is a sense that somehow these fields of study are of less worth as they are not tested to the same degree. This can not be right and we are at risk of losing our place as one of the foremost artistic and creative countries on the planet if we continue to disrespect the importance of breadth in a child's education.

One off, high stakes, snapshot testing of young children creates stress and anxiety in pupils and parents, is unrewarding and diminishes the creativity of teachers whilst not necessarily reflecting a balanced holistic or accurate developmental picture of pupil progress or attainment. I am in favour of measuring progress and impact of learning and teaching but would like to see a different and more balanced approach taken which shows pupils' progress and achievements over time.

 

 

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Schools which havbe signed up to the charter

Pilgrims Cross Primary

Appleshaw

Portway Junior

Bransgore Primary

 

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Ross Morrison McGill

@TeacherToolkit

"It is deeply ironic, that the 5th largest economy in the world continues to flounce around the middle of PISA league tables for performance. The same could be said for our assessment procedures - which have an increased focus - on high-stakes testing, student performance; judged by one’s relation to the average total score.

One could be forgiven for believing that with 'more spending on schools than ever before', our schools are meeting the needs of all our pupils. This is not true. Over the past century, we have perfected the education system, yet no test in the world can reliably assess what pupils do at 4 years old and then predict expected performance at aged 16.

This is simply a fallacy.

Instead, support children by designing an improved model of assessment where all pupils can be successful, not just those who sit above the bell curve. We can do it differently, yet we need our politicians to understand assessment as a starting point. 1. Mastery Transcript: https://mastery.org/ 2. Solution: The End of Average 3. An alternative is in a video here - pitted against Rachel De Souza :)

 

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Mike Fleetham – www.thinkingclassrooms.co.uk

 

“I spent a good 17 minutes racking my brains for a single reason NOT to fully endorse the Assessment for Children Charter. I couldn’t think of one. So, I fully endorse it. Here’s why:

SATs have their place; teacher assessment has its place; an authentic, future-focussed curriculum has its place as does a values-driven school. This charter rebalances the system so that we can use assessment data rather than have it use us.

 

You can’t weigh a pig with a ruler and it’s time to stop trying.

 

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Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, are happy to endorse the Charter, with this statement:

'Our primary assessment system does not support a high-quality education. It works to frustrate the efforts of teachers and head teachers to develop teaching and learning that can engage and motivate pupils. We welcome the Charter. It is one more sign of a movement for change at the grassroots of education. It is a movement which is going to grow.'

 

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Nick Brook, the NAHT’s deputy general secretary and chair of the Accountability Commission:

“We really welcome what Jon has been doing. It embodies the findings of the commission and it is exactly what we want to see – school leaders taking responsibility to ensure they make the right decisions in the interests of the pupils and communities they serve, rather than being driven by the pressures of the accountability system.”

 

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Article featured in NEU / AMIE/ ATL Education Leader and Manager Publication

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