CROSS PHASE COLLABORATION: ASSESSMENT WITHOUT LEVELS AND MASTERY APPROACHES

As part of a new series of posts we are reporting back the progress made on the Joint Practice Development Projects that ran last year.  Shortly we will be sending out details of how you can request a JPD partnership this year with WSDN support. More details will be out via email shortly but for now here is the first of 3 blogs sharing the cross-school collaboration that defines our network and makes WSDN a unique and vibrant example of effective  and purposeful networking.

 CROSS PHASE COLLABORATION: ASSESSMENT WITHOUT LEVELS AND MASTERY APPROACHES

 The Weald decided to utilise the WSDN JPD Project opportunity in 2013/4 to support the cross phase development it has started earlier that year. It lent a context and purpose to the work that was already underway and meant that all parties involved could take advantage of the training from Professor Bill Lucas and membership of Expansive Education to assist the research and development of their project.

 The Secondary perspective

The Weald decided in 2013, as a locality that, rather than waiting for others to produce curriculum models and assessment schemes, we would take the opportunity to design a system that could work for us from reception up to the end of KS3. We worked with 3 of our locality feeder schools throughout 2013-4 on mastery approaches to curriculum and assessment. We have worked with Wisborough Green in particular since the Expansive Education input to the WSDN group in the summer term of 2014.

A group of three primary Headteachers and the Assistant Head T&L had a series of meetings to determine how the model might work and what the criteria for assessment would be.  The group undertook research into curriculum models and assessment models and a mastery approach to the curriculum was adopted.  KS3 leaders in the core secondary subjects met with English and maths representatives from the primary schools to plan skills coverage across the key stages.

On Tuesday 21st October 2014 we held a joint INSET day between the Weald and the primary schools.  All of the feeder primary schools were present at the INSET day.

The project has already enhanced cross-phase work. English and maths teachers especially are undertaking shared moderation of students’ work to ensure similar standards are being adopted and maintain across our locality. Primary staff are jointly moderating in core subjects.

The research supported by Expansive Education was instrumental in terms of shaping our thinking and the joint planning has meant that most schools are now approaching the new curriculum using a mastery approach.  A second phase will now launch with KS2 and 3 teachers using Lesson Study to jointly plan and deliver lessons to Year 5 and Year 7 using the mastery concepts.  This will be followed by joint planning meetings for the non-core subjects in the summer term.

The Primary perspective:

As a locality we felt it was important for us to work together on planning our new curriculum and assessment systems.  The most important aspect of this was to ensure continuity from primary to secondary.  This was also a great opportunity to start with what we all believed was high quality teaching, learning and assessment.

A steering group comprising primary headteachers from the locality and leaders from the Weald met several times to look in more depth at assessment criteria for core subjects.  We believed very strongly that a mastery approach to the curriculum was the way forward.  Each colleague undertook their own research to inform this.  We were looking for resources that might support this approach. Primary and secondary representatives met to create plans for English and Maths.  Each group produced documents which are now shared amongst the schools in the locality.  The Weald also produced documents for Years 7-9 so that primary colleagues could see clearly how each skill could be progressed.

 As a locality we select joint INSET days throughout the year.  In the Autumn Term 2014/5 we held a joint INSET day with the Weald and the primary schools which was led by a member of the Chris Quigley team.  The steering group planned the day with the consultant to ensure that it met the needs of all of the schools as far as possible. As a follow up to this, the resources are being used across the locality to trial assessment systems.

Locality moderation continues, with involvement from the primary and secondary schools.  The focus is very much on core subjects.  Currently all locality schools are involved in these moderation sessions.  This ensures that teacher assessment across schools is consistent.  It also gives colleagues the opportunity to share excellent practice.  All of the primary schools have adopted the mastery approach to the curriculum.  The Weald has begun its transition work for Y6/7 teachers from a selection of the locality schools.  

Therefore whilst both primary and secondary schools are pursuing different key stage curriculum programmes of study it is clear that their common approaches will deliver significant benefits to the students in the locality. Their work is enhanced by the awareness and understanding by the joint planning afforded by this work. The mastery model is in place at The Weald and rolled out through the primary schools in the locality, provides a valuable consistency of language and approach for students, parents and staff.

If you would like to know more details about this project please contact us at westsussexdeputies@gmail.com.  Watch this space for the next JPD progress update on Boys Achievement….

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