Curriculum

Under construction

The new National Curriculum was introduced in 2014 to raise standards, particularly as the UK is slipping down in international student assessment league tables. It takes inspiration from the world’s most successful school systems, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Finland, as well as the UK.

With a focus on excellence and core skills, it is intended to be more challenging, although the content is actually slimmer than the previous national curriculum. Emphasis is on essential core subject knowledge and skills, such as essay writing and computer programming.

Technically the changes do not apply to academies but the key theme of the national curriculum run through the programmes of study at St Paul’s too. National assessments are designed around the National Curriculum objectives.

The national curriculum in England - Key stages 1 and 2 framework document

Assessment and accountability from 2016 in primary schools

From summer 2016, more challenging Standard Attainment Tests (SATs) will reflect the new curriculum at the end of the Key Stages. 

Children will now receive a scaled score instead of a level. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they accrue – will be translated into a scaled score; this helps to allow for differences in the difficulty of the tests from year to year so that pupils' results can be compared accurately.

A new reception baseline assessment

The phonics check at the end of Year 1

Assessment at the end of year 2 (Key Stage 1)

Teacher assessment at the end of KS1 informed by externally-set but internally-marked tests

For KS1 SATs a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard, a score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support and a score of above 100 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85. You will be told whether your child has reached the national standard in their KS1 SATs as part of their end-of-KS1 report.


SATs at the end of year 6 (Key Stage 2)

National tests at the end of KS2 in maths, reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling, and a teacher assessment of maths, reading, writing and science. The new SATs assess to a higher level.

In KS2, the papers will be marked externally, with no teacher assessment involved. Each child will receive a raw score, a scaled score, and confirmation of whether or not they achieved the national standard (‘NS’  means the expected standard was not achieved; ‘AS’ means the expected standard was achieved).

The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test ranges from 80, the lowest possible scaled score, to 120, the highest possible scaled score

A scaled score of 100 or more means that the child has met the expected standard in each KS2 SATs test; a scaled score of 99 or less means they haven't reached the government-expected standard.


Teacher assessments at the end of KS2

As well as receiving KS2 SATs results, at the end of Year 6 you will be told your child's teacher-assessment results for reading, writing, mathematics and science. The teacher-assessment result codes you can expect to see are:

GDS: Working at greater depth within the expected standard (for writing assessment only)

EXS: Working at the expected standard

WTS: Working towards the expected standard (for writing assessment only)

HNM: Has not met the expected standard (reading and maths assessment only)

PKG: Pre-key stage, growing development of the expected standard (the child is working at a lower level than expected)

PKF: Pre-key stage, foundations for the expected standard (the child is working at a significantly lower level than expected)

BLW: The child is working below the pre-key stage standards (the lowest level of attainment)

A: Awarded if the child was absent

D: Awarded if the child is disapplied (has not been been tested at KS2 level)


When will your child be assessed?

Alongside continuous teacher assessments, there will still be national assessments at regular intervals in English primary education:

Children might take a new baseline test in Reception (though the results will probably be used within individual schools only)

the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1

the end-of-Key-Stage test in Year 2 (KS1 SATs)

the end-of-Key-Stage test in Year 6 (KS2 SATs)


What are the expected grades for the end of each year group?

Under the changes, from 2016 the government expects 85% of pupils to reach a ‘good level of attainment’ in updated Key Stage 2 SATs (as opposed to the current 65% – a massive increase).

With levels abolished and the introduction of ‘performance descriptors’, it looks like there will be a lot less emphasis on expected grades for each year group, but rather a focus on whether a child has acquired the expected knowledge or not; the Department for Education will set the precise extent of progress required in each year group.


What about children who are above or below the expected level?

Of course, there will still be children who will not meet the expected standard and they will continue to be teacher assessed using P-scales (a way of measuring the progress of children who are working below the national curriculum levels). 

By assessing children more formally at Reception level (with the new Reception baseline assessment test), the government hopes the children requiring more teacher input will be identified earlier.

In the past, the brightest Year 6 children could be entered for advanced SATs papers called Level 6 papers for English and maths. These tests are no longer offered; instead, all children will take the same tests, but the papers will include a number of more difficult questions that are intended to stretch higher achieving children.


Does this affect the Foundation Stage assessment levels?

Alongside the scrapping of levels and new tougher end of key stage tests, children will also sit a Reception baseline test in order to assess their progress from when they start school to the end of Key Stage 2, though the way the results will be used is still unclear. It will no longer be compulsory for teachers to complete an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) profile on pupils (this is currently given to parents at the end of Reception and is a broad assessment of your child’s abilities in all areas of their learning and development).