Assessment with confidence in a world without levels

An outstanding school, with two thirds of its pupils belonging to minority ethnic groups, Mersey Vale has 230 children who speak 18 languages between them.

Mersey Vale Primary School certainly lives up to its motto of “working together for a brighter future”, achieving its best ever results last year.

Headteacher Jayne Mullane is determined to maintain these high standards in the years to come, and with the removal of national curriculum levels, she wanted to be sure that she was taking the best possible approach to tracking pupils’ progress. So she turned to SIMS for an assessment solution that she could trust.

Along with many primary heads, Jayne and her colleagues were apprehensive about leaving behind the national curriculum levels that had defined assessment for a generation of teachers. However, in keeping with the optimistic ethos of Mersey Vale, Jayne looked upon the change as an opportunity to do things better.

“We wanted our assessment to focus on our curriculum priorities and give a clear overview of the progress of all of our children,” she explains.

Deputy head, Claire Chilvers had been developing a new assessment system for the school, and realised that SIMS offered a solution that matched the way they wanted to record progress. “We planned to use the criteria of emerging, developing, secure and mastered,” says Claire, “and the Programmes of Study area within SIMS Assessment provided a more detailed extension of this.

“We now have a clear view of how children are moving forwards and at what pace, along with a breakdown for individuals or groups of pupils. SIMS Assessment is a great tool for analysing the progress of children in a whole range of ways.”