Horndean Technology College (HTC), based in Hampshire, is a Good school with 1,500 students on roll. Last year, 79% of students achieved 5 A*-C grades, while 71% achieved 5 A*-C grades including English and Maths at GCSE. Horndean’s curriculum was rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
Following the introduction of assessment without levels over two years ago and the new grading system for GCSEs, the school faced significant challenges. Many staff were apprehensive about changing the way they assess. Nigel Sheppard, the school’s Deputy Head, was the driving force behind aligning their curriculum across Key Stage 3 and 4 and used the SIMS Programmes of Study to achieve this.
A different approach to assessment
The SIMS Programmes of Study, part of SIMS Assessment, gives teachers access to the entire national curriculum to track progress against. Schools can adapt the Programmes of Study to support the specific needs of their school and align with the focus of their own assessment policy. Nigel gradually introduced the Programmes of Study tracker to subject leaders in various workshops and set up permissions so that they could write their own Programmes of Study.
Nigel emphasised to staff the importance of getting the balance right when it comes to assessment. “It’s not about using hundreds of statements that you’ll never be able to assess on a daily basis, but giving enough information and rigour to the assessment so that it’s meaningful. This allows you to change your practice and get a good idea of where the students are."