Teaching and Learning

At Mersey we endeavour to ensure our early learners develop into life long learners.  We strive to provide a safe, secure and stimulating environment where curiosity is welcomed, enquiry is encouraged and learning is fostered.

We believe that people learn best in different ways.  At Mersey we provide a rich and varied learning environment that allows learners to develop their skills and abilities to their full potential.


Why has Mersey Primary Academy chosen to use the STAT Sheffield materials?

The Sheffield Assessment Project started as an attempt to create a Sheffield solution to the issue of how to approach ‘life after levels’. Over a hundred professionals from more than fifty schools collaborated to develop the ‘STAT Sheffield’ materials, which were quality assured and shared with national bodies. The NAHT Assessment Framework was developed with the Sheffield project team and can be used alongside these materials. The project will continue to refine the materials, based on classroom feedback, and develop new resources to support teachers, including exemplified standards for the criteria to support teachers in making consistent judgements. Mersey Primary Academy, along with hundreds around the country, have chosen to use these resources because they will support teachers to plan and assess the new National Curriculum. The grids that teachers use will support progress but ensure that children embed key learning at each stage of attainment. 

How is Mersey Primary Academy assessing children in the year groups being taught the new National Curriculum from September 2014?

The attainment of children in Year 1, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 will be assessed against the new National Curriculum, using the model of attainment steps found in the STAT Sheffield materials. Attainment steps, as described on the right, will replace the levels. Children progress through the steps as they master more of the National Curriculum statements. During the KS1 and KS2 stages of attainment children enter, develop and then become secure with the statements for each year group in turn. As before, this may not necessarily be when they are in that year group. 

How is Mersey Primary Academy assessing children in FS2, Y2 and Y6?

Assessment of children in Foundation Stage, Year 2 and Year 6 has not changed this year. The attainment of children in FS2 will be assessed against the criteria in the ‘Ages and Stages’. The attainment of children in Y2 and Y6 will continue to be assessed against the interim testing and assessment framework.

 How will teachers make judgements about attainment?

Teachers will use planning and assessment grids. The child’s attainment step will be determined by the proportion of the appropriate curriculum they have mastered. All of the statements in the grids, which can be found on the STAT Sheffield website (www.statsheffield.org), are taken directly from the new National Curriculum. The grids also include some Key Performance Indicators which children must master before they can move on. These underlined statements prevent gaps in learning from developing. 

How will we measure achievement?

This will be difficult to do until there is national data to inform the decision about how much progress across a year or a key stage would be required for children to be making similar or better progress than children nationally. It is also too soon to know which step a child will need to reach at the end of the key stage to reach or exceed the standard expected and determined through national tests. At this early stage, schools will be developing their understanding of the impact of the changes on the proportion of pupils at age related expectations, and seeking to increase this proportion to an appropriate degree for their own context.   

How will this approach improve teaching and raise achievement? How will this approach support academy leaders to ensure that the system of assessment is linked to the academy’s curriculum?

The new National Curriculum sets out what pupils are expected to know, understand and do at different stages of attainment. The criteria set out in the English and mathematics curriculum are the content of the planning and assessment grids being used by teachers.  The materials were designed as a planning and assessment tool, which would help teachers to use assessment information to support planning and improve pupils’ progress. The materials will support teachers to identify pupils’ strengths and misconceptions, which provides an opportunity for teachers to plan learning which is pitched accurately to children’s appropriate next steps in learning. Because the materials contain the content of the National Curriculum and refer directly to curriculum year group expectations, the materials will enable schools to identify pupils who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support to reach their full potential, including the most able.

How will EAB members assure themselves of the rigour of assessment processes?How will leaders ensure the accuracy of assessment through internal and external standardisation and moderation?

Standardisation materials are being developed in the first part of this academic year to support teachers in understanding what success for children against the statements will look like. This will support consistency of judgements and also provide a platform for schools to enhance their internal and external moderation activities. Information and training is being provided for Governors to ensure that they are in a position to provide appropriate challenge to their schools regarding the rigour of assessment processes. 

How will this approach support reporting to parents and carers?

Schools will need to support parents and carers so that they understand the changes to the assessment information that they receive, and will make decisions about how this will look to be appropriate to their own context. The structure of the scale lends itself to parents and carers understanding how their children are doing in relation to the standards expected. This is because the steps are so closely linked to the standards identified in the National Curriculum and the age related expectation is obvious for every term of the children’s primary education.  

What are Mersey Primary Academy’s key milestones in assessing the new curriculum?

  •  A new tracking system was introduced to the academy in September 2016.
  • Leaders had numerous coaching sessions on the use of the tracker, alongside of Gaps in Learning Reports.
  • The Senior Leadership Team set up all trackers for teachers and introduced them at the end of autuumn 2016.
  • Progress meetings have been regularly held by leaders with teachers to challenge progress made.
  • Parents involved in discussions re: gaps in learning and progress being made during Parents evenings. Governors were updated in Nov 2016 and further training will continue.
  • Moderations have taken place between academies in a timely manner. Further staff training is ongoing.  

 What are the main implications for EAB members?

  • EAB members will need to understand how the academy has made the transition to the new system and how it is being used in the academy.
  • The new curriculum is harder than the old one, so children will start lower down the scale.
  • It will take time for teacher assessments to be as accurate or as consistent as they were previously, whilst teachers become more familiar with the new criteria and new materials to support them in making judgements are developed.
  • It will be hard to describe progress until we have national data to inform judgements about what constitutes good or better progress.
  • Performance Management systems will need to be considered. 

Please see the parent and carer guide below for further information about how we assess in the new curriculum.

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