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Aims and Methods

Assessment and Expectations

Since the introduction of the new National Curriculum framework in 2014, the government decided to change how children are assessed and decided to remove level descriptors.  Since September 2014, "it will be for schools to decide how they assess pupils' progress".  We have welcomed the changes put forward by the government and therefore we have developed our own system to ensure assessment is at the heart of teaching and learning to enable all members of staff to do the best for all our learners.

Assessment is at the heart of teaching and learning, providing evidence to guide teaching and learning, and as such enabling us to do the best for all our learners. Assessment is ambitious, sets high expectations for learners and embodies a pathway of progress and development for each child. Assessment provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate and review their progress, enabling them to achieve to the top of their potential. We work as a team to ensure consistency and accuracy of assessments. We engage in high quality internal and external moderation to ensure consistency of provision for our learners.

Assessment at Oaklands is fair, inclusive of all abilities and free from bias.  Assessment outcomes provide meaningful and understandable information for pupils to develop their learning and parents to support children with their learning. Through our assessment processes we aim to create happy and resilient learners, who are able to reflect on their progress and attainment and gain independence in planning their next steps.

We’re determined to make our pupils aware of both their goals and achievements.   We assess daily through the use of formative assessment and then summative assessment at the end of each half term.  This means we can check that children are on track and plan any interventions that may be required.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, the children are assessed using the Foundation Stage Profile and the Early Learning Goals. 

From Year 1 onwards, teachers assess pupil progress against performance descriptors to decide whether children are  Working Towards the National Expectations (WTNE), Working at the National Expectations (WANE), or Working Beyond National Expectations (WBNE). Every classteacher is provided with an analysis of SEN, FSM and Gender attainment.  Children  are set  challenging targets at regular intervals.   

At the end of Year 2 and Year 6, pupils will sit  externally set tests for Reading and Mathematics.    They will also sit an English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test which will inform the teacher assessment of Writing. 

2016 National Curriculum Tests for Key Stages 1 and 2: information for parents

Pupil Progress Meetings and Book Meetings

Pupil progress meetings are held three times a year in term 2, 4 and 6 after the latest results have been recorded on assessments trackers. They consist of a professional discussion between the teacher / team of teachers, Head Teacher, Assistant Headteacher and / or Inclusion Manager. Teachers need to analyse and update their class data /class action plans before the meeting so that they are aware of priorities for their year group.

Meetings will focus on progress made by individual pupils who have been identified as needing to make accelerated progress based on previous data, children which the class teachers are particularly proud of and any groups or interventions that needed to be addressed.

Book Scrutinies are held three times a year. They consist of a professional discussion between SLT, governors and teachers to look at the progress visible in books. This time will also be used to monitor implementation of school policies such as handwriting / presentation, use of feedback marking and pre- and post-assessments. The book scrutiny grading sheet is used for guidance.

Summative Assessments and Tests

  • Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

    We want every child to get a fantastic first impression of academy. We also want them to settle as quickly as possible. In their first year, children will follow a child-centred, skills-based curriculum. Daily provision consists of a combination of child-initiated learning and teacher-directed learning.

    At the beginning of the year, the majority of the day will be child-initiated learning, with the balance gradually shifting as the year progresses. During child initiated learning, children are provided with extensive opportunities to develop their own skills and interests. This facilitates independent learning, improves social skills, and aids personal organisation. Children are assessed continually through recorded observations that inform future planning to ensure continual progression. Learning is focused on The Early Years Foundation Stage principles. These principles set the standards for learning, development and care. The Foundation Stage children follow the revised EYFS curriculum. Our Foundation Stage curriculum is for children in Nursery and Reception and offers balanced, all-round development. It is divided into seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning are very much interlinked and of equal value.

    This is made up of three Prime Areas of learning:

    • Communication and Language
    • Physical Development
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

    And four Specific areas of learning:

    • Literacy
    • Mathematics
    • Understanding of the World
    • Expressive Arts and Design
  • English

    Speaking and Listening

    Language is the key to learning. Through work and play children develop the ability to communicate effectively with each other and as a result learn about themselves, other people and the world around them. We encourage children from an early age to listen attentively to stories, poetry and discussions and to comment on them. Class conversations, IPC topic work and drama activities give children the opportunity to express their ideas and thoughts so they begin to extend their vocabulary and use of language and learn to speak with confidence. Speaking and listening activities form an integral part of all curriculum areas not just literacy. We celebrate children’s achievements in academy assemblies where they get the opportunity to share their work through reading aloud and drama. All children are given the opportunity to perform in a Christmas production to which parents are invited.


    We are a reading for pleasure academy and want children to discover the magic of reading, so we surround them with a range of interesting and exciting books that include picture books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays and e-books. We have a collection of reading schemes and select books that are appropriate for each child’s developmental needs and interests. We carefully introduce the children to the printed word and teach them the letters and sounds of the alphabet through our comprehensive phonics programme following Letters and Sounds with Ruth Miskins characters. Each classroom has an inviting well-stocked reading area with a wide choice of children’s fiction and non-fiction for them to enjoy. We also have a large dedicated library which is regularly used by all classes for story sessions and research activities. Each year we celebrate World Book Day by participating in the national initiative where every child receives a free book token. We also have whole school and year group “dress up” days linked to favourite book characters or themes which inspire children to broaden their reading choices and give them the opportunity to act in role. We believe that learning to read is a shared responsibility and encourage parents to work in partnership with us for the benefit of their children. With shared reading each child takes home a reading scheme book on a regular basis to read and enjoy with their family. Our aim is to help children to read not just with fluency and understanding but with enjoyment and confidence.


    Oaklands give every child the opportunity to develop their writing skills right from day one, building their confidence so they become independent, motivated and fluent writers. From stories to instructions, recounts and poetry, we give children the chance to explore their creativity through many different forms of writing. During their first year, children are introduced to the phonetic nature of writing and are encouraged to experiment with sounding out to write. As they progress, we teach them high frequency words and correct spellings as well as different forms of punctuation and grammar. We also encourage children to take pride in their presentation of written work, to write neatly and to form letters correctly. It is our aim that by the end of Year 2, children will be able to write legibly in a joined, cursive style. At every stage we value what children are able to do, give praise and encouragement and give next steps feedback to help them expand their knowledge and skills.

  • Mathematics

    We follow the new National Curriculum for mathematics. Our lessons generally follow a set format, consisting of mental agility work, whole class teaching, group work and a plenary.

    Mathematics teaching is rooted in practical experience and opportunities are provided for:

    • Direct teaching by the teacher.
    • Discussion between teacher/pupil, pupil/teacher and pupil/pupil.
    • Appropriate practical work in computation, volume, length, shape, weight, time, area, money.
    • Consolidation and practice of skills. The "spiral" effect of learning is recognised and methods of calculation topics are regularly revised before the next step is taught.
    • Problem solving - including the application of mathematics in everyday situations.
    • Investigational work. This leads to much discussion, individual thought and clear mathematical understanding.

    We believe that it is imperative to keep key maths fundamentals, such as times tables and number facts, "on the boil" through varied and repeated practice in order that children can solve progressively complex problems. It is therefore expected that most children will be proficient in using their knowledge of all times tables up to twelve by the end of their time in Year 4. Mental agility for speed and accuracy is encouraged with oral questions, together with the ability to estimate distances, weight and volume.


  • Science

    We want to encourage, promote and develop children's scientific skills and knowledge.  We involve children in practical and intellectual activities, giving them the kind of hands-on experience that inspires curiosity and engagement with the subject.

    Experimental and Investigative Science

    This is one of the most important areas covered in the National Curriculum; the children are encouraged to predict, observe, measure, consider evidence, carry out experiments and check their findings to see if they are right. They have to think for themselves and begin to organise their own experiments and investigations. In this way they become real scientists when they look at the three main areas:-

    Life and living processes

    Children find out about themselves, how they grow, feed, move and keep healthy. They look at plants and animals, finding out what they need to live and grow.

    Materials and their properties

    This includes sorting, observing and comparing materials, finding out about their properties and uses. The children experiment with heating and cooling different materials such as chocolate, water or clay to see what happens to them. They enjoy using magnets and discovering what they can do.

    Physical processes

    This involves finding out about forces and their effects in a very simple way. The children also experiment with light and sound, finding how shadows are formed and sound travels. Lighting bulbs and working buzzers and motors helps them discover the exciting things that electricity can do.

    In all four areas of Science the children are given opportunities to talk about their work, use relevant Information and Communication Technology and consider Science in everyday life. One of the most important skills they learn is how to communicate their findings in a variety of ways.

  • Computing, Coding and E-Safety


    In an area where progress and innovation are constant features, it is intended that children will have many opportunities to experience and broaden their understanding of Information and Communication Technology and E-Safety which has relevance across the whole of our curriculum. Consequently, valuable links are often established with other curriculum areas, enabling children to view ICT within meaningful and realistic contexts. Children are encouraged to develop their understanding of how ICT affects the lives of themselves and others, whilst learning to recognize the implications and potential power of ICT in a world which is rapidly changing. 

    • Competence in coding for a variety of practical and inventive purposes, including the application of ideas within other subjects.
    • The ability to connect with others safely and respectfully, understanding the need to act within the law and with moral and ethical integrity.  This includes a huge focus on E-safety and how to stay safe on the internet.
    • An understanding of the connected nature of devices.
    • The ability to communicate ideas well by using applications and devices throughout the curriculum.
    • The ability to collect, organise and manipulate data effectively.

    We see Computing, Coding and E-Safety as a key to the future. Children are encouraged to interact with ICT from the day they start . Every classroom is equipped with a computer connected to the internet and an interactive whiteboard. We also have a fully equipped high-speed Broadband ICT suite which classes use at least once a week and an ICT equipped Special Needs room. In addition, learning is reinforced with the aid of many other ICT resources. These incorporate a large variety of electronic equipment and other visual aids and include ‘Roamer’ and ‘Pixie’ robots. We also have mobile tablets which are used throughout the academy and a wide range of laptops and academy camera. Teachers in Early Years Foundation Stage used ipads in their everyday teaching and learning.

  • Art and Design

    At Oaklands Primary Academy Art and Design is taught through the International Primary Curriculum.

    Art, Craft and Design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. We deliver a high quality Art and Design education will engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of Art, Craft and Design. It enables pupils to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design.

    By engaging children in making and responding to art, art and design teaching offers opportunities for them to:

    • Produce creative work, exploring their own ideas and recording their experiences.

    • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and designtechniques.

    • Evaluate and analyse creative works using their language of art, craft and design.

    • Know about great artists, craft makers and designers understanding the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

  • History

    In KS1, children are given opportunities to develop an awareness of the past, and ways in which it is different from the present. The children explore changes in their own lives, those of their families and in localities.   They will also be taught about notable events and the lives of different kinds of famous men and women. They begin to develop an awareness of chronology and are introduced to a wide range of sources of information including artefacts, pictures and photographs, written sources, buildings and sites, and adults talking about their own past (e.g. during our annual ‘Grandparents day’ when grandparents are invited in to classes to talk about the past).

    At KS2, children are taught through areas of study dating from the ancient Egyptians to The Victorians. They are encouraged to interpret a variety of historical sources to help gain knowledge and understanding of the past. The children also gain the ability to communicate their knowledge in a variety of ways enabling them to develop their understanding of the past and links between time periods. The majority of the KS2 class visits are linked to Year Group History topics. 

    The children are encouraged to ask questions about the past and to communicate their awareness and understanding of history in a variety of ways.

  • Music

    Music makes an important contribution to the children's attitudes and development. Our children experience music in a variety of ways including singing, composing, listening to music from a range of historical eras and cultures, evaluating and playing instruments. We also benefit from the additional teaching resources for Music from Charles Darwin Academy's involvement with us as a Community Arts College.  

    The curriculum is supported and enriched by other lessons and activities such as specially arranged tuition and music clubs. Clubs include Recorder and Choir. Music lessons from visiting teachers are available for the following instruments: Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Guitar and Percussion. Please enquire at the academy office for current information concerning music clubs and tuition.

  • Geography

    In Geography children are encouraged to observe their immediate surroundings and develop an awareness of the community around the academy.   Such opportunities arise through various explorations of the local area.

    Early investigations involve the children finding their way around the academy and grounds.   Later, visits are made to study aspects of the local environment.     

    A walk to nearby shops, facilities, houses or the park enables the children to make simple observations of the variety of land uses in the area.   Such walks also greatly enhance the development of early mapping skills. Enquiry forms an important part of our geography studies. Geographical investigations in KS2 are based on fieldwork on residential and class trips as well as classroom activities. Children can develop their geographical skills through studies as wide ranging as a local area or a developing country and through the study of geographical themes such as climate, rivers or environmental issues.

  • Design Technology

    Design Techology involves children in solving problems through designing and making, using a range of materials.   In doing this the children have to consider:   the needs of the user of their design, how they will go about making their project and what materials they will use.   Having made their product they will then need to reflect on how successful they have been.   

    Children will learn to work with a variety of materials in designing and making.   They will be taught to use a range of tools safely and techniques for problem solving.   As they progress they will be taught to evaluate their work and identify areas for improvement.

    Children are given the opportunity to work both individually and in small groups, as solutions to problems often occur when working and sharing ideas with each other.

    Children are given opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding through: 

    • investigating and evaluating familiar products; how they are used and what people think of them
    • focused practical tasks that develop a range of techniques, skills, processes and knowledge
    • design and make projects using a range of materials and components.
  • Religious Education

    At Oaklands, children participate in a daily act of non-denominational Collective Worship. This may be organized for separate groups of pupils at any time during the academy day. Arrangements for collective worship comply with both the Local Authorities agreed syllabus for R.E. and also with the statutory requirement laid down by Act of Parliament.

    We teach Religious Education either as a weekly lesson or as part of the wider topic linked to IPC. Teachers may use a theme involving moral or ethical issues or could set directly religious study. The main aims of R.E. are to learn about religion and to learn from it, so children understand the nature of religious beliefs and practices, and foster their own personal and spiritual development. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Worship and/or Religious Education if they wish.

    We believe that children, whatever their background, ability or religious persuasion, will find themselves able to benefit from the experience of Religious Education. Our pupils are members of a multi-cultural society and R.E. must be relevant to their needs and lives.

    We believe that R.E. encourages a reflective approach to living, knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices. It also helps children develop the ability to form reasoned opinions, based on evidence and argument. In fact, R.E. makes a strong contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the pupils in many ways.

    Through Religious Education, we hope to give the children a sound basis of Christian knowledge. Children also learn about and appreciate other religions, their differences and similarities, and get to visit other places of worship. We maintain close links with St Mark's Church and New Life Church through regular visits. Also we welcome church personnel such as the Vicar into the academy to work with the children.

  • Physical Education

    Physical Education at KS1 consists of three areas of activity: Games, Gymnastics and Dance.   We aim to provide opportunities for children to develop a wide range of skills, together with enjoyment, self-esteem and confidence. Each class has three sessions of physical education per week and takes part in a planned programme for each activity.   Sessions takes place outside when weather permits.   

    Year 1 and 2 classes may be given the opportunity to participate in a course of Boost and Dance Clubs administered at academy by a qualified coach. We hope to promote a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude towards physical activity which will benefit each child in the future.

    In KS2, each child takes part in organised PE activities each week, covering the six PE curriculum areas: Games, Gymnastics, Athletics, Dance, Swimming and Outdoor and Adventurous Activities. As well as learning skills specific to PE, the children learn about healthy living and are encouraged to opt into physical activity as a lifestyle habit. All children are expected to participate to the fullest extent. If for any reason your child cannot take part, please contact your child's teacher. At some time during KS2 all pupils will have a course of swimming lessons.  

    In addition to the normal 2 hours of PE per week, children are encouraged to be active during playtimes and make good use of the high quality play equipment, ball court, fields and playgrounds. They also experience a range of after academy sports clubs such as Netball, Football, Basketball, Athletics, Dance and Hockey. After academy sports clubs vary from year to year. Our aims are that all children shall participate, and enjoy participating, in physical activities in a way that challenges their personal ability. We also aim that those with high levels of physical skills may have the opportunity to excel.

  • Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship

    We regard PSHEC as an important component of the curriculum. We believe that it’s our responsibility to promote health and well-being – and we take it very seriously. That’s why we provide a broad and balanced curriculum which:

    • Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, emotional, social and physical development of pupils at the academy and in society;
    • Prepares children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

    All children are entitled to receive sound information about keeping healthy and safe, emotionally and physically. We follow the National SEAL programme (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) and through this, children are taught the importance of looking after themselves as well as others. They are encouraged to establish healthy patterns of behaviour and to learn to make healthy choices. Part of the weekly timetable is devoted to “Circle time” when aspects of PSHEC are covered.

    We teach Health Education in a cross-curricular way and it’s particularly relevant in Science, PE, R.E. and English. To support our teaching, the Life Skills caravan visits the Academy in the Summer Term and works with each year group.

  • Modern Foreign Languages

    From September 2014 teaching languages has become statutory for Key Stage 2 to lay foundations for Key Stage 3. At Oaklands, we believe that it is important for the children to discover the enjoyment and confidence that can be gained from communicating with people from other countries and cultures.

    The aims of the National Curriculum for languages is to ensure that pupils can:

    •  Understand and respond to spoken and written language
    •  Speak with increasing confidence
    •  Write for different purposes and audiences
    •  Discover an appreciation of the writing in the language studied.

    The children will be taught to listen and respond to spoken language through listening to stories, singing songs and rhymes and playing games. In addition, they will be taught to engage in conversations, speaking in whole sentences by the end of Key Stage 2, asking

    and answering questions, expressing their opinions and responding to the opinions of others. They will develop pronunciation and intonation when reading by exploring the patterns and sounds of language through spellings, songs and rhymes.

    The children will be encouraged to broaden their vocabulary, write phrases from memory adapting these to create their own sentences and by applying basic grammar rules.

    Using songs, actions and games, the children can enjoy learning a new language and develop their social skills and self-confidence. There are many good resources for learning French on the Internet which the children can access easily in order to encourage and support them and maybe for you to learn with them – it’s never too late!

  • Inclusion and Special Needs

    We believe every child should have access to the whole curriculum, including those with specific and general learning difficulties, those with emotional, behavioural, physical and sensory needs, and those who are able and talented.

    At some time in their academy life, pupils may experience difficulties, long or short term, which affect their learning. At Oaklands we take account of their unique requirements and make provision to support individuals or groups of children as necessary. When children have been identified as having a Special Educational Need, we follow the stages for meeting these needs recommended by the Code of Practice.

    We provide many opportunities for support, catch-up, pre-teach and extension from highly skilled teaching assistants, bespoke 1-2-1 or small group support, speech and language intervention, play intervention, phonics support to name but a few. The academy follows the procedure in the 2014 SEND Code of Practice:

    Statutory assessment

    The Local Authority considers the need for a statutory assessment and, if appropriate, makes a multi-disciplinary assessment.

    Children with Education, Health Care Plans

    The Local Authority considers the results of a statutory assessment and, if appropriate, makes a statement of special educational needs, called an Education Health Care Plan and arranges, monitors and reviews provision.

    Our Inclusion Manager is happy to discuss with parents any concerns about their child's special educational needs.

    There are opportunities each term for parents to discuss and review pupils' individual needs with us but our door is always open.

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