The School uses the ‘SOLAR for Schools’ Assessment tool to evidence the progress made by learners in their curricular activities. Information on SOLAR for Schools can be found at http://www.solarforschools.org.uk/
SOLAR for Schools is a specially designed, online pupil assessment tracker for children with special needs. SOLAR allows the school to record pupil progress in line with the assessment frameworks chosen for each curriculum area, and upload evidence of learning ‘milestones’. These milestones are recorded as ‘Stars’ on the SOLAR framework; identifying knowledge, skills and understanding gained as either ‘emerging’, ‘developing’ or ‘secure’. This provides a personalised learning approach regarding each aspect of learning, for every pupil in school. It also ensures that staff consolidate learning before a child progresses, or is required to ‘revisit’ learning at some future point.
Levels and Frameworks
The frameworks of learning at SJV have been developed from existing frameworks devised through SOLAR and other SEND specialists and adapted to meet the curriculum and learning needs of the Children and Young People of SJV, at each Key Stage.
Frameworks for each subject have been designed to allow teachers and class teams to track and record pupil learning as it happens; evidencing the improvements made by pupils in their skills, knowledge and understanding in all subjects.
Within the first half term of a pupil attending SJV, teachers undertake benchmarking exercises to ensure that each child is working at the optimum level in each subject area, according to their learning needs.
Assessment of Learning in lessons takes place in two main ways;
- Formative – including specific tasks in schemes of work, marking of work, questioning and answering in lessons and ongoing teacher assessment of learning during lessons.
- Summative – including written activities, practical projects and end of unit tests.
These activities help our class teachers record and report on learning that takes place and to plan accurately for the next steps in learning of our Children and Young People individually.
During our initial use of SOLAR as our assessment platform, we have been able to track learning accurately against the SOLAR frameworks, in each curriculum area. This has allowed us to gauge precisely how our individual SEND learners make progress – an important consideration as SEND learning is very individualised and our Children and Young People develop at very different rates to their peers, dependent upon a wide range of individual factors.
At the end of each academic year subject teachers set apppropriately challenging and robust targets for the following year. These targets are based on accurate knowledge of every pupil in each subject and the rates of progress, evidenced whilst teaching them during the previous academic year. Staff are challenged to ensure these targets are rigorous and aspirational and that the quality assurance process we have in place validates these approaches. The yearly targets are then reported to parents in the first Interim Report of each year and in that year’s subsequent reports.
Moderation of the target setting process and assessment of learning is undertaken in regularly scheduled meetings by teachers of all Children and Young People across Key Stages 2-5. These consultations provide a ‘sense check’ and audit opportunity and help to provide consistency in practice across the school in all subject areas.
Tracking of assessment data is undertaken weekly to help form the lesson planning of subsequent learning. Short and mid-term monitoring is undertaken at a teacher and subject level by our Subject Coordinators. We also undertake termly, whole school data tracking by the Senior Leadership Team. This helps to provide relevant and informative data to the Governing Body and other agencies requiring evidence of progress that is tracked across the curriculum. Cumulatively, these processes enable all stakeholders to identify instances where pupils are not making the necessary progress and help pinpoint appropriate interventions.
Termly reporting of data is provided to the Pupil Progress sub-committee of the Governing Body. Reporting to parents is provided through the following annual cycle;
- Welcome Meeting for Parents – September
- Interim Report 1 – December
- Interim Report 2 – March
- Parents Evening – March
- Annual Reports – July
Ensuring challenge and rigour
The Senior Leadership Team work closely with the class and subject coordinator teams to provide quality assurance of the target setting and assessment process at SJV. The school works closely with the SEND team at Trafford Local Education Authority and are developing external validation opportunities with their lead staff to further support our assessment practice.
Regular questionnaires completed by parents, staff and pupils also provides the school with constructive feedback to ensure our practice continues to evolve.