At The Island Free School all pupils are formally assessed using Cognitive Ability Testing (CAT) upon entry into the school. CATs are then used to generate provisional GCSE targets. All subjects also carry out baseline testing in the first half term of Year 7 in order to generate a start position. We then carry out a preliminary Progress 8 analysis to ensure that the CATS targets do in fact lead to a satisfactory Progress 8 score – this process generally leads to a slight upward adjustment in some pupil targets. The adjusted GCSE target and baseline positions are then used to calculate end of year targets which are communicated to staff via a class tracker template.
In KS3 it is the expectation that every pupil will make, nominally, two sublevels (4 points) of progress each academic year in all subject areas (as a minimum). The actual progress expected will vary between subjects and may exceed 4 points, especially if baseline positions are low – for example, progress in Latin is expected to be much higher (at least initially) because pupils start from a very low baseline position. In a similar way, expected progress will vary between pupils; for example a high ability pupil who has lower than expected baselines (compared to similarly able pupils) will be expected to make more progress in order to catch up. As such, targets are individually tailored.
In KS4 (Year 9 to 11) pupils begin their GCSE studies and now adopt their options subject choices. At this stage we carry out a second Progress 8 analysis to ensure that the school remains on track to achieve a satisfactory Progress 8 score for the revised range of subjects. This process uses CATs-generated targets but also takes into account teacher feedback (now based on two years experience of a pupil’s attitude and ability) to ensure that targets are realistic and achievable; this can lead to an increase or decrease in individual targets but overall it leads to a slight increase in expected target. Whilst, as a minimum, it is expected that all pupils will continue to make 4 points’ progress for each of the three years in all subjects this will again vary by subject and by pupil.
We have three terms in our school year. At the end of each term, every pupil is formally assessed. The results are entered into the school data analysis systems which are also used to generate a termly Data Pack and end of term reports. For robustness, the end of year exams are conducted under formal exam conditions (similar in fact to GCSE) and papers are externally marked and validated.
The Data Pack comprises analysis by subject at cohort, class and individual pupil level. The performance of sub-groups is also analysed, including gender, SEN, FSM/PP, EAL, high/mid/low ability. This information is provided to all staff and governors on a termly basis. Departments use this information to carry out their Progress Review in which they have the opportunity to reflect on the performance of their subject and then identify and address any issues arising. Departments use this process to identify pupils who require intervention support and to determine how this is to be delivered, and to reflect on the impact and effectiveness of previous interventions.
Progress reports are generated at the end of each term and are shared with parents via the termly mentor meeting. Each mentor is responsible for 12-13 pupils and will meet with each for approximately 20 minutes. The expectation is that 100% of parents attend these meetings and this is achieved; reports are not released unless the parent attends in person. The meeting is used to share progress data and teacher feedback, to update parents on reading age and attendance and to discuss the upcoming extra-curricula programme.
Transparency and Accountability
As discussed, the school shares progress and attainment data with teaching staff and governors via the termly Data Pack and this is discussed openly. Some of this data is also shared externally and it is used internally to provide evidence for performance management.
Public domain - we publish teacher progress data, including progress of sub-groups, on the website for all to see. The teacher appraisal page also contains observation and Pupil Voice data collected through the year to give parents and potential parents a clear understanding of the performance of every individual teacher at the school. Parents are trusting us with their children’s education and we believe that it is not possible to provide them with ‘too much’ information – it’s their right to know. Naturally we ensure that the data is presented so that the performance of individual pupils cannot be identified. Additionally, the school publishes all feedback received via termly parent surveys so that existing and prospective parents can see what their peers think of the school and of their child’s education.
Internal accountability – teachers are held accountable for the progress made by pupils and this forms an important part of their agreed performance management targets. The relative performance of individual teachers is also analysed and shared via line management meetings. The information is used to improve practice and to improve outcomes for our pupils.