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Assessing and Tracking Progress

From September 2014 how schools assess children’s progress and attainment has changed in Key Stages 1 and 2.  EYFS remains the same at present.

The New Curriculum requires that schools no longer use the ‘Level’ system.

Read here to find out how Ripon Cathedral School assess and track pupil’s learning to ensure your child makes good progress throughout their time with us.

The changes and the new system

The changes are for children in Years 1-6, they are taught the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum has changed and with it the way all schools track attainment and progress.

Previously, if you had a child in school, teachers will have given you a Level to represent your child’s attainment. For example ‘3C’. The number gave the level and the letter denoted steps within that level. So 3C would be a child just entering level 3, and 3A a child who was secure in the level and ready to move on to level 4.

Because of the way the old curriculum worked, the numbers did not automatically represent the year group a child would be in.

The new National  Curriculum has been written to give Age Related Expectations (ARE) for the end of each year. As children travel from Year 1 to Year 6 in our school, they will be tracked against the Age Related Expectations. At Ripon Cathedral School these are numbered bands. The bands give the level of  attainment.

So Year 1 is band 1, and so on until Year 5 is band 5 and Year 6 is band 6.

Because  all children are individual and develop at different rates and have differing needs, they will work in the band which is appropriate to them to make sure that learning makes sense. Extra help or challenge is given to make sure they are learning at the right level.

Progress within bands

As children develop through each Band, we track their progress very carefully. Each Band is broken into 3 steps which roughly represents a term’s progress.

Over the year the steps are called: ’beginning' (B)  ‘within’ (W) and ‘secure’ (S)*







1 B

1 W

1 S


2 B

2 W

2 S


3 B

3 W

3 S


4 B

4 W

4 S


5 B

5 W

5 S

Teachers can further break down each step into two in order to tightly track children’s progress and ensure they are constantly moving forwards and building on their previous learning. The extra steps are denoted with a ‘+’ 

So 2W+ shows a child is working very well within Band 2, and teachers will be looking to move them to 2S;

4S+ would show a child is very secure at band 4, and teachers will be preparing them to move to Band 5;

1B+ would show a child has an excellent basis to begin level 1, and teachers will be ready to move them to 1W.

This gives a total of 6 steps for a year. Wherever children begin their learning in September we expect them to make at least 6 steps progress.  So, if they start at 2W+ in Year 3, we generally will expect them to be at least 3W+ at the end of Year 3.  Over time accelerated progress of more than 6 steps will close gaps.

Tracking Progress in EYFS

Children in EYFS continue to be tracked on the Development Matters bands of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. By the end of their Foundation Year in school it is expected that they reach the ‘Early Learning Goals’.

At the beginning of the year a ‘baseline’ assessment is made of everything they can do, so teachers know what they need to learn next. This is shared at the first parents’ meeting of the year.

Children are tracked through their reading, writing and maths development by what they write down, through careful observation of what they can do, how they interact with others and how they explain what they know.

A Learning Journey is kept of their development, which we will share with you throughout the year.  Parents can contribute to this to include what children can do and are interested in at home.

At the end of the EYFS year the EYFS Profile completes the picture of everything they have learnt, and are able to do.  This is reported to parents in July, so parents know if their child is at the age related expectation, is emerging into this  or exceeding above. Most importantly, it shows how much progress has been made from the baseline, and so teachers in Year 1 are ready to teach them their next steps in the National Curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the system changing?

It is part of the new revised National Curriculum. The Government wants a simpler system for parents to understand and for each school to develop their own. The new system enables teachers, pupils and parents to concentrate on learning to make progress, rather than just focusing on levels.

Will children still have SATs?

Yes, SATs will still take place for Years 2 and 6. From 2016 the nature of the tests will be different, although in essence the government still intends to assess the ability of each child in English and Maths. Year 1 children will still complete a national phonics skills test and Reception children will complete a Baseline assessment.

What can I do to help my child?

There is so much parents can help with, reading is very important along with times tables, spellings and practicing number bonds. Also completing homework as well as talking about what they are learning in school. Our website has links to supporting websites and the BBC website where there are lots of fun games to support primary learning. Your class teacher will also give you some specific pointers to help your child at home.

What do teachers use to gauge children’s progress?

Children’s independent work is the biggest indicator of what they can do and how they do it.  Teachers use this on a daily basis to know and check pupil understanding and progress. Special pieces of work to inform assessment are set up throughout the year. Fortnightly skills checks in maths, spellings and grammar all take place to allow us to celebrate progress and quickly identify gaps in learning so we can adjust planning and meet the needs of individual children.

How is the progress between each step worked out?

At Ripon Cathedral School we assess against national curriculum statements to benchmark progress and have a series of tracking systems to assess progress through each band.

How do all schools know that their judgements about progress and attainment match up with each other? 

At Ripon Cathedral School we work across the school and with other local schools to agree and ’moderate’ attainment levels. All schools also have external moderation from the Local Authority. Essex Target Tracker enables us to moderate against samples of work nationally.

What happens when my child goes to Secondary School?

High schools will have their own systems and will work with the primaries to ensure that the systems work together, so there is continuity for children’s progress.

Do the teachers use any other forms of assessment?

Throughout all lessons teachers continuously monitor and assess learning, ensuring that any misconceptions pupils have in learning are quickly addressed, so that they can continue to make progress within that session.  As well as reviewing pupils recorded work, teachers will also use tests and screen to review how well pupils have retained learning over a period of time.