School Reporting Suite

Saving Teachers Time

UK Primary Assessment Updates – Resits, Punctuation, Grammar & Review

The school reporting and assessment system in the UK particularly for primary school children has been under intense review and scrutiny in recent years.

The government continues to review and suggest amendments to policies and processes that mean teachers, school senior management teams, parents and children are having to adapt to changes.

In October the Education secretary Justine Greening announced some policy decisions in a statement to parliament.

Here is a quick look at three of the announcements affecting primary assessment and children as they leave primary school and enter high school.

Maths and Reading Resits For Year 7 Entrants Will Not Be Imposed

There had been a consultation on plans to make year 7 pupils resit key stage 2 tests for children that failed to meet the “expected standard”

The UK government have now confirmed that this will now not be imposed, adding that the focus will now be on making sure children “catches up on lost ground”. There will be resit papers made available for teachers that wish to use them.

Key Stage 1 Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar Remains Non-Statutory

The key stage 1 spelling, punctuation and grammar tests have been controversial after the tests were leaked online and were postponed as a legal requirement. Greening confirmed in her statement that this would be extended for another year.

This will allow teachers and senior management teams to decide if the tests will be implemented in their schools.

Further Consultation On UK Primary assessment in the New Year

The announcements by Justine Greening may have been more about postponing the implementation of existing tests, however it is clear that this is up for review.

The government has announced it will continue the consultation on primary assessment an issue that is likely to continue to be a political football in the coming weeks, months and even years.

UK School Assessment Reporting – No New Tests Before 2018

The UK school assessment reporting process from schools has been under review and subject to multiple changes under the current government.

This has affected all key stages and is likely to continue as consultations and reviews into effective ways of monitoring, tracking and reporting children’s progress are planned by the UK government.

This makes the challenge for key stakeholders to make sure that their own internal monitoring, tracking and reporting systems allow them to stay on top of changing regulatory requirements in line with the national curriculum and their own reporting needs.

In October the Education secretary Justine Greening announced some policy decisions in a statement to parliament.  One of which was that there would be no new tests implemented before 2018.

No New Tests Before 2018

Teachers, school senior management teams, parents and children have had to adapt to a number of different changes in how pupil progress is assessed, monitored and reported on a local and national level.

Therefore, there may be some relief that there are no new tests for children in the UK education system before 2018. This is said to be designed to bring in a greater level of stability to schools over the coming 12 months.

With so many changes the reaction to this and the scrapping of key stage 1 resits (link to other blog) have been positively received by the Naswut teaching union.

Christine Keates the head of the union stating

“It appears that the Secretary of State has now recognised the real challenges around statutory end of key-stage assessment.

“The recognition that there were problems with the 2015/16 data, and that because of this no schools should face harsh sanctions solely on the basis of that data, is a welcome step towards relieving the pressure and anxiety some schools have been experiencing.”

Faith Based Dual Curriculum Assessment Challenges

For schools managing their education program using more than one curriculum there can be a number of practical reporting issues.

These can range from having to put tracking systems in place for curriculums with different assessment standards to how to adapt the reporting for more than one language.

These challenges can be typical in UK based faith schools that are operating the national curriculum as well as a faith based curriculum. In order to operate there is a need to comply to national curriculum standards but also integrate the faith curriculum.

Then there is the reporting aspect where there may be a need to report in a number of different languages based on the backgrounds of the pupils.

It is these challenges that led to the School Reporting Suite being developed by our team of passionate engineers. We have been able to successfully integrate different grading systems at the same time within our system and allow the easy assessment, tracking and reporting of pupil progress.

The Kodesh Curriculum

SRS have helped the Menorah Primary School to simplify their reporting process when using two different curriculums.

The modular design of our cloud based software allowed quick modifications to accommodate the Jewish study curriculum and the school’s grading curriculum. The system was also enhanced to allow comments and edits to be made in Hebrew.

Configurable To Any Curriculum

The principles used at Menorah Primary School can be adapted for any school of any faith looking to integrate more than one curriculum. We are currently exploring implementation of our software to education authorities across the world.

If you would like to find out more about how we make assessment tracking simple for head-teachers, teachers and parents in multiple languages or curriculums give us a call on 020 8893 6666 

NUT Teachers Union Calls Primary School Assessment Overhaul

The role of assessment in primary education and how assessments are managed is in the headlines as the NUT teacher’s union calls for primary school overhaul.

This development raises the possibility that there could be a coordinated boycott of the SATs one of the main national assessment programs used by the Department of Education.

Primary School Assessment Issues

The focus on primary school assessment has increased a great deal in recent years, in part fuelled by changes in the method and focus of assessments by the previous and current governments.

The latest flashpoint in this assessment battleground, is a reaction to figures that show substantial differences across local authorities in SATs results. The NUT have called for significant improvements or further action by the union will be taken.

NUT’s new general secretary, Kevin Courtney weighed into the debate on behalf of his members.

“The case for a complete rethinking of assessment in primary schools is overwhelming – this deeply flawed system must not be allowed to do further harm to pupils and to teachers in 2017.”

“If the government is not prepared to make the changes needed, then the union is prepared to work with other unions to boycott both key stage one and key stage two Sats”

SATs Boycott Possible?

This would not be the first time that SATs had been boycotted, in 2010 around a quarter of schools boycotted the key stage two tests. Unofficially there was also a parent-led boycott of key stage one assessments that was on a smaller scale but received a large amount of publicity.

At SRS we have designed a reporting suite that allows schools on a range of different curriculums to assess, track and report on pupil progress.

If you would like to find out more about how we make assessment tracking simple for teachers give us a call on 020 8893 6666 

NAHT Raises UK SATs School Assessment Mistakes

The way that the government assesses pupils continues to be in the spotlight as the NAHT raises UK assessment mistakes.

The NAHT are relatively recent members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and used the organisation as a platform to express their views on UK school assessment.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) favouring a motion for the government to address what it called a “chaotic and confusing system of assessing school’s academic performance.”

The union identified a number of issues around school assessments that need to be addressed in the planning and preparation of this year’s SATs. On the back of these alleged issues there have been calls for SATs data not to be published in December.

The issues raised included;

  • The erroneous publication of SATs papers ahead of the test
  • Delayed and difficult to interpret guidance for teachers
  • Mistakes within the test papers
  • A mark scheme that does not cater for those with dyslexia

The issue of leaked papers was raised in parliament after nearly 100 people accessed the national primary school spelling and grammar test after it appeared online. Schools minister Nick Gibb was forced to inform parliament of this school’s assessment error.

He went on record to describe the leaking of the papers as “clearly a mistake, which should not have been possible,”

Assessment Challenges

This issue highlights the challenge of effectively assessing, tracking and reporting the progress of pupils in a standardised way nationally.

It will be interesting to see how these assessments are developed to address perceived issues.

At SRS we have designed a reporting suite that allows schools on a range of different curriculums to assess, track and report on pupil progress.

If you would like to find out more about how we make assessment tracking simple for teachers give us a call on 020 8893 6666 

Brexit Raises Questions Over Funding

Last month the UK voted to leave the European Union following a referendum, a vote that is dominating discussions across almost every aspect of our lives and education is no exception.

The vote to leave the EU may not have had immediate impacts on the education system in the same way that the banking and finance industries. Yet a move away from EU may have longer term impacts that have yet to be fully defined.

Politics have a large impact on the education system and the referendum has led to large scale political shifts. The UK has a new Prime Minister and Education minister.

The full impact of this vote may not be known until the dust has settled and what the political and economic future of the country looks like.

The Areas Of Education Brexit May Impact

Two areas of immediate concern within education are; funding for higher education and investment in university research. Both these areas feature cooperation through the EU funding and many schemes are EU funded. The vote to leave raises uncertainty to how these will work in the future if at all.

From a teaching perspective decisions over immigration could impact staffing and pupil levels in ways that are difficult to forecast. In the last decade the system has adapted to immigration across the EU and supporting these communities.

Migration pattern changes and volumes could have an impact on demand and resourcing as well as the ability to recruit qualified teachers from across the EU. A particular concern given the importance of language learning in modern education.

So whilst the overall impacts of a potential Brexit are yet to be defined, there are many areas that educators will be watching with interest. Hopefully over time the solutions will become clear and the focus will always remain on getting the best for UK students.

What Schools Say About The School Reporting Suite

Teacher Pointing at Map of World ca. 2002

Teacher Pointing at Map of World ca. 2002

An efficient and accurate way of reporting pupil progress is an important part of the UK education system. It has been something we have worked tirelessly to implement with our School Reporting Suite platform.

One of the challenges we face when talking with schools is allowing them to picture how our solution works and the benefits it can have.

We are happy to demo our system to any school that may be interested to help bridge the conceptual gap, but we thought we would share a couple of testimonials from schools that use SRS for their pupil assessment, tracking and reporting or other IT work.

Here are two examples of clients that are reaping the benefits of working with SRS.

Menorah Primary School

We have completed our first full year’s assessment schedule using SRS, using both the tracking and reporting modules. The software fully represents our assessment ethos. It is easy to deploy and data entry is very straightforward even in Hebrew! Layout is comprehensive without being cluttered and print copy is aesthetic and ready to send to parents. We now have the tools to generate full reports and charts on classes, groups and individual students in all their subjects and categories. We can track, assess, compare and plan – all within one software package.
Thank you, Aspiring Panda! Your customer service is ‘top-shelf’ with immediate and effective response to all our technical enquiries.

————– Rabbi Atlas

Wexham School

Aspiring Panda the company behind SRS have been providing a professional service for the School’s IT requirements in respect of Structured Network Cabling, installation of interactive whiteboards and AV Sound Systems. Recently, we had a need to update our website and approached Aspiring Panda for this task.

We would like to thank the Aspiring Panda team for designing our school website and was particularly impressed by their usual professional approach and the speed at which the website was prepare to meet our particular requirements. We would definitely work with them in the future and also have no hesitation in recommending Aspiring Panda to other organisations.

Dubai Schools Allow High Performing Schools To Opt Out Of Assessments


In Dubai high performing schools are getting the ability to opt out of regular assessments as part of a new education initiative.

This is of note as in the United Kingdom schools only have a limited amount of flexibility in the way they track, monitor and assess the progress of pupils.

Schools are required to comply with the national curriculum and the wide range of formal and informal assessments that are monitored at a local and a national level.

However, the requirement for regular assessment as part of the education process is not universally accepted and others across the UK and the world think other approaches may be more appropriate and beneficial to the learning of pupils.

The Dubai Approach

One country that has taken a different approach in schools is Dubai, where schools that are high achieving are able to opt out of regular assessments.

Arabian Business outlined the project in a recent article

“The Abundance Group project, initiated by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will allow schools rated very good and outstanding the option of a differentiated inspection based on self-evaluation, allowing them to focus their resources on giving back to other schools.

This marks the first time an education regulator in the UAE has offered schools a choice to carry out self-evaluations instead of formal inspections in order to help improve standards across other poor performing schools.”

Analysis For The UK

It is noteworthy that at this point this is only for high achieving schools and whether this is a recognition of the importance of uniform assessment is beneficial in providing a pathway to measuring and improving pupil performance.

The Dubai Initiative is an interesting case study and I am sure people across the education system will be watching to see how this change affects performance.

Primary School Assessment In UK Remains Controversial


Primary school assessment in the UK has become a hot political issue in recent months.

The accurate assessment, tracking and reporting of pupil performance is vital to ensuring that the right steps can be taken to shape a child’s learning and tailor learning experiences to match progress while keeping parents and management informed.

How to do this on a national level has been in the news frequently in recent weeks as the government has come under pressure on how it tracks the performance of primary school children.

First, there was controversy over the trial of national spelling tests where questions from practice papers were used in the official trial.

Key Stage 2 SATs

Now this week the government has come under fire due to parents taking their children out of school for a day in protest at key stage 2 SATs

The Daily Mail summarised the issue

“Families have pulled their children out of class as part of a nationwide demonstration against the exams for six and seven-year-olds, which they claim put schoolchildren ‘through hell’ and too stressed to eat or sleep.

Critics claim the children in Year 2 is causing mental health problems – while some parents say their children are being ‘set up to fail’ so the Tories can force through its academies plans.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said today it was wrong for parents to force young children to strike because: ‘Even missing a day’s school can be damaging.’”

This issue that saw more than 2,000 six and seven-year-old pupils taken out of school highlights how emotive testing and performance tracking can be.

It is important that schools continue to invest in making the assessment, tracking and reporting of pupil progress as efficient and as user-friendly as possible in a complex education setting.

This is why at Aspiring Panda, we developed the School Reporting Suite (SRS), our reporting software, that makes tracking and reporting pupil progress simple to manage.

Find out more at

The Advantages Of Education In The Cloud


Cloud computing is the technology that allows users to access data from anywhere using the internet. Enhanced connectivity and the increase in the number of UK smartphone users has had a significant impact on the way the country does business.

Although you may not realise it yet, the cloud is having a large impact upon the education sector. Technologies are now in place that allow the sharing of ideas, collaboration and communicating in a way that was not possible even 10 years ago.

From video calls to educational apps there are huge strides being made to offer different products and services within the education system due to the flexibility and versatility that cloud technology creates.

Sharing data has become simple and the uses of the technology are developing rapidly as the sector adapts to the opportunities increased connectivity and sharing creates.

At Aspiring Panda, the cloud is an important part of our School Reporting Suite.

Our core product is a reporting system that allows teachers to assess, track and report the progress of students in multiple languages and curriculums. Adding the ability to store and share information from the cloud gives users a wide range of options on how to use the system.

Parents and teachers can access and input data even when they are not at school and have that information available in real time. The ability to do this from anywhere in real time is a real advantage for time sensitive professionals that do not want a difficult to use system tying them down.

Our system can be accessed on multiple devices including smartphones and tablets giving our users flexibility and choice on how they use the suite.

We expect to see further developments in the education sector as the power of the connectivity and sharing that the cloud provides is realised by schools and teachers alike.

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