School Reporting Suite

Saving Teachers Time

Month: April 2016

Accurate Reporting Of Pupil Progress Is Important In The UK Education System


Accurate testing and reporting of pupil progress is an important part of the UK education system, however it hit the news for the wrong reasons last week as a testing scandal emerged that led to an official government trial being curtailed.

The test was of national spelling tests for 7 year olds, which is currently in the process of being rolled out across the country. But Progress has hit a speed bump after an embarrassing faux pas in the official trial.

Last week it emerged that during the trial many pupils were able to predict what questions were coming next. The children had not learnt to predict the future, but rather had seen the test paper before as it was the same as some of the practice papers they had been given access to.

Charlotte Smiles, a teacher spotted the error and said:

“One of the children who was sitting the spelling test that we were giving them kept saying, ‘I know this one, and this one’. He appeared to know what was coming next.

I went and checked on the DfE website and I found this exact test published as a sample paper.”

Knowing the answers to a test in advance is the stuff of slapstick movies, this is quite a serious error for a new process and one that has left many scratching their heads at how such a mistake could happen.

Head teachers leader Russell Hobby stated that

“We have no way of knowing how extensively it has been used by schools. This is a serious error that undermines confidence in the administration of primary tests and also means that we can have little faith in any standard setting exercise that may emerge from the pre-test trials.

What Next

The full Key Stage 1 tests are due to start later in the year but this error has given the tests a rocky start. We will be keeping an eye and monitoring how the rollout continues after this setback.

Sugar Tax To Fund Breakfasts & Extended School Days

The recent budget by George Osborne contained a number of initiatives that will impact on schools and the millions of children that attend them every day.

Although announced this week they are a continuation of policies that have previously being trialled or enacted at various levels of the education system.

We have recently blogged about the biggest change unveiled during the budget, which was the conversion of all UK schools to academies by 2022. However, there were also announcements around the length of the school day, after school activities and the so called “sugar tax” that have also dominated the post budget discussions.

Although the sugar tax is not strictly an education issue, it is an important one. The tax is expected to raise £1.2bn in the first two years after it is enacted. The mechanics of which are not only designed to help tackle childhood obesity, but also raise revenue that will be used for education initiatives.

These include £285m per year to spend on the extended day program for secondary schools; £320m to double the primary school PE premium and £10m to provide 1,600 schools with breakfast clubs.

Extended School Days

The extended school days’ program will be used to fund extracurricular activities focused around sports and the arts. These sessions will extend the school day for many students by more than an hour and is based on research that such activities improve student achievement.

The proposal has been met with enthusiasm by Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, he said:

“Any expansion of hours must be properly funded, as school budgets are extremely tight. As long as this remains at the discretion of schools to meet the needs of their pupils, then it seems positive.”

“The idea that most schools shut at 3.30pm is itself pretty outdated, but we have no problem with extra money to help them in the activities they offer.”

Can You Really Scrap A-E Grades and Reporting


There is a requirement for schools of all types in the UK to have Ofsted compliant systems of assessment, tracking and reporting.

The way that education is measured and reported is an area where professional opinions can differ significantly.

In the UK schools are bound to track, assess and report pupil progress in line with the national curriculum; however there are some schools outside of the UK that are trying a different reporting system.

One such experiment is taking place in Australia where Nossal High School has removed grades from its reporting because they found parents and students were giving them too much attention and missing out on important feedback.

The Assistant principal, Sue Harrap said she felt that the previous mandatory reporting style left teachers feeling “boxed in”.

Instead students and teachers contribute to the new report cards and rate the student’s knowledge, skills, participation, reflection and study habits.

The tracking and assessment reporting system that the school is using is published to families four times a year and contains more information that a traditional grade focussed report.

Importance of Assessment Tracking In The UK

The experiment in Australia highlights the benefits of bespoke assessment and measurement in the participating schools. In the UK the national curriculum means that schools are obligated to measure and track certain endpoints and monitor progress.

However, for schools looking for additional flexibility due to an alternative measurement of success or those operating within faith curriculums, bespoke school reporting can allow for a higher level of visibility and engagement.

This can improve the communication and reporting between education managers, teachers, parents and the students themselves.

Although the UK curriculum does not allow for the following of the model being adopted in parts of Australia, there is certainly some validity into looking at how school reporting can better serve those involved.