Aspire, Achieve and Thrive


We believe that Assessment for Learning (AFL) is a fundamental process, essential in promoting the development of our pupil’s education. . All staff at Downland School are trained in and use a variety of AFL strategies. Ultimately the aim of assessment is to help children learn more effectively.

We consider assessment as vital if teachers are to establish what stage of learning each pupil has reached and be able to plan effectively, ensuring progression. We aim to ensure:

Every pupil knows how they are doing, and understands what they need to do to improve and how to get there. They get the support they need and in many cases receive imaginative and different interventions to ensure they can tackle and overcome barriers to learning and start on a rapid trajectory of improvement and progress.

All Staff are equipped to make well-founded judgements about pupils’ attainment, understands the concepts and principles of progression, and knows how to use their assessment judgements to forward plan, particularly for pupils who are not fulfilling their potential in addition to securing academic progress staff understand the concepts and principles of supporting social progression, and knows how to use their assessment judgements to plan, particularly for pupils who are not fulfilling their potential.

Teachers carry out periodic reviews during each term which provide a profile of pupil’s achievement across a subject (drawing on the evidence of day to day assessment). All assessment processes feed into the department and school tracking systems. These periodic reviews are to give a broader view of progress across a subject for the teacher and learner. This should also develop improvements in medium-term curriculum planning. 

Academic progress continues to be tracked for Key stage 2 (year 6) and Key stage 3 (years 7, 8 and 9), by comparing a pupil’s academic progress with their Age Related Expectation (ARE), which is in line with national expected progress in each subject for each year. 

Pupils are assessed when they join the school to ascertain their “starting point,” this is done using: Wide Ranging Assessment Tests 5 (WRAT 5), which covers literacy and is used to identify pupils who need literacy intervention and examination dispensations; Progress in Understanding Mathematics Assessment (PUMA) is used to assess and baseline pupils for maths and Cognitive Ability Tests (CATS), have recently been completed and once analysed this data will also be used.  Teachers also complete their own baseline assessments within their subject area.

Pupils’ progress in class, where they are closing the gap towards being at there ARE, is also assessed periodically.  The majority of pupils are well below their ARE on joining the school and have large gaps in their education.

Each subject is currently developing individual methods for tracking their subject against the objectives and outcomes for Key Stage 2 and 3 taking into account the different requirements and ensuring the system meets the assessment needs of the subject; what works well for science may not be the correct system for English. These systems will be in use from September 2022.

Progress for Key stage 4 (year 10 and 11) is measured against the outcomes set by the examination board; most of our pupils are taking GCSE with AQA.