Walton-on-Trent Primary is an Ofsted Outstanding school that opened its nursery provision in March 2011. It runs a mixed class for children aged three to five, including Reception. When Ofsted visited the school later that year, inspectors were particularly impressed by the quality of early years assessment. Their Head Teacher at the time, Carolyn White, spoke to us about their success, and how Classroom Monitor has helped staff adapt to the new Early Years Foundation Stage.
Carolyn introduced Classroom Monitor to Walton-on-Trent Primary as a way to track pupil progress consistently right the way through the school, from nursery to key stage 2. Staff have found it particularly useful in the foundation stage as a way to benchmark children against the development matters and early learning goals:
‘Classroom Monitor is marvellous for Early Years because of the nature of the evidence that is needed. We attach either a comment linked across to the markbook, or a photograph, or whatever our evidence is, and we use the system as our assessment record.’
Ofsted picked up on this in their report: ‘Children are provided with an excellent start in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Regular assessments by all staff provide an illuminating picture of the children’s progress. The computerised records are supplemented by photographs and anecdotal evidence and provide parents and carers with a detailed and informative picture of how well their children are progressing.’
Carolyn found that preparing for the Ofsted inspection and presenting results was much more efficient with the help of Classroom Monitor. Using just a laptop, instead of ‘lots of files and folders on each child’, team leaders could present their progress evidence instantly.
This ease of access is also integral to communicating with parents: during parents evening staff use Classroom Monitor to display each child’s personal markbook on screen. This helps to give parents a much clearer understanding of their child’s development, with examples of what they have achieved: ‘If we have a parent meeting we’ll use Classroom Monitor to generate a commentary on how the child is doing.’
Overall, Carolyn ‘highly recommends’ the system, and in fact has already done so to several other schools in her area.