Regis Manor adopted Classroom Monitor in July 2012 as a way to track pupil progress and manage their assessment data more effectively. Since then, the team has found the Classroom Monitor partnership crucial in adapting to their new curriculum. Headteacher Karen Mirams shares their experience.
Record breaking SATs results
2015 saw Regis Manor continue its strong upward trend in its KS1 and KS2 SATS results. This follows their record-breaking results in 2014. The school is now performing consistently at or above national expectations for both attainment and progress. Karen has no doubt that the school’s collaboration with Classroom Monitor is one of the main reasons for their success: “A large part of this is down to the tracking of pupils and monitoring towards their targets thanks to Classroom Monitor”.
This positive use of tracking to inform school improvement was noted in the school’s most recent Ofsted report (April 2014): “Leaders and managers have a good overview of how pupils are doing and regularly check this in order to plan actions to help pupils catch up when needed. They analyse the data about pupils’ progress to ensure that they use resources effectively and then carefully check the impact of their actions.”
The tracking challenge: fast and meaningful data
Karen explains how the school has used Classroom Monitor to help achieve these results: “When I joined the school in July 2012, I inherited a data system that was cumbersome and time consuming. I’d used Classroom Monitor in a previous school, so I showed the trust’s leaders what I could do with the basic online tracking sheet. They agreed that this was by far a better system – even in its simplest form. From there, I used Classroom Monitor to set year group and key stage targets and track the children towards these.
“The biggest impact this had was we could easily gather and analyse the data. This gave us more time to do the most important part of data analysis – the ‘so what?’ factor – where we could use the data to plan where we needed to put additional support to ensure that all children were reaching their potential. Once this system was in place and working well, I was then asked to roll it out to our ‘sister’ primary school in the trust and we have now done the same with a third primary school.
“Classroom Monitor has continued to improve over the years to make it even easier to analyse data in numerous ways and the team continues to work hard to ensure that teachers and leaders can get the information they need as quickly and simply as possible.”
Assessing the new national curriculum
“With the introduction of the new curriculum and the limited information available with regards to expectations (i.e, only having end of year performance descriptors) we felt that now would be a good time to begin to use the other areas that Classroom Monitor has to offer. The online markbooks already provide built-in smaller steps which will help teachers not only with assessing pupils at each stage of their learning but will also aid planning with the new curriculum as well.
“We have begun using the Rising Stars Progression Framework within Classroom Monitor as part of our transition into the new curriculum. It’s been extremely useful to have the end of year expectations broken down into objectives as this helps not only with assessment but also with planning and identifying gaps in learning. So far we’ve also used it to carry out joint moderation with other schools to build up a set of exemplars so we know what ‘expected’ looks like for each year group at different stages of the year.”
A successful transition
“Classroom Monitor provided us with a clear, well developed starting point, giving us confidence in moving forwards with a new curriculum and assessing without levels. The blogs and white papers that Classroom Monitor has published have also been a useful guide for the leadership team. They’ve kept us up to date with the curriculum changes by summarising the information and providing us with a path to take rather than us stumbling around in the wilderness, so to speak.
“The fact that the team at Classroom Monitor has fully developed their system to fit the requirements of National Curriculum 2014 means that we can keep our focus on raising standards within the school and developing staff confidence. The training and discussions we had when our account manager visited the school in the Autumn term gave us the opportunity to really think things through, and decide how best to use the system to ensure we continue to support our pupils to reach their potential.”
About Regis Manor Community Primary
Regis Manor is a larger than average primary school, with 430 pupils on roll. It converted to academy status in 2011 and is part of the Swale Academies Trust. Karen Mirams has been teaching for 13 years. She joined the Regis Manor team as Deputy Head in September 2012 and subsequently took on the role of Headteacher from September 2013.