The Stephen Longfellow Academy is an integral part of The GORSE Academies Trust, and as such benefits from its strong relationship with The Morley, Farnley and Ruth Gorse Academies, all of which are OFSTED Outstanding academies. The assessment policies used at TSLA are similar to those used at our partner schools, and as such we are confident that we will reap the benefits of their experience in the area of student assessment and tracking.
The unique status of TSLA within the Trust, as an Alternative Provision free-school established in 2017, means that assessment has had to be innovative. We are committed to developing bespoke assessment solutions to monitoring and assessing the progress made by all of our students.
Target-setting is the starting point for our assessment protocols. We take KS2 data and use it to set challenging and aspirational targets for our students in all years. This system is used by all the academies in the Trust and has been refined over a decade of sustained improvement at our partner academies.
Commissioning schools provide detailed information regarding student progress and attainment, this is then supplemented with a 7-week “true baseline” where class teachers will provide an evaluation of student attainment following 7 weeks of teaching. This baseline then forms the foundation for teaching and learning strategies with each individual child.
Assessment takes on a number of guises. It can be in the form of classwork or homework, that has been designed to extend learning. This means that we see exceptional pieces of work in all subject areas and use them to establish the level of understanding of our students. The close partnership work established through Assessment Rubric Meetings and Core Binding Meetings within the Trust, and latterly our 3-19 Partnership Meetings ensures that Curriculum Leaders can share and disseminate materials used throughout the Trust. This allows us to make meaningful comparisons about the progress made on these tasks.
Assessment is more formally conducted using tests and exams that have been developed centrally within the Trust by the partnership work of key middle leaders. These exams are standardised during Assessment Rubric Meetings, in order to set grade boundaries and ensure that alignment of teaching schemes has taken place. Following examinations, samples are moderated by Curriculum Leaders from across the Trust in order to ensure the quality of marking and accuracy of assessment. This allows the Central Assessment Team to compare both attainment and progress of the students in all schools, and identify areas for improvement and where support is required with certain students or groups of students.
During the year there are 3 Assessment Points calendared throughout the year. These are formal points at which teachers assess the current attainment of the students and discuss with them how they can progress effectively to their target grade. This information is shared with parents, students and referring schools.
Trust academies and other commissioning schools are dependent on TSLA for accurate assessment information linked to the attainment and progress of their students. This is unique to the Alternative Provision sector and we provide regular and detailed feedback to each commissioning school regarding each learner following each of our 3 assessment points during the year.
We believe that this assessment structure is highly effective in changing and adapting to the challenges faced by a highly variable educational environment. We believe that this rigor, when applied to the work of our students, allows each student to make exceptional academic progress and supports students in transitioning successfully into post-16.