The Importance of Key Stage 3
The importance of a good start to a pupils’ secondary education is central to the work we do at St Thomas More. We firmly believe that by setting the right culture for learning at the start of a child’s secondary education we are laying the foundations for future examination success. We work very closely with our primary colleagues to ensure we have a clear understanding of our pupils’ achievements and build on these from day one. A key part of our curriculum at Key Stage 3 aims to develop pupils’ learning habits, this is referred to as STM Learning, it is here that we embed the habits that put our pupils in good stead for their future academic studies.
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is split into three modules across the academic year. Throughout each module pupils complete a minimum of two formal assessment tasks.
To see all of our departments’ long term curriculum planning and the set assessment tasks please select a year group:
In 2014 the Department for Education stated that, ‘assessment levels have now been removed and will not be replaced’. In place of National Curriculum Levels schools now have the freedom to develop their own means of assessing pupils’ progress towards end of key stage expectations.
In light of these recommendations we have reviewed our assessment procedures across Key Stage 3 and developed Progress Ladders for each subject area. These Progress Ladders are based on the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum, GCSE specification and our local curriculum design. Furthemore through links with our primary feeder schools we have ensured that the criteria and curriculum content is fully joined up between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
Progress Ladders are an integral part of teaching across Key Stage 3 and are used at the end of each module to enter a summative level for pupils. Our main aim when using Progress Ladders is to help pupils understand where they are, where they want to be and what they need to do to get there.
As a strategy to monitor progress and differentiate materials for pupils we ask staff to breakdown their assessment by using an a, b or c. This indicates the level of differentiation or scaffolding required to enable a pupil to work within the criteria of the given level. We break this down in the following way:
A – the pupil is working with autonomy
B – the pupil requires occasional scaffolding to access the material
C – the pupil requires significant scaffolding to access the material
As scaffolding is removed the sub-level awarded changes. When the class moves to a new topic, especially if it is one that is unfamiliar to the pupils, then it would not be unexpected for pupils who were autonomous in a level to require some scaffolding to get started, however it would be expected that pupils would return to autonomy very quickly.
There is an intrinsic link between departmental Progress Ladders and their curriculum planning ensuring that pupils are taught the precise skills they need to make rapid and sustained progress.
We ask parents to use Progress Ladders following each module to discuss their child’s progress and consider what they need to do to improve. By clicking on the subject links below you can access a copy of all Key Stage 3 Progress Ladders.