Assessment at the Oaks Secondary School

In 2014 the Government asked schools to look at new ways of assessing pupils. Subject teachers working across generic Special Schools in County Durham worked together to determine what we wanted to assess and how that assessment should look. The new assessment needed to take into account the varied and diverse needs of the students in our care. An online assessment programme called Progression was devised.

In September 2019, The Oaks Secondary School began using Progression after previously using B Squared. The program caters for all pupils’ subject areas in year 7 to year 11 (Technology and Religious Education will continue to use the old assessment descriptors as they are currently being developed). It allows us to track the progress of pupils who follow the different curriculum pathways.

Year 7 pupils are baselined in all subject areas during the autumn term. All pupils are assessed on a termly basis. Progress of class and individual groups are discussed by class teachers, assessment co-ordinators and the senior leadership team to support the school to make informed decisions in regard to EHCP outcomes, short and long term planning within the classroom, additional interventions and delivery of Key Stage 4 option choices.  Individual outcomes and targets are set and reviewed during EHCP Meetings. My Plan targets are shared with the pupils and sent home on a termly basis.

Your child will be given personalised termly targets in each subject, which is located in their exercise books/files.  These targets are used as part of the EHCP outcomes for your child.


New Assessment Program

The new assessment program uses different assessment criteria to indicate your child’s academic progress. Instead of using P Scales and National Curriculum levels we now use Pre Steps and Steps. There are 10 Pre-Steps; pupils working cognitively between birth to 60 months are assessed against these descriptors. Progressing on from Pre-Step 10, pupils move onto Steps 1 to 9, continuing onto Foundation/GCSE assessment.  We have been working closely with the Primary and Secondary National Curriculums to ensure progression and continuity. To put this into context, Step 1 is the equivalent to Year 1 and Step 6 is the equivalent to Year 6. The majority of the subjects follow this pattern. However, there are differences within the English. Step 3 assesses against Years 3 and 4 and Step 4 against Years 5 and 6. This is due to the English having upper and lower Key Stage descriptors.

We have also introduced a new APP called Evidence for Learning. This enables us to assess against any curriculum framework including any of the school’s custom-built frameworks. Teachers in Discrete ASC, PMLD and static SLD classes use this APP to evidence, assess and track progress against individual targets relating to the pupils’ EHCP targets. The APP automatically links evidence, achievements, outcomes and judgements. Teachers can use this programme to record the pupils’ work, achievements and progress, as well as using it as an assessment tool.  The APP captures pupils’ experiences and development of skills and knowledge. We can use a variety of assessment descriptors from the Progression assessment, SCERTS and the National Curriculum to highlight pupil achievement.

The pupils who follow a non-subject specific curriculum are assessed using Pre-Steps 1 to 4. Pupils who follow the semi-formal curriculum are assessed using Pre-Step 4 to Step 1. Pupils who follow the National Curriculum Pathways are assessed against Steps 1 to 9, progressing onto Foundation and GCSE levels.


P Scale 1 Pre-Step 1
P Scale 2 Pre-step 2
P Scale 3 Pre-step 3
P Scale 4 Pre-step 4
P Scale 5 Pre-step 5
P Scale 6 Pre-step 6
P Scale 7 Pre-step 7
P Scale 8 Pre-step 8
Early Learning Goals Pre-step 9 / Pre-step 10
Year 1 Step 1
Year 2 Step 2
Year 3 Step 3
Year 4 Step 4
Year 5 Step 5
Year 6 Step 6
Year 7 Step 7
Year 8 Step 8
Year 9 Step 9
Foundation (GCSE)
Higher (GCSE)