Exams and Assessment

Assessment levels: A hard habit to break...

The DfE’s Commission on Assessment without Levels makes it clear – levels needed to go. However, replacing them isn’t proving to be easy. Suzanne O’Connell looks at the messages from the report and the difficulties schools are facing


What ingredients make for an effective test?

What elements make for an effective and reliable assessment? Test developer Catherine Kirkup outlines the key criteria that primary schools should consider when selecting their approaches to pupil assessment


Life after Levels: Stepping Stones

Schools have had to come up with their own solutions to life after levels. Continuing our case study articles, Jo Dormer and Joe Piatczanyn describe the Stepping Stones method that their school has devised


A discussion about levels

A recent roundtable discussion brought together school leaders from both the primary and secondary phases to discuss what works in a world without national curriculum levels. Graham Cooper was there


Life after Levels: FAQs

How have schools responded to the removal of national curriculum levels? Andrew Lifford answers some of the most common questions from school leaders on assessing without using levels


Assessment: Giving pupils the power

Headteacher Rachel Wells explains how her staff team have developed and implemented a new approach to assessment, encouraging pupils to play an active role in analysing their own progress, achievement and next steps for learning


Life after Levels: The next steps

Schools need to take the bull by the horns when planning for life after national curriculum levels. Mick Walker advises on some key next steps


Life after Levels: The key challenges

There are four very good reasons for removing national curriculum levels and five challenges facing us as we move forward. Chris Quigley offers a six-step route map to assessment reform



Now that levels have gone...

Former headteacher John Viner is working with schools to help them get to grips with life after the removal of levels.


Choosing your Baseline Assessment

Schools are being urged to sign up for one of the new Reception Baseline Assessment schemes before September. Katharine Bailey offers a few criteria to consider when making your decision


The principles of effective assessment

The NFER has worked with hundreds of schools and thousands of pupils to develop its Reception Baseline Assessment. Catherine Kirkup and Marian Sainsbury look at some of the principles of effective assessment that have emerged


NFER Research Insights 2015

Headteacher Update's Research Insights articles, published in conjunction with the NFER, offer in-depth, evidence based advice, guidance and best practice covering a wide range of areas relevant to primary school leadership and education. Download the latest articles from 2015 and 2014 for free ...


Helping pupils to handle anxiety and stress

The pressure that our primary school children can face as they grow-up is increasingly being recognised as something that schools must play a part in tackling. Sal McKeown reports from two schools in Coventry which are using different approaches.


Ensuring consistent assessment approaches

Faced with an inconsistent approach to assessment strategies, tests and tracking methods across the school, deputy headteacher Amelia Nelson set out to turn things around. She explains how.


Avoiding the transition dip

The transition dip is a well-known and ongoing problem in our education system. Primary head Anna Traer-Goffe reports on a transition programme undertaken with their partner secondary school and some of the lessons they have learnt.


The new reception baseline assessment

In March 2014, the Department for Education announced plans to introduce a baseline assessment for all children at the start of reception. Catherine Kirkup, from NFER’s Centre for Assessment, answers some of the big questions that schools have been asking


Saying goodbye to levels

Will Millard explores some of the new approaches schools are devising to replace curriculum levels


Weighing up the assessment revolution

You could be forgiven for feeling a little dizzy with all the changes to assessment policy and practice, not least the removal of levels. The NFER’s Liz Twist offers a summary of the changes to date and advice on handling the new assessment regime


Assessment – what we know so far

Deciphering the new assessment and accountability requirements for primary schools is no small challenge. Camilla Erskine and Sue Walton discuss what is proposed and what it means for schools


Preparing for English and mathematics

We’ve left the basics until last. In the final article in our series on preparing for the new curriculum, Suzanne O’Connell focuses on the national curriculum for English and maths and the advice available for those gearing up for September 2014


Are you ready for life after levels?

‘Levels’ and ‘sub-levels’ are key vocabulary in staffroom discourse. What will happen when this established method of assessing pupil progress is removed from the primary school glossary? Suzanne O’Connell investigates.


Creative approaches to literacy and the SPAG tests

Will the new spelling, punctuation and grammar tests produce an assembly line of rote-learning at the expense of creativity? Alison Wilcox looks at how we can tackle the tests, but still engage our pupils


Case study: Supporting transition

Using its Pupil Premium funding, Frederick Bird School has engaged the services of clinical and educational psychologists as part of its work to help prepare their year 6 pupils for transition to secondary school. Headteacher Christine Lockwood explains


Raising the primary standards bar, again

Just when schools thought they were safe, the floor standards have been raised again. Suzanne O’Connell looks at what the new expectations will mean for primary schools

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