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Our philosophy of assessment 

  • Assessment is integral to high quality teaching and learning. It helps us to ensure that our teaching is appropriate and that learners are making expected progress. 

  • All staff are regularly trained in our approach to assessment. 

  • We have a senior leader who is responsible for assessment, currently the headteacher. 

  • Assessment serves many purposes, but the main purpose of assessment in our school is to help teachers, parents and pupils plan their next steps in learning. 

  • We also use the outcomes of assessment to check and support our teaching standards and help us improve. 

  • Through working with other schools and using external tests and assessments, we compare our performance with that of other schools.

Our assessment system 

At Yew Tree Farm School we use B squared’s ‘Steps4Life’ to record formative and summative assessment data. 


“It is a holistic and practical assessment framework for learners to help them to prepare for adulthood. The framework covers academic skills, independence/life skills and employability skills.” - B squared


This enables us to 

  • assess pupils against academic frameworks alongside life skills that will help them be better learners on the farm and better prepared for moving on to a different educational setting.

  • record all progress, even small scale, that our students make, through the use of various assessment levels.

  • interpret individual progress, class progress and whole school progress easily and using a variety of different variables.

  • compare students to age related expectations in different subjects, including life skills.

  • clearly see student next steps and knowledge gaps, allowing for effective assessment for learning. 

  • assess pupils against assessment criteria, which are short, discrete, qualitative and concrete descriptions of what a pupil is expected to know and be able to do.

  • record assessment judgements using observations, records of work and testing.

Assessment judgements are moderated by colleagues in school to make sure our assessments are fair, reliable and valid. 

Day to day in school formative assessment 

Formative assessment takes place during learning and: 

  • assesses knowledge, skills and understanding 

  • identifies children’s strengths 

  • highlights gaps in learning 

  • tackles children’s misconceptions 

  • identifies the next steps in learning 

  • diagnoses need for support or intervention 

  • informs teacher planning and reporting.


 Types of formative assessment include: 

  • rich question and answer sessions during lessons 

  • marking of pupils’ work 

  • observational assessment 

  • regular short re-cap quizzes 

  • scanning work, from across the curriculum, for pupil attainment and development 

  • adult and peer feedback and responses 

  • child self-assessment, reflection on learning 

In school summative assessment 

In-school summative assessment sums up what a child has achieved over a period of time, relative to learning aims. The outcomes of in-school summative assessments support teachers in making rounded professional judgements on the attainment of a child at a particular time in specific subjects/subject areas. 


In-school, summative assessments inform teachers and senior leaders on attainment and progress within specific groups, classes, year groups and across school. 


Summative assessments are carried out at the end of each term and provide ratification of formative assessment. They take the form of written tests, observations, assessment tasks or photographs. 

Nationally standardised summative assessment 

The focus for our pupils at Yew Tree Farm School is to develop their wellbeing and self-esteem alongside learning. They often start at school below age related expectations due to gaps in education provision. We feel that it is of no benefit for our children to undertake nationally standardised summative assessments. We have very high expectations for teaching and learning and teachers are knowledgeable with regards to the standard for age related expectations for the age of the children they teach. 

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