Teaching for Mastery

‘A commitment that virtually ALL students can learn all important academic knowledge to a level of excellence if…

  • allowed the right amount of time to learn;
  • provided with the appropriate conditions to learn.’


Our Core Expectations

At The Purbeck School, curriculum and assessment will…

  • be based on our high expectations for all students.
  • be based on developing the key knowledge and skills required for success at the end of Y11.
  • be based on regular formative assessment that identifies students strengths and weaknesses, identifies where appropriate strategic intervention is required and allows all students to grow and be successful.
  • involve periodic summative assessments to support the regular formative feedback.
  • have consistent principles to be used across all subjects, but the flexibility to be suitable for all subjects.
  • be simple and easy to understand – for teachers, parents and students.


Curriculum: The Learning Journey

Each subject area has identified the core knowledge and skills that students will need to master in order to achieve long term success. The knowledge and skills should link to the National Curriculum programme of study. Each subject has used this to plan backwards with the curriculum for Y7 – Y11. They have also taken into account what students should already know and be able to apply from the KS1 and KS2 Primary National Curriculum.

We have scaffolded student progress towards excellence through our ‘thresholds’. These stepping stones will support teachers plan for progression and focus assessments on the key knowledge and skills. By giving regular tailored feedback on what needs mastering, students gain valuable insight on how to progress to the next threshold.

This learning journey highlights that the ‘Secure’ threshold represents the national expected standard in order for a student to progress from KS2 Level 4/Scaled Score 100 to GCSE Grade 5.


Tracking student achievement and progress

Using this learning journey, each student is assigned aspirational target grades based on their prior attainment and their potential. The Purbeck School regularly tracks and monitors every student’s achievements in order to recognise success and instigate rewards, but also to implement relevant intervention, when necessary, should concerns come to light. Once a term, The Purbeck School will report home vital information regarding each student.

In Y10/11, each student will receive a final GCSE Predicted Grade. This is the likely grade that they will achieve at the end of the course based on their current achievement, potential progress, any controlled assessments and current attitude to learning. In most subjects, this grade will be from 9 – 1. For some subjects, this grade will be from A* – G. This diagram shows a comparison between the new grading system and the old grading system.

In every year group, each teacher will track and monitor every student’s progress over the term. This will be categorised as:

Exceptional Progress
  • A student is making exceptional progress if they are acquiring knowledge and skills in the threshold above the one they are working towards.
Good Progress
  • A student is making good progress if they have acquired all of the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.
Expected Progress
  • A student is making expected progress if they have acquired most of the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.
Below Expected Progress
  • A student is making below expected progress if they are not acquiring the knowledge and skills in the threshold they have covered so far.

To support students develop in each subject, their teachers will assign one or two knowledge and skills descriptors as next steps that your child needs to work on.

The attitude to learning and effort a student puts into their study in lessons and at home is crucial to long term success. Teachers will assess a students effort using one of four categories.

  • Outstanding effort means being committed to getting the most out of all learning opportunities available. It is what all students should aim for.
  • Good effort means being a responsible and hardworking student who tries their best all of the time.
  • Effort that Requires Improvement means that a student is probably doing most of what they are supposed to do but is failing to push him or herself or make the most of the opportunities available.
  • Unsatisfactory effort means that a student needs support or intervention to become a more responsible learner

Further information regarding how teachers assess students formatively and summatively can be found in our Teaching, Learning and Assessment policy