Newsletter – May 2015
National Middle Schools Forum
keep you informed of latest developments:
1) The future for
assessment and benchmarking
is clear that we need to have in place a robust system that will enable school
to benchmark the attainment of pupils on entry to middle school, and
demonstrate the progress they make during their time in our schools now that
levels are being phased out. Members of the NMSF steering committee are due to
discuss the possibility of working in partnership with a national assessment provider
at our meeting on 10th June.
Linington (Roysia Middle School) current Chair of the Forum, and Nigel Wyatt met
with representatives of GL Assessment at the start of this term to explore
whether there would be financial and other advantages in working in partnership
with them. They appear to offer a package matching middle school needs -
tests spanning Year 4 to Year 8 (online or paper and pencil), with external
marking, which are matched to the new curriculum requirements.
2) Plans for Conference
Hotel, Stratford on Avon.
October to Tuesday 20th October, 2015
We are delighted that Sean Harford, Ofsted National
Director, Schools Policy, has agreed to speak at the conference this year.
Conference will also provide an opportunity to consider the future for
assessment and benchmarking in our schools.
Full details and booking forms will be sent
out in June.
3) Change of Age Range Proposals
Following the concerns expressed about the
impact of the School Organisation Regulations and Guidance on three tier
systems at our last conference, Zoe Linington and Nigel Wyatt raised these
issues at a meeting with DfE officials in January. At the meeting it was
acknowledged that some of the existing guidance has led to anomalies and the
Department has been working on a revision to the guidance which has been held
up by the general election. We now need to press the new Schools’ Minister,
Nick Gibb, to ensure this work is completed and the revised guidance adopted.
4) Recent Ofsted inspections
– feedback request
Recently I have assisted two schools in
making a complaint to Ofsted over inspections where the inspectors appear to
have ignored the guidance on middle school inspections. In these cases
inspectors appear to have been preoccupied by judgements based exclusively on
KS2 data, and failed to include a judgement about progress shown across the
school from Year 5 to Year 8.
In order to get a sense of whether these
are isolated cases, or the start of a worrying change of emphasis from Ofsted, it would be helpful if other recently inspected
middle schools would send me some brief feedback that I could then present to
our Steering Committee meeting on 10th June. Thank you.