Assessment – Balance

During my final placement I was given the opportunity to engage with Balance. It is an assessment tool which is interactive and promotes instant feedback for the children in class – a move away from distant marking!


When the Learning is set up and the lessons are being implemented the teacher will use the I-pad or an electronic device and balance the children 1-9. 

The numbers (1-9) are what the teachers use to assess the children and the children use to self assess. Each number will have a statement linked with it. Schools will have different statements for these but 9 will be ‘locked it’. This will mean the children feel secure with their learning or the teacher thinks the child is secure with the LO.  

It encourages children to instantly work on teacher feedback so they can progress from the assessment of the teacher in class– I took this on board and used this in sessions. The children where able to identify their misconceptions as soon as the teacher assessed and this meant they had an increased chance of learning. 

I used this within my planning and assessment with the children – asking them to balance and huddle their books at the end of lessons so I could decide who would need support the next session. I was also given the opportunity to attend Twilight sessions about Balance and these opened up the many ways the assessment tool can be used. 

It was a great opportunity which I thoroughly enjoyed learning and trying out. I believe this is an assessment tool which will help both children and teachers with their learning. As my final placement was only just starting to use the tool, I only got chance to use it in English and Maths but if the opportunity arose again it would be great to try this in other subjects. 


The Curriculum and Assessment in IOM

assessmentSince 2006 IOM schools have had no SATS, in either KS1 or KS2, as well as no OFSTED. This may lead to some questioning if education in IOM is ‘up to scratch’ compared to England. However, it is shown in academic results at the end of Primary and Secondary that children are achieving the same levels and grades.


For both Literacy and Mathematics to assess and track children’s learnign teachers use statements which are allocated into levels and are called ‘I can statements’. For example in mathematics an ‘I can’ statement in Level 2A is ‘I can describe and sort 2d shapes’. Schools in the IOM have the freedom to create their own documents and tracking grids to best suit their school and to follow these ‘I can’ statements.

Instead on OFSTED, schools are still inspected by the department for education but they are not graded and teachers are assessed alongside a personal reflection for the teachers themselves. I believe this is an interesting way of assessing schools and teachers because teachers will have to constantly reflect and set targets for their professional development. download

When schools are proving children’s learning and grades in both Literacy and Mathematics, teachers have to have a minimum of 4 pieces of evidence in that area, all with different dates as well as other evidence which is in other curriculum areas. For example, if a teacher is proving a child is a 2A for measure, the teacher will need 4 pieces of evidence from mathematics sessions over the year as well as other evidence in subjects such as Science to show the child can master that skill.

The evidence that is used to prove the child’s abilties does not have to be worksheets done by the children, it can be:

  • teachers notes
  • work books
  • summative tests/quiz’s
  • games
  • pupil comments
  • photographs (whiteboards)
  • models
  • in house moderation

This the builds a bank of support to prove that the child is able in that area.

I believe that this is an ideal way to assess and justify children’s learning, however, teachers need to know their children in more depth and teachers need to constantly be assessing and tracking progress.

As well as this, the Isle of Man have a curriculum which is embedded in many schools that readies children for life. They are called the 6R’s.

It is intended that as a result of experiencing the curriculum and the way it is delivered, young people will develop as individuals with:

  • Readiness
  • Relationships which are positive
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience
  • Remembering Skills
  • Reflectiveness

In the school I am in, they do not follow this exact curriculum due to the freedom schools have on the island. Therefore, my school have ‘Secrets to Success’ which are as follows:

Secrets to success

  • Understand others
  • Imagine
  • Improve
  • Don’t give up
  • Push Yourself
  • Concentrate
  • Try new things
  • Work Hard


During my first two weeks in an IOM school, I have learn a great deal about the way they assess and track progress of their children. Through first hand experience I have found these tactics easier in some aspects. For example, when tracking progress and identifying next steps for children it is much easier to identify what that is using the tracking/levelling format. On the other hand, I believe it could be seen as more work for teachers however, once this is learnt I believe it is equally as beneficial than England’s assessment and criteria.


I would like to continue to use the IOM tracking and assessment documents and reflect upon this at the end of the placement.

This information has supported and will continue to support my development in TS 2, 3, 5 and 6. TS2 and 6 because I am learning about assessment and progress in a different area. TS3 because I am learning about someone else’s curriculum and TS5 because I am adapting my teaching to meet the needs of the children who are following this curriculum. 

Isle of Man – First Reflection.

Following my first week in the Isle of Man placement, I have had much to reflect upon in relation to the school environment. 


I am currently in a Year 1/2 class, which is open planned with the other year 1/2 classes. In the middle of all of the classes there is a open middle area where continuous provision occurs daily.

Even though the children have time to choose their activities there is still structure and guidance given by teachers as they plan interesting and useful challenges weekly. These challenges like to the children previous work such as following interactions to make something which links to their english LO’s of the week or links to the topic for the term of ‘healthy me’.

The following images are the challenges for week 2 of my time at the setting.


The activities are introduced to the children on a Monday and children have the resources and knowledge to accomplish them. They are called challenges are children put their skills and knowledge learnt in class to the test by carrying out the challenges. This is the teachers meeting Teacher standard 1 and also Teacher Standard 2 by children taking responsibility for their work/learning.

As my placement progresses I would like to take responsibility in creating some of the challenges for the children as I believe it will support my development in structuring continuos provision as well as planning activities to challenge children. 

Another reflection regarding my first week in a Isle of Man school is the attitude the schools have towards children’s learning. After discussing and comparing with fellow trainees, we have all come to realise that the schools are vastly child based and orientated. The majority of the teaching, learning and atmosphere is based around the children’s likes and preferences.

Examples of this are:

  • Learning and work is based around their likes. For instance in Year 2 the children wanted to learn about their body so this was the topic for the next term
  • Children wanted to climb trees and make dens at play times, so rules and equipment were put into place.

As well as the learning, assessment is different in the Isle of man, as they do not fully follow the National Curriculum and use tracking tick grids to assess children. As well as this, levels are still used throughout the years and the grids are in levels when assessing. The children I am working with are at an average level 2C. However, as this is my first week I have not learnt a vast amount about this but assessment is a large area I would like to develop during my time here, so I intend to progress in this area. This will support my development in TS6. 

Due to the children’s learning styles and the difference in the schooling in the Isle of Man to England, I have had to adapt my teaching and responses to cater for the children. This is supporting my development in TS5 and I will continue to develop this throughout my teaching and planing. 

The Isle of Man Schooling allows the children to continue to be children whilst learning in a fun, creative way. This is the main reason I enjoy the school and teaching in the Isle of Man because it encourages the children to be enthusiastic about their learning and also increases enjoyment.


It is an opportunity to expand and improve your teaching

  • Immersion-  put children in a classroom that has full English speakers 
  • Bilingualism – the child is taught in their home language and withdrawn from a classroom.

Learn how much children know in their home language to assess and plan to teach in another language. 

Encourage children to become multi-lingual – do not learn English to only then speak this, learn so children can speak their home language AND English 


  • Simultaneous bilingualism – two or more languages are acquired before the age of three
  • Successive of sequential bilingualism – one language is established, a second is learned later
  • Additive bilingualism – the first language and culture associated with it continue to be developed and valued
  • Subtractive bilingualism – the second language is added at the expense of the first

Assess the child to identify what way they should/need be taught – immersion or scaffold their learning (bilingualism) – support them or presuming they are to be taught in an only english speaking environment  (immersion) 

  • Vocab is a key aspect which supports reading and english learning
  •  EAL children may have less vocab  
  • collocations ( words which are used in different ways to their meaning – dead body/ dead heavy ) may cause confusion in children. 

What stages are children at in their home language and new one and can they access the curriculum – questions to ask yourself when have EAL children.

Need to understand children’s background to ensure other needs (emotional + relationships) – to identify if need extra help – if children are refugees/migrants – be mindful of this 

Need to take into account a child’s background – refugees/migrants/all children in your environment – INCLUSION 

  • Teaching and learning about how to teach EAL will support other children in the same environment 
  • EAL children should not be put into low ability as their abilities may be different in their home language – middle ability to support all of their needs 
  • EAL is NOT problematic 
  • Not SEN it is additional needs 

Resources are beneficial when teaching EAL children – for example dual language book/schemes. 

EAL classroom video

Through the video I identified : Practical strategies that teacher usereasoning why practice is beneficial 

  • speech activities
  • mixed ability learningother children can support and share knowledge with EAL children
  • talk partners – similar to above reasoning 
  • one to one support 
  • drama – role play/hot seating 
  • talk for writingcan express their ideas through language and practice this
  • vocab, connective openers, punctuation 
  • gamesfun for children so may not identify they are not learning 
  • music 
  • timetabled time for this areaensuring development in this area is not forgotten. 
  • Modellingideal practice so children have a source to follow and see first hand how language used

Ways to support EAL linking school and home

  • Translate policies to parents so they still benefit from this documentation
  • invite to family groups and events so they can meet other who speak the same language
  • teachers practice the home language of these children 
  • Parents evenings with children present and provide longer time slots for this as communication may take longer 
  • celebrate the cultures of the children and religions – share experiences to show interest 

Many Key documents and legislation that relates to EAL 

All schools should have an EAL policy – these are generic and customised by schools – these policies should set out strategies for assessment/teaching/staff/resources

Following this I have reflected on the information obtained and I would like to set myself a target regarding this area. I would like to work alongside a child with EAL and observe the strategies that are used to support this child. I would also like to analyse and EAL policy to identify how schools write these and implement them.




Gifted and Talented

This post supports Teacher Standard 2 and 5. This is because by learning about gifted and talented then teachers are able to learn about children’s capabilities and adapt the environment to this.

More able – achieving or potential to achieve in advance if their peers in one or more academic area

Talented – achieving or potential to achieve in Adam e to their peers in music, art, sport of creative art

Many factors could effect a child’s talent – resources, curriculum timer, extra curricula time, parental influence, self esteem.

Transition – gifted and talented children may fail in the early years of high school.

**This relates to primary education because children may enter secondary school unaware of their talents and primary schools make the secondary schools aware of what the child is achieving, therefore the primary educators need to ensure children and schools are aware of the children’s talents to support the further development**

Failing G&T Because… 

  • lack of identification -unaware of pupils, teachers should know what their children are doing in their free time
  • Lack of collaboration – need to work with other educators especially secondary schools, higher ks2 should know and visit their next school
  • Misunderstanding of provision – what is done about their ability/talent challenged? 
This padlet page supports the understanding and ideas to challenge children in their able activity or talent. This can be used as a resource for myself for future practice. 

When on PP1A I encountered children who were talented in an area. This ranged from talents in football to drawing. I discovered these talent by getting to know the children and as a result of this, I was able to us this to support the development of their talents. For example the little boy who was talented in drawing struggled with writing. When science and foundation activities were planned, arts was incorporated so he could share what he has learnt through little words and drawings instead of struggling to express this through writing. This then supported his talent as he had opportunities to practice his talent. Following the reflection of this, I would like to progress my knowledge in understanding how to become inclusive with a focus on gifted and talented.

Higher order thinking skills in the classroom


higher-orderHigher order thinking skills gives the children the opportunity to discover and have access to varied and many thinking skills as possible. It supports them in gaining a range of strategies, finding thinking that suits them and helps children meet challenges.

I believe that children should be given the opportunity to experience higher order thinking skills as it will develop their learning and thinking throughout the curriculum. In relation to techniques which support children’s higher order thinking skills I like De Bono thinking hats. It supports children’s learning and directs their thinking in particular areas. When I am attending a school setting I would like to use this techniques in a session I am planning and delivering.



Closing the Gap


Children may be vulnerable for different reasons:

  • Exposed to the possibility of harm emotionally or physically
  • In need a special care, support or protection due to age or disability, risk of abuse

Children who show underachievement may be because:

  • doing less than expected in school work
  • low economic – late for school, care needs unmet, lack of motivation, lack of meals
  • children’s emotions- child may not be in a positive place, this may impact their learning.

Free School Meals (FSM) 

2013, all  children in KS1, no matter their circumstances, were entitled to free school meals. Some schools struggled to do this due to lack of amount of food and funds. This was put into place to support deprivation. This gap supported children who where vulnerable the most and there was a 2% increase in children’s targets due to FSM.

Education Endowment Foundation


An organisation which offers evidence which supports and identifies aspects of children’s learning, their attainment and closing the gap.

‘Parental involvement in learning may have wider benefits beyond boosting attainment outcomes, and it continues to be a priority for many schools.’

When I have been on practice, I have observed how parental influence can impact children’s learning. It was evident that children’s motivation and learning was influenced through parents and in some cases the children’s extrinsic motivation was the driver of this.

Pupil Premium 

An extra budget for schools who have a higher amount of children who have free school meals. As well as this, children who may be; in care, adopted, have a residency order, the school receive more of a budget. OFSTED will look into this when they visit schools to identify what the money is being spent on, to ensure it is spend on thcharacteristicse vulnerable children and a report should be done to evident this.

There is no guidance on how the schools should spend this mone
y, it is up to the teachers/school, however it does need to be evident on how the money has been spent. Therefore, teachers and schools will have to assess and know their children’s needs to support them appropriately. The Government say that the pupil premium is the best way to address the inequalities between FSM and wealthier families.

TASK – There are many ways in which the characteristics can be addressed and how the premium can be spent on the approaches.

ATTENDANCE/PUNCTUALITY breakfast clubs, coffee mornings, travel costs, walking bus, parent involvement.

PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT – parent support groups, texts home, parents part of the school website, involve parents in children’s learning.

MALNUTRITION/WEIGHT/HEALTH ISSUES – breakfast group, guest speaker, supermarket visits, wake and shake, healthy eating cooking clubs, work alongside parents, grow own veg/fruit – have in school,  start early so children understand nutrition.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – go-noodle, specialist coaches, walks around school/community/ school trips, teacher involvement, PE kits in school, new different equipment.

A key point is to ensure that the premium is spent on the needs of the children and also that the support in place makes the difference you would like to change.