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.




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.

Special Educational Needs



Children in our classroom will all be different.



These are the ways in which our brains work in relation to learning, how ever people’s brains will still act differently. 

Children’s brains can be different due to many factors –

  • children’s genes
  • early experiences

Premature babies are twice as likely to have Social/Emotional/Mental health issue later. Children born in August are about 3 times more likely to below average in reading at 7 yrs. Families affected by deprivation on average hear 1537 words than middle class children. Children who have free meals are twice as likely not to reach expected standards in reading/maths at 11 yrs. Reference

The above are some early experiences that could impact why children’s brains are different, this is a research and may not be accurate with the children I work with.


Not all children who have difficulty with learning HAVE a learning difficulty. 

This mean we need to alter are teaching to support this child instead of  labelling their difficulties, as this is not being inclusive.

Categories of Support

  • SEN support – extra/different help that is different to what is provided in the school. This help may/may not come from a teacher/SENCO/outside specialist, the school should develop their own skills to support this child. The children will not have a statement/education, health or care plan.
  • Statement of SEN or Education Health and care (EHC) Plan – a formal assessment has taken place. a document that is in place to set out what support this child should have.


This is the common SEN you may see in schools – including percentages of how many children receive support or have a EHC plan.

SEN code of practice categories of need – 

  • Cognition and learning (SpLD)
  • Communication and Interaction/ Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health (ASD)
  • Sensory and/or physical (MLD)

Children will need to have a serve needs to receive a statement or a EHC plan. Children will not fit into one category. some children will have issues in more than one aspect, for example a child with communication needs may also have learning needs.

I have identified this when on PP1 when a child was on the Autistic Spectrum also struggled with hi learning, especially group activities.


Teachers should make creative adaptations to their practice to enable children with SEN to learn inclusively with their peers.

Schools – Staff will have additional training to enable them to assess pupils and oversee the delivery of support.

Identifying SEN – Some schools may use local services to provide professional support to staff or pupils.

Class Teachers – Pupils will receive inclusive teaching which is influence by the process of their learning. Teachers should have high expectations for all children and enable children to work at levels to challenged their abilities.

When on PP1 I as the trainee class teacher I supported a child in their work, ensuring plans  identified where this child needed extra support in activities, however still challenging their needs – can be seen in planning file. 

How do we do it? 

Assess – Plan – Do – Review 

  • Assess needs – specific
  • Plan differentiation to meet needs identifies
  • Carry out intervention/differentiation
  • Assess the impact, progress happened or refer to SENCO?

As a trainee class teacher it is necessary that I understand that I am teaching all children, using their needs to understand how to adapt teaching for them – TS 5. Also teachers will be learning everyday how to assess and support children with different needs.

It is important to focus on what the child can do not what they cannot do.


Needs I have encountered in the classroom are – Autistic Spectrum (had a EHC plan) also SEN support for children with needs of dyslexia and ADHD.



Characteristics that could be seen in children too identify needs







  • Teachers use well-judged and often imaginative teaching strategies
  • setting appropriate homework that, together with clearly directed and timely support and intervention
  • match individual needs accurately.
  • pupils learn exceptionally well across the curriculum

When n PP1 I used the strategies of support resources/support/context to support the child who has ASD needs.For instance, the child really enjoyed using Microsoft word and researching its history, one English session I incorporated a laptop for the children to use Microsoft to create their composition of a story.

TASK – Look through the plan to identify if the plan would differentiate for a child with the following characteristics.

  • A learner who has difficulty accessing written texts 
  • A learner who has difficulty matching phonemes to graphemes or holding the image of a word and reproducing it 
  • A learner who has difficulties with prediction/inference and imagination
  • A learner who becomes agitated and easily distracted if sitting for a long period
  • A learner who has difficulty holding and manipulating information


Here are our alterations we though would support a child with the above needs.






In relation to SEN and differentiation my SWOT is:

  • STRENGTHS – I believe that when on PP1, a strength I had was supporting a child with SEN to meet their needs as well as incorporating their preferences and interests. My class mentor made the comment that I have a strength when working with children with SEN and that is evident through working with this child and also when I have volunteered in lower years of the school in the past. I believe that I am strong in the area as I have had a lot of experience and have a high patient level. 
  • WEAKNESSES – A weakness I believe I have is ensuring my planning is differentiated and it meets all the children’s needs. I believe I can do this however, I would like to develop it further and become stronger in their area. 
  • OPPORTUNITIES – A target I would like to set myself for future practice is to proceed to differentiate my planned sessions. As well as this, I would like to work alongside a child closely with SEN to gain an understanding of their needs as well as their specific need (if have a EHC plan). 
  • THREATS – The barriers I may face with trying to meet my opportunities are the variety of needs I may have in the future, I may have no SEN children or all children may have learning difficulties.