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. 


My first day in Nursery (as a volunteer)

I have decided to spend a few weeks of my time spending a morning a week in a local community nursery.  I will be able to observe and learn first hand how schools work with children under 5. This will be a great experience for my Minor specialism, Early Years Foundation.

On my first day at nursery, the children all entered the building and were helped to hang their coats up. After this I supported the children in finding their name to stick on the register board. Then the children were allowed to free flow play. This is where children are allowed to play with what they desire and how they like. This supports the children’s imagination and also shows the teachers what the children prefer to play with.

During this time the teachers used a website called ‘Tapestry”. This is similar to a learning journal where teachers record and observe children’s involvement and days happenings. Their parents can see this straight away and like/comment on the posts. I prefer this for the EYFS as it is very interactive and assessment is carried out informally at this age.



After this we all went outside to play and explore. The children chose what to play with and where. After a while of playing with the children, a child came over and gave me some conkers. She was then asking questions and very interested about the tree it came from, this linking to the EYFS curriculum section of understanding the world, and science! (My Major Specialism).



As the children played outside the teacher chose individuals to take inside to assess their colour knowledge as well as their well being. As it is the start of the term there are a lot of children who are unsettled because it is their first time being away from a parent. This shows that assessment can also be done formally, however not as formal as a test in higher years.

Finally we all gathered in the classroom for snack. Following this the children were engaged in an interactive maths game on the board. This involved the teacher showing a animation of sea creatures and asking the children to count them, the highest number was 5. Then the Teacher was able to ask a specific child how many of that animal there were and the children would go to the interactive white board and click the number.

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.

Race, Ethnicity and Education

Deficit theory argues that students who differ from the norm in a significant way should be considered different

BME (Black Minority Ethnic) – non-white communities in UK 

David Harewood Documentary – “Will Britain ever have a black President?”

  • 45% of Afro-Caribbean children grow up in poverty – 25% white children.
  • By the age of 5 those children identified above will be one year behind their wealthy counterparts in terms of their vocabulary – position of deficit.
  • Children who are Black will work twice as hard because education is seen as an escape route – away from poverty and not in a disadvantages (Burgees, 2013) 
  • Black children are underachieving in primary school and there is a decline in KS2 (statistics from documentary)




How we respond to our opinions and discussions regarding race, ethnicity and cultural diversity we show our own position. Position determined by our own race. Our positionality can be influenced by others. 

Firstly acknowledge out own race to then determine how we express our views and actions regarding this area. 

Unconscious bias – stereotypes can influence this and we can have an opinion unknowingly due to believing this information. This can then influence racism and could be highly resistant to change. 

We can gravitate to people who are like ourselves and this forms opinions.


…is Manifestation of hatred towards someone who has different characteristics to our own (Todorow, 2009)

  • Institutional racism failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional service for people who are deemed different due to their characteristics – BME 
  • We have to acknowledge racism and institutional racism to change the procedures around this for example practice/policy. 

What can you do as a teacher/educator?

  • Cannot assess through looking at a collection of people because you cannot identify if someone is from a BME background. 
  • get to know children on a personal basis – meeting their individual needs 
  • talk about families with pupils 
  • Deal with incidents because we have a duty to acknowledge and deal with this 
  • acknowledge children’s awareness of racism in the community – PSHE/ the news 
  • Follow ‘race equality policy’ all schools should have one 
  • Behaviour policy to also be followed in regards to bullying as this policy and the above work collaboratively. 
  • recognise when yours or other comments are racist or not


Pyramid of hate 



Criminal – first 2



Civil – middle 



Non-criminal incident – bottom 2 





Dealing with Racism in Schools 

  • SRTRC (2011) say…
  • some teacher struggle to do this as they are unaware of how to do this 
  • reporting criminal offences was seen as unintentional 
  • alternative measures and opinions regarding the definition and classification of levels of racism

Racism incident is… 

any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’

When a racism incident is seen the following should be done…

  • Record the incident using forms which should be within the educational setting – linking to policies and procedures. 
  • the reporting forms are sent to the local authority and collated 


All schools will be different in the policies and approaches when dealing and teaching race, ethnicity. Become knowledgeable of these procedures so if incidents occur you are aware of what is to be done. 

Everyday Practice:

  • Challenge the discriminatory attitudes or behaviour, rather than the person.
  • Expect tension and conflict and learn to manage it
  • Be aware of your own attitudes, stereotypes and expectations
  • Actively listen to and learn from others’ experiences
  • Use language and behaviour that is non-biased and inclusive
  • Provide accurate information to challenge stereotypes and biases
  • Acknowledge diversity and avoid stereotypical thinking
  • Be aware of your own hesitancies – be awarre of what makes you feel uncomfortable and challenge this 
  • Project a feeling of understanding, respect and support
  • Establish standards of responsibility and behaviour working collectively with others


I have learnt through this session and lecture how to deal with racism in a school setting and how there are many levels of racism as well as areas which influence people views.

I believe, from reflection, that children of a young age may be influenced through external sources or their environment regarding behaviour and racism. A link to this would be Bandura and Bobo Doll experiment and theory, this being where children behave in a particular way as they see others, adults, acting in this way and they deem to believe this is appropriate. Therefore, if a child experiences racism they may not have the knowledge or understanding to classify if this is correct or not.

Lander and Knowles (2015) indicate from research that children should be taught throughout the curriculum the impact and information regarding racism, diversity and stereotypes. I also believe this is beneficial so children can then identify what their beliefs are. However, the educator who leads these sessions needs to ensure it is an unbiased session and they acknowledge their opinions beforehand so they can then be dealt with accordingly.

Following this I would like to develop my practice in relation to race and ethnicity by looking at appropriate policies in my next setting. This is because I believe children should have an equal knowledge about this area to form their own opinion and also acknowledge their own race.  




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. 





Two types of assessment in schools – summarise and formative assessment.

Levels for assessment were a generalised label  and Gibb (2015) seen them as milestones in children’s learning and teachers were encouraged to ensure children were moving up levels every half term. I feel this is not an accurate way of assessment as not all children have a great increase in development each half term.

Formative assessment can have a great impact on children’s learning, manly on lower achieving children (Inside the black box, 1998). I can compare to this because when on practice I assessed lower achievers more when working with this group to clarify there understanding befor moving on.

Schools are focusing on summative assessment more due to the influence of OFSTED, they also rely on this form of assessment more to support teaching. I believe that schools use summative assessment as a focal point to teach instead of formativly assessing children as they are learning.
Visible learning – Looked at many aspects of teaching and feedback from teachers had the greatest impact on children’s learning

Analyse the children’s progression to understand where they are, where you want them to be and to plan the road they should follow.

What is the most difficult aspect off assessing children, where they are; at, going or how?

The hardest section is AT. This is because children’s learning is continuous. Therefore, on my next placement when identifying where children are at, I will carry out various tasks to discover this, for example: observations, discussion with the class teacher or children. I believe that for myself, it is difficult to assess where children are at because I do not have the opportunity to assess children throughout a year as I don’t have much prior knowledge.

This can be seen as a good form of assessment but it has its limitations:

  • Not critical enough – teachers need to teach children how to be critical
  • Children will choose there friends
  • Hard to ask for help – therefore the children will tell the teacher they are learning however they are struggling
  • Group work – teachers need to show children how to use group work affectively a way of formatively assessing children and also collating and using data from the children – print off cards and use a device to collate the data.

FEEDBACK LOOP – the more the teacher feedback given to the children the more it will impact their learning. Ensure the children use the feedback appropriately.

Following this lecture I have set myself the target of ensuring I assess in depth when next working with children to ensuring my planning and teaching support the children’s development. 



An approach which is a creative indirect way of planning and teaching.
It is from the theorists of experimental learning. It is an approach which is supported by Vygotsky due to the social and thinking characteristics. The thinking hats are self explanatory and consists of children thinking in different ways to collaborate ideas socially.


  • Blue hats – this hat leads the group, opportunities to talk and also summarise the main points
  • Red hats – expressing feelings and emotions
  • White hats – focuses on the information and facts and how they will use these
  • Yellow hats – positive aspects of the circumstance. Values and what is good about the problem
  • Black hats – judge who look for the disadvantages of the problem, not the negatives but implications that may occur
  • Green hats – think of alternative ways to solve a problem

I would like to use this approach as I believe it supports children in their thinking skills. A way that I reflected on this approach is via using it.

  • RED- I like this approach because it supports organisational thinking which decreases stress levels
  • WHITE – I will use this approach when teaching children for example when the children are assessing their work.
  • YELLOW – The positives of this approach is it supports children in ensuring they think ab out may different aspects of a subject and also encourages them to think deeper.
  • BLACK – I believe this approach may cause limitations for children such as going of task due to group work but this then encourages the teacher to scaffold the children’s learning more.
  • GREEN a way to make this approach more creative is to ensure it is an interactive way of thinking. Hot seating could be introduced to make this approach more interactive.