By Gail Gordon, Teaching Assistant – Assessment & Intervention at River Tyne Academy Gateshead

River Tyne Academy is an alternative provision setting based in Gateshead. It is part of the River Tees Multi-Academy Trust and currently has 117 students on roll. Gail Gordon, Teaching Assistant for Assessment & Intervention, explains below how the school has used GL Assessment’s Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) survey to help build a bigger picture of their students’ attitudes to learning.

Students who join River Tyne Academy will either have been permanently excluded from mainstream education or been referred to us by another school. Many of these students are in the care of the Local Authority, with 60% in receipt of Free School Meals and around 25% with Special Educational Needs. Students might stay with us for 6 weeks, 12 weeks, or an extended period depending on the school that refers them.

In 2019 we purchased GL Assessment’s Complete Digital Solution (CDS) package and we began rolling out these assessments with our students. At the time, we were not using any assessment to measure the emotional or wellbeing aspect of the students’ learning. We decided to take advantage of the PASS survey included with the CDS package and started using this with our Year 7-11 students.

They often found the survey interesting, since the questions were about them and their own experiences. The multiple-choice answers were also quicker and easier for the students to answer. We received a lot of useful information from their responses – such as their feelings about school, their attitudes to the teachers and their preparedness for learning.

The RAG rating in the PASS reports was particularly helpful for us to identify at-a-glance the students who required further support. It was surprising to see the number of excluded students with green ratings for their attitudes to teachers, as we might have expected their scores to be red. This gave us accurate evidence to demonstrate that their attitudes have improved since being referred to us.

By using the information from the PASS reports to build a bigger picture of our students, we could then put interventions in place to help reconnect them with the learning that they have missed. We used the suggested PASS Interventions to provide strategies for the students to use both inside and outside of the classroom.

PASS has helped our school in a massive way, as we are able to demonstrate to the teaching staff where their students’ attitudes currently sit and identify what we need to do as a team to make their learning experience as positive as possible.

River Tyne Academy Gateshead is one of our Advocate Partners