The changing education landscape
Over the last 7 years, the UK education sector has been under substantial pressure to adapt to many political whims and fancies. This has included new programmes of study for schools in England, new curriculums for Wales and Scotland, changes to assessment in England and Scotland, the expansion of academies and free schools, changes to the EYFS Framework, and the reformation of a whole range of qualifications. All of this has come on top of real-term budget cuts, changes to teachers’ pay and conditions, and a national staffing crisis.
Most recently, The Rochford Review made recommendations which were designed to support the assessment of pupils working below the standard of National Curriculum tests at KS1 and KS2.
Key messages from “The Rochford Review: final report” state that schools need to:
- ensure that communication with families regarding progress is easy to understand and centres on the real achievements of the child,
- look at the holistic development of the whole child rather than focusing solely on their cognitive development, and
- assess the ‘engagement’ of the children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.
Somewhat surprisingly, I feel that these recommendations appear to be well thought out and of value to the children they are designed to help.
If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t look forward to the task of evidencing children’s achievements. I found it to be laborious and, in many cases, underappreciated and underutilised. Evidence is often stored in a variety of systems and different locations: written work stored in workbooks, post-it notes in folders and photographs on walls or the school server.
Working in a special school meant that many children didn’t create a large quantity of written work. Therefore my TAs and I spent a great deal of time taking photographs and recordings to help make judgements of current ability and to enable us to plan for next steps of learning. Sometimes evidence of extra-curricular experiences were shared with parents, but academic evidence had to remain in school, just in case OfSTED wanted to see it – they never did! Recordings were then copied onto DVDs and photographs were printed out and then cut and stuck into folders where they remained, sometimes never to be looked at again. What frustrated me most, was the fact that so much time and effort, from staff and children, went in to creating and presenting these records and the payoff was very limited!
Increased parental engagement with children’s learning massively improves their educational outcomes. Therefore settings need to be able to quickly and easily communicate with parents about their child’s progress, enabling families to be more involved in their child’s education. How many parents would have liked to see their child’s cognitive, social and emotional endeavours?
At B Squared, we speak to many frustrated teachers with the same issues. We knew that we needed to give staff the ability to view their evidence in a variety of ways that would allow them to showcase accomplishments, develop family engagement by sharing achievements and give staff powerful moderation capabilities to help them back up their judgements.
Evisense –manage your evidence the easy way
To address the above needs, we have developed Evisense, a new web-based platform that can help you meet the ongoing challenge of reliably evidencing children’s progress.
Evisense enables staff to ‘Tell the Story’ of a child’s time in education. It has been designed to showcase and share a child’s achievements and progress through photos, videos, audio files and documents. You can easily capture, securely store and selectively share evidence. This helps children, families and staff to track the learning journey from Early Years through Primary, Secondary and on to Further education.
Evidence is managed and can be linked to curriculum areas and assessment points, as well as filtered by group, child, subject or ability. This enables staff to make comparisons to support academic judgements for moderation purposes. Children can be empowered to add their own evidence, review and reflect on their work, and give feedback to their peers. Settings can choose to share evidence with families electronically or as a printed report.
To find out more about Evisense, please visit www.evisense.com.