Teachers tackle "Life beyond Levels" at Ark Helenswood Academy

Teachers from across the country joined staff and guest speakers at Ark Helenswood Academy this week to tackle ‘life beyond levels’ and the recent changes in primary and secondary assessment.

Teachers from as far away as Coventry came to Hastings to receive high-quality training on the changes, which have seen primary SATs replaced with scaled scores and a new 1-9 system instead of A*-G GCSE grades.

Secondary teachers at the event were led in a session on Ark's new assessment model by Ark Helenswood Vice Principal Chris Connor and a further session on the use of co-planning by Associate Principal Suzanne Harrison, while primary teachers learned how King Solomon Academy has managed the changes in assessment.

This was the latest in a series of free Ark CPD events, which are open to all teachers regardless of whether or not they work in an Ark school, and will shortly be followed by a further event at Ark St Alban’s Academy on teaching a new, no-coursework GCSE curriculum.

Trainee teacher Dion Ogbeiwi, said: “For me, the event was time really well spent. It made me reflect on my own practice and think about breaking down summative and formative assessments to use them as tools to enrich the learning experience for my students – not just a checklist to finish.”

Donna Ball, a teacher at a Sussex independent school, said: “I’m naturally quite inquisitive about how my colleagues in other schools are managing recent changes in the curriculum. It was nice to see the solutions Ark have in place for life after levels and I’m going to take back a real focus on the new 1-9 assessments to my own school.”

Teacher Alison Hill said: “The whole event was absolutely fantastic. It was really useful to have a different perspective on the challenges every school faces with changes to assessment – and real, practical solutions. The session on co-planning was brilliant – it’s a really helpful method for planning and developing schemes of work.”

Tickets for Ark's next free CPD event, “Embracing the change: teaching a no-coursework curriculum”, are available from Ark’s website. The event will be held at Ark St Alban’s, which is currently shortlisted for the TES Secondary School of the Year and STEM Team of the Year Awards.