Assessment at Northlands

After the Department for Education's introduction of Assessment without Levels and the new increased curriculum expectations prior to that, Northlands has embarked on an exciting journey that combines a new assessment system alongside a well-planned, gap analysed and thematic curriculum.


At Northlands we use the Primary Assertive Mentoring assessment and planning model -

improving achievement, consistency and teaching. 



Mentoring is more normally associated with secondary schools.  In primary schools it is less well-developed.  Where mentoring occurs it tends to be conducted by teaching assistants or support services and is perceived as being primarily pastoral in nature.  It is aimed at improving behaviour or supporting personal development, with little consideration of academic attainment, achievement or attitude.  In brief, mentoring is often a low level, low status activity; involving few children and fewer staff for limited periods and with limited results.


Assertive Mentoring is very different.  It involves all children and all staff, all of the time.  It is high status, driven by the leadership team and is the central activity to drive forward school improvement and pupil achievement.


Assertive Mentoring is a process rather than an activity.  It is a collective term for the key processes of a schools work.


Its key components are:

  • School Self Evaluation

  • Data analysis

  • School improvement planning

  • Target Setting: long, medium and short term

  • Pupil Tracking

  • Intervention and support systems

  • Performance Management systems


Its key outcomes are:

  • True Assessment for Learning

  • A personalised curriculum

  • Raised standards for all


It facilitates:

  • Continual and consistent assessment

  • Effective feedback to pupils and parents

  • Pupil and peer-assessment

  • Marking and feedback

  • Home-school partnerships


Collection of Systems:

Assertive Mentoring provides the vehicle for ensuring that these often separate entities are brought together and wrapped around the child.  The child remains central to the whole process throughout.


“The Assertive Mentoring system brings together many outstanding school systems together in one place,  It can form the basis of a focused, child centred collaborative approach based on a dialogue about the child’s present and future learning needs.  The system is outstanding and should have a significant impact upon the motivation and progress of pupils.”

(G. Downey SIP 2008)


Crucially, for Assertive Mentoring this information is shared with the child in an understandable and consistent format. It gives all stakeholders; teachers, managers, parents and pupils a framework which makes sense of these often unrelated activities and provides a focus on the individual child achieving their potential.

Assessment without Levels structures learning expectations using age related/year group expectations.


Instead of 'level 2' or 'level 4' pupils' attainment is now judged compared to the appropriate level for the age and stage (year group):

  • Stage 1 emerging: this means the child is moving into the Year 1 age related  level
  • Stage 1 developing: this means the child is developing their Year 1 age related level
  • Stage 1 secure: this means the child has secured all the Year 1 age related expectations, and ready for the next year group's curriculum objectives 
  • Stage 1 mastery: this means the child is working at a higher level, above the usual age related expectations


If a pupil moves through the stages securely meeting their age related expectations each year then they will have made good progress.