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Paula Fretwell, head of St Margaret’s Infants in Medway, explains why she loves the Balance reactive classroom system.
“We now have a thorough understanding of assessment”
We use Balance because the philosophy is deeply rooted in well-researched and practised pedagogy and this matched what we are trying to achieve at St Margaret’s.
The team behind Balance is knowledgeable, dedicated and determined to provide a meaningful assessment resource, and they have absolutely achieved this. For the first time ever, we have a system that supports children with their learning while still providing school leaders with true and meaningful information.
“We look at what pupils have learnt and to what depth”
Rather than looking only at what children have been taught, Balance provides us with comprehensive information which has enabled us to develop a deeper understanding of the strengths and areas for development for our school.
We can obtain very detailed information for individual children, groups, classes, cohorts, whole schools and/or specific subjects. This has resulted in us being in a position to take more timely action and accurately target our resources.
“The impact on our pupils is phenomenal”
Alongside the introduction of Balance, we took the opportunity to question and refine our marking and feedback policies. The team behind Balance provides more than just the software. It also supported us with changes to policy and classroom practice.
Pupils now receive timely feedback that is more meaningful and on which they can immediately act.
Consequently, teachers are marking books less frequently (if at all), which previously, was having little or no impact on the children’s learning.
“It suits individual teachers’ preferences”
We no longer have a mad rush to input or complete data each term, which was making assessment a burdensome task for teachers. Depending on the subject or their preference, our teachers either make notes or use the Balance learning wheel either as close to the point of learning as possible or at the end of the week.
I have not seen a teacher leave with a bag of books for ages. Better still, they leave with a smile and a clear evening to spend with their families.
“Teachers are better supported to address learning needs”
Balance has supported us in reviewing our curriculum offer and matching this to the children’s learning needs. It has helped teachers to quickly identify exactly what the children already know and what the next step could be in their learning.
We love the interactive charts, which not only support teachers in their planning but are immensely useful as discussion points in progress meetings where we can all work together to celebrate and support each other. We just love it!
Balance is a formative assessment tool for primary schools that identifies exactly what children know and don’t know, and helps to inform their next steps for learning.
To find out more you can read about its inception in this Impact article (the journal of the Chartered College of teaching) and watch more videos on it here.
To book a demo, head to angelsolutions.co.uk/products/balance.
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