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Case Study of an Independent School

Matt Koster-Marcon
Aug 18, 2017

Hyde Park School is an independent Preparatory school for children aged 3-11.

"We are co-educational and non-selective. We get to know every child in the school well, nurture them and build their knowledge and understanding so that when they leave us at 11 they are ready to begin their secondary education with enthusiasm and confidence. We are in the heart of London, engaging with the world-class museums, galleries, universities, parks and concert halls that are right on our doorstep: excellence, ambition and love of learning are in the air we breathe."

Patricia Watt is the Deputy Head at Hyde Park School

What prompted you to review your assessment structure?

We felt that our assessments were too examination focused and wanted to move to something which would enable us to assess the children in the classroom every day. While we wanted to keep examinations in place for Common Entrance preparation, we also felt that the percentage or grade at the end of a term wasn’t particularly helpful feedback for parents and wanted to invite parents to become much more involved in their children’s day to day learning journey.

What made you choose Learning Ladders as your assessment system?

A colleague from another school was using it and was very excited about it. She made me excited about it, too!

How did you get your teachers onboard?

It’s never an easy task to implement a new system. With new systems comes groundwork. We are very fortunate to be blessed with a set of brilliant teachers who will get their teeth stuck into anything that benefits the children. Initially, I asked the teachers to visit another school and listen to a talk about their Learning Ladders experience. We also had the Leaning Ladders team to come in and train the staff which was instrumental in getting us up and running.

How did you structure your curriculum?

The new assessment structure prompted the teachers to look at the targets their pupils should be reaching according to the new National Curriculum framework. In turn, this prompted the teachers to review their planning in Mathematics and English. We currently only use ladders for these two subjects.

What has the impact been on your pupils?

Pupils are much more aware of what they are working towards. Lessons are far more tailored to the needs of individual pupils. It has even been fed back from one of our teachers that the new assessment system has revolutionised their teaching!

What are the next steps for assessment at Hyde Park School?

We are just about to launch the Ladders at Home so that parents are fully aware of what their children are working towards. We have decided to make the assessments available to the parents. We will allow ourselves time to fully embed the system into our English and Mathematics planning and teaching and would consider using it in other subjects in the future. 

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