• To provide accurate data for KS3 targets
  • To bridge the gap between expectations and targets between KS2 and KS3
  • To use local history and independent study to challenge and motivate students

Background: There was frustration with the KS2 data which the department was receiving. This often led to some pupils feeling demoralised with their end of KS3 targets and teachers feeling instantly defensive about their ability to catch-up pupils to national average.

Method: Several members of staff liaised with Harlow Museum to arrange a series of workshops timetabled for the summer holidays. Resources from an old KS3 programme of study on the Romans were then used to devise a student workbook. The workbook was graduated, with Level 3 tasks at the beginning, moving on to an essay at the end to test extended writing and analysis.

The project was introduced to local feeder schools at a primary heads’ meeting; the idea was to start the project within the last few weeks of the summer term with pupils in Year 6 to get them motivated. The taster days for Year 6 pupils were used to introduce the project.

Progress was measured firstly through the qualitative data of teacher voice. The History Department found the projects invaluable for setting challenging targets in order to know from the outset which pupils needed help with literacy, handwriting and basic comprehension. The projects were shared with the rest of the school and were also very useful for tutors to see which pupils needed extra assistance in the mornings with different aspect of literacy. Progress was also measured by completing detailed data analysis of Year 7 pupils to see how many avoided a dip at the start of Year 7.

Photographs of prize-winning projects were taken for the school newsletter and all pupils who completed a project received a certificate. This proved an excellent early opportunity to celebrate pupils’ success.

Evidence: Pupil and staff surveys, assessment data.

Impact: The data showed that far fewer pupils dipped in the autumn term. The projects allowed staff to show pupils why expectations were realistic by making a direct comparison to the work completed prior to starting secondary school. Pupils were always very proud of their work and keen to discuss their project with other pupils, parents and teachers.

The percentage of pupils who met their end of Year 7 History targets increased over 3 years.

Reflections: A personal success has been to incorporate an extra assessment into our scheme of work so smoothly. All teachers have happily taken on the extra marking and given detailed feedback to pupils. There is still a big gap between projects, with some booklets demonstrating a lack of effort. This is difficult to manage as some pupils will inevitably be away on holiday and have less opportunity and support to complete the workbooks. It is important for pupils to see the work of their peers so that they can reflect on their own effort and think about the first impressions they wish to set upon starting at secondary school.

Contact: Jamie King, Subject Leader for History and RE