In our regular feature highlighting the work of members of the UK education suppliers’ trade body BESA, Education Today this month hears from CHRIS SCARTH, Founder, Classroom Monitor; and SIMON BLOWER, experienced Primary School leader and Co-founder of Pobble.

School success story: how to get a pupil tracker that truly

fits your school curriculum By CHRIS SCARTH, Founder, Classroom Monitor

The full impact of curriculum change can take a year or two to become clear. From lesson content and learning resources, to assessment and tracking – all of these can affect pupil outcomes in ways you might not expect.

National Curriculum 2014 also came with the end of levels as an assessment measure and the lack of prescribed objectives for formative assessment. Schools have had to find their own

replacement systems. But are these alternatives working in practice? At Classroom Monitor we work with around 2,500 schools, and we’ve found that many are now refining their assessment frameworks based on how teachers and learners have responded to it. We also talk to many schools who approach us with the same issue: they don’t have a tracking system that is both flexible enough to include the exact statements they need, whilst also supporting a suitable ‘scoring’ system to show progress. This was a problem experienced by staff at Walton-le-Dale Primary in Lancashire. Our team was able to help them find the right solution. Deputy Head Peter Richardson says: “The new curriculum means you need an assessment system to track every single objective. It has to be a very easy and manageable system, or you risk adopting a ‘best fit’ model that doesn’t work. Classroom Monitor has been an ideal solution for us. “Busy teachers are simply not going to get multiple documents out whenever they are making assessments. With Classroom Monitor, everything you need is right there. Simple. Quick. Easy. “It’s given us the core National Curriculum framework but has still given us the flexibility to make it match what we want. We’re not forced into doing things the way the assessment system has been set up to do, something some other companies require.”

Like many schools, Walton-le-Dale are using a combination of an ‘off- the-shelf’ assessment framework with their own adaptations to objectives and scoring: “We use the Rising Stars Progression Framework as it gives our staff support statements in making their judgements. We’ve also tweaked the scoring in core subjects, and the weighting in some strands, so we can do what’s right for the children and our School Development Plan.

“As our understanding has moved on over the last two years about what’s best in assessing the new curriculum, our use of Classroom Monitor has adjusted easily.”

The school also benefits from combining formative assessments with test results in Classroom Monitor. This gives a full picture of where strengths and weaknesses lie: “Classroom Monitor has several ways you can measure progress, and we have also integrated Hodder scores from PUMA and PIRA tests. This keeps all our assessments in one place and helps us look for trends.

“For example, we can ensure that children who are working ‘at greater depth’ aren’t slowly slipping towards ‘working at the expectation’. It’s also flexible enough to show progress for those that are ‘working below the expectation’.”

To see more about how Classroom Monitor can support your school curriculum and pupil tracking needs, visit

Chris Scarth is the founder of Classroom Monitor. Peter Richardson is the Deputy Head of Walton-le-Dale Primary, Lancs, and has been using Classroom Monitor for over 2 years.


Unleash your teaching superpowers!

Comment by SIMON BLOWER, Experienced Primary School leader and Co-founder of Pobble

If you’re a teacher, chances are you work incredibly hard, from planning lessons, to delivering them and assessing the work. In the process, you’re also working to get children fired up about their learning. No small feat! Perhaps Pobble can help: primary school teachers use it for all aspects of teaching writing.

Saving time planning

The Pobble platform saves teachers time. Teachers can find the best teaching resources from the top education providers to create awesome lessons. Pobble’s huge bank of writing can be used as lesson inspiration, up-levelling, guided reading and more. Work is searchable by age group, genre and topic. Writing your own WAGOLLs or struggling to find inspirational ideas will be a thing of the past. One of our most used resources, Pobble 365, offers a free daily picture to inspire pupils, with a ready-made writing prompt, grammar/SPaG activities, a ‘sick’ sentence to up-level, as well as some speaking and listening/philosophy questions.

“Year 5 love using Pobble365 as a starter activity in English! It gets the creative juices flowing!”

Making writing exciting

Teachers share children’s writing on Pobble to give pupils a global audience for their work. Class displays are a great start, but an audience of peers, parents and people from all over the world suddenly makes writing much more important to children. Feedback from this audience boosts their confidence and makes them want to write more often… and better!

“Pobble is a truly magnificent resource which has opened so many doors for our children, unlocking their writing potential and providing a global platform on which they can share their collective love for writing!”

Connecting communities

Being part of the Pobble global community makes it very easy for teachers to connect their class of young writers with other classes of children locally, nationally or even internationally. Beyond that, the wider school community can get involved too. Pobble gives parents, aunties, uncles, grans and granddads the opportunity to engage in a child’s learning journey. Genuine, constructive, positive feedback is a driving force towards becoming a better writer.

Making moderation easier

Finally, Pobble makes moderation easier, and assessment more reliable. The moderation tool allows teachers to annotate children’s writing alongside criteria of choice. Teachers share children’s writing with colleagues and moderators in their own school and beyond. Moderation aids the reliability of judgements and teachers’ confidence. It also provides an excellent trail of evidence that can be used to continuously support your young writers.

You can give Pobble a try for yourself by registering for free: Please contact for more information.

September 2017 Teacher, Redgate Primary School, Liverpool

Year 6 teacher, St. Peter's CofE Primary School, Leeds

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