As many parents are aware the 2014 National Curriculum saw many changes to classroom practice. A new set of objectives were introduced for Key Stages One and Two in all subjects and alongside this saw the removal of levels as a form of assessment.
This change resulted in schools assessment procedures assessing pupils against the objectives set for their year group. For example a Year 2 pupil would no longer be expected to reach a Level 2B at the end of the Key Stage but instead be working to securely reach end of year expectations (Year 2 Secure). This meant that a child could no longer progress to a stage that was outside of their year group.
So what is greater depth?
In addition to the term end of year expectations, the term greater depth is now used to measure a pupil’s level of understanding. Achievement is now focussed on the depth of understanding of the areas taught. Alongside this, the ability to apply this understanding in a variety of contexts rather than moving on to something new.
Therefore more able pupils are no longer encouraged to move up to the learning being taught in the year above, but to now spend time ensuring that they have fully grasped the learning in their own year group and are able to explore this in variety of ways.
One analogy is that of exploring a house, you could quickly explore a large house by moving up floor to floor, however the house can be explored and experienced in far greater detail if you stop to explore the rooms on each level!
This means that pupils working at greater depth are expected to be able to…
- Apply their learning to different contexts, including other areas of the curriculum.
- Work independently.
- Apply their skills and knowledge consistently, confidently and fluently.
- Organise their ideas to make connections with other areas of learning.
- Use their ideas to help them work with new areas of learning.
- Clearly explain what they have been doing and why they know they are correct to others.
- Teach others what they have learned to enable them to learn too.
Therefore greater depth is not…
- Working on content from the next year group.
- Practising the same concept with bigger numbers.
- Reading a more challenging text.
How is greater depth taught?
Those more able pupils working at greater depth are provided with the opportunity to work at greater depth through carefully planned lessons and activities. Teachers will provide pupils with the time and opportunity to explore the learning objectives taught and will allow pupils the independence to apply their learning at a deeper level.
In summary, pupils need to be secure the national curriculum requirements for their year group. If these are secured quickly, the children will be given activities that will enable them to secure these requirements at greater depth.