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Curriculum and assessment

The ACE partnership of schools (Ibstock Community College, Ivanhoe College, Newbridge High School, Castle Rock High School, Ashby School and King Edward VII College) have planned a curriculum and assessment model to ensure that all of our students are challenged and ensure they can make exceptional progress.

Our starting point was to ensure that our students made the best progress possible. As a result, this would mean that students in our partnership would make more effective progress than if our students had studied elsewhere. Our model is one based upon progression through key stages two, three, four and five, with high standards and assessments that ensure that students have a secure grasp of new and challenging concepts and knowledge.

Levels have now disappeared from many schools, on the basis that their use became unhelpful. Students were labelled by a level and it limited rather than enabled, levels were unable to give students or parents a deeper understanding of exactly what a student could do well and where they needed to improve and finally levels became shorthand for systems that did not allow students to access the most challenging materials and concepts.

At Ibstock we build our curriculum and assessment on the belief that with constant challenge and questioning, students are able to develop a secure understanding that means they can then explore concepts, applications and implications of their work.

All students at Ibstock are expected to become secure in their understanding. Our teachers set the challenges and no student is left behind. In addition, students have work modelled for them so they can see how their work matches the threshold and also how they can surpass that “secure” threshold.

Students are not given a level as a response to their work but formative feedback that understands how they can develop their work further.

Parents may wish to refer to the example of “Austin’s butterfly” which demonstrates very well how teachers can raise the expectations and outcomes for students through effective challenge and questioning.

Students have a clear understanding of whether their work matches the Ibstock threshold of "secure" for each subject and for each year. Any student who produces work below the “secure” level is supported through intervention to ensure that the work is revisited and the student is able to grasp the new concepts or knowledge. In addition, any student, whether at the higher or lower levels of attainment on entry to the school, dropping below their pathway threshold is supported to ensure that they achieve their best.


For parents and students the system is more straightforward. Students’ work will be graded at one of the pathways below. Students will immediately know whether their work meets their threshold and how they might improve.

On transfer to GCSE, schools work together to ensure the challenge continues so that the “secure” expectation is translated successfully to at least a grade 5 for GCSE outcomes.

Further details on the partnership work and the ACE Curriculum Framework can be found here.