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Fairfield Community Primary School

Rochdale Old Road, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 7SD

0161 764 1559

Assessment 2015 - Life Without Levels

In September 2014 a new National curriculum was introduced. From this September the government have introduced a new way of recording attainment. It has removed the old system of levels which worked as follows:


Old system










End of year exp. Level














 This system was confusing, especially in Y3 and Y5 where there was more than one end point. These expected levels no longer fit the much, much higher demands of the new National Curriculum (e.g. Y6 now learn maths and English concepts that were once aimed at 13 and 14 year olds ;  Y3 have to compare, order and subtract fractions using common denominators and all children have to know their tables up to 12x12 by the end of Y4).


Unfortunately schools have been left to themselves to replace the old system. Like most schools we are using a system of “Assessment without Levels” that is matched to the statements in the new National Curriculum. Each year is referred to as a “Band”.


Y1 = Band 1; Y2 = Band 2; Y3 = Band 3; Y4 = Band 4; Y5 = Band 5; Y6 = Band 6.


The system we use is more informative for parents than the old level system. If a child has some special needs and is working on national curriculum levels below their year group, then it can be instantly seen. E.g. A Y4 child with some difficulties could be working at Band 2.


The year “bands" are split into 6 “steps”.



The Six New Steps

Step 1

Beginning (b)

Step 2

Beginning (b+)

Step 3

Working within (w)

Step 4

Working within (w+)

Step 5

Secure  (s)

Step 6

Secure plus (s+) “Mastery”


The “expected” level would now be as follows:


New System







Autumn Term 

expected Band & Step


1b or 1b+


2b or 2b+


3b or 3b+


4b or 4b+


5b or 5b+


6b or 6b+

End of year

expected  Band & Step


1w+ or 1s


2w+ or 2s


3w+ or 3s


4w+ or 4s


5w+ or 5s


6w+ or 6s


Except in very rare cases where children are classified as “Gifted and Talented”, children do not go into the work for the year group (band) above.


Instead they deepen understanding and aim to achieve “mastery”. Children who are working at bands below their own year band will be receiving interventions and differentiated work to help them reach their own targets. 


Please note. National Expectations are now very high and so you may be surprised to find your child at a lower level than you expected based on the old levels. The attainment band you will find recorded for your child has been assessed using a mixture of teacher assessment and new tests.