Responding to Children’s Learning

Expectations of Setting Out, Recording Work and Responding to Children’s Learning 


Guidelines for Early Years



Most observations are done during PAL time (child initiated play) and are text based with an accompanying photo or video.

Observations will usually be of the following:

  • An observation of skills, knowledge or language which was seen or heard by an adult.
  • An observation, sometimes as above, but with the addition of an adult interaction also being recorded to show enhancement of learning or the ‘teachable moment’.

Throughout the year children will be observed in the following ways:

  • Focus weeks:
  • 10% of the class (usually 3 children) will be chosen each week.  This is called their focus week.  Each child will have one focus week a term, totalling three focus weeks by the end of the year.
  • During the focus week the identified children will be the main focus for observations – what they are doing/accessing, how they are learning and how they are interacting with others.
  • Prior to a child’s focus week, a letter is sent home to parents informing them of the upcoming focus week.  This letter gives parents the opportunity to contribute any information or ideas about their children at this point in the year.
  • Ad Hoc and Wow Moment Observations:
  • Alongside the focus children all adults should be recording general observations on any of the other children, particularly when something of interest is seen or heard.
  • A guide is that each child should have at least one observation each month or 5 across a term in a range of areas of learning.

For all observations undertaken an adult must decide whether to observe without intervention or to interact and engage.  Adults must consider how their involvement will impact on the learning taking place, for example will it halt, redirect or enhance the learning?


Tapestry (Online Learning Journals)


In Early Years we use an online learning journal called Tapestry.  This is where all observations of the children are created, uploaded and published.  Observations using Tapestry are created by any of the Early Years team, all of which have access to the system via a device where the app has been downloaded to (I-Pads).   Before publishing, observations will be checked and approved by the class teacher or phase leader if necessary.  Once published, parents are able to access and view their own child’s learning journal online.  Parents have continual access to Tapestry via the internet or app on a mobile device.  They are able to view and comment on observations made in school and also have the opportunity to add their own photos, videos and observations at home.

Observations can also have learning outcomes, characteristics of learning and Leuven scales attached to them to form part of the EYFS ongoing assessment.  These assessments are not viewable by parents.




Guidelines for Key Stage 1 and 2


Key Stage 1



  • In Year 1 the learning is dated by the teacher when it is marked. Some children will date their work if they are able to do so.
  • By the summer term, all children will be writing the short date in their books.
  • In Year 2 the children will write the short date themselves and during the year they will be taught to fold their page in half.
  • When Ginn Abacus books are used it will be recorded like this;

A3 Bk1 P.67 (Abacus 3 book 1 page 67)

  • Activity sheets will either be glued in books or be referred to by a WALT in the books, then filed in individual folders.
  • Photographs should be used to show evidence of practical activities.
  • Written comments by the teacher are linked to the WALT and WILF which may be written on a flip chart, Smart board or given orally.

E.g. ‘Remember to write one number in each square’

  • Oral feedback is given to the children and written as VF in their books.
  • Mistakes are circled or a dot is put next to them. A tick with a ‘C’ is given to show that the new working out/answer is correct.
  • Learning with an LSA is usually marked by the LSA and signed by them.
  • In Year 1 and 2 the colour pink is used to show positive comments and green for next steps, which may be corrections at this early stage of learning.



  • In Year 1 the learning is dated by the teacher when marked, although some children will be able to write the date.
  • By the summer term all the children will be writing part/all of the long date. E.g. 18th July or Monday 18th July
  • In year 2 the children will be expected to write the long date in full. E.g. Monday 18th July
  • In K.S. 1 all children will be taught and encouraged to use the cursive script. In Year 1this will happen at the end of the Spring term/beginning of the Summer term.
  • Photographs should be used to show evidence of different aspects of learning. E.g. drama, performance poetry…
  • Written comments by the teacher must reflect the WALT and WILF which are written on the flipchart, Smartboard or shared verbally.
  • Oral feedback is also given and written as VF in their books.
  • In Year 2 self and assessment is introduced.
  • Learning with an LSA is usually marked by the LSA and signed by them.
  • In Year 2 any common, mis-spelt HFWs are underlined in red and written at the end of a piece of work. The word/s is then written out 3x by the child.


Science / Topic Work (History, Geography, R.E. and P.S.H.E.)

  • All learning is recorded in a topic book.
  • In Year 1 the short date will be written when the work is marked by the teacher.
  • In Year 2 the children will write the short date themselves.
  • Photographs should be used and annotated to show group/practical activities.
  • Written comments reflect the WALT and WILF which are written on the flipchart, Smart board or shared verbally.
  • Oral feedback is also given and will be written as VF in their books.


Guided Reading

  • In year 2 this takes place every day for three weeks with the following two weeks left to hear individual readers. In year 1group reading takes place every week for 2 weeks and then individual reading for 2 weeks.
  • Individual reading records are signed by the teacher together with a comment relating to their reading ability/target. For guided reading, the teacher write GR and signs their initials.
  • In Year 2 children will complete written comprehension and each group will have their work monitored and marked weekly. The short date will be written by the children at the beginning of each week.
  • In Year 2 Rainbow Spelling is done once a week as a guided reading activity; the children reflect on three recent, corrected spellings, which they write out 5x each in a different colour. They then write a sentence using each word. This sentence will also reflect their current target eg. Using adjectives



  • In all the different curriculum areas children’s own work will be celebrated and used for modelling and building on for further learning.
  • Any coloured pens can be used to mark children’s learning, except green, red and pink. Green=next steps Red=reflection pink=tickled pink (positive comment)


Key Stage 2



  • All children will short date their work and fold their page in half, if appropriate, working across the page.
  • Children in Year 3 may draw the WALT and sometimes the WILF, copying from the Smart board or flip chart. Children in the other years will write the WALT and be told the WILF verbally, occasionally recording it when appropriate.
  • All children when working from a textbook will record the book. E.g. Abacus 6, book 1, page 27 will be; A6.1 p.27 Children may be required to write Challenge 1 to match work on the board and correlate with planning.
  • If sheets are used the maths book will still have a date and WALT with the teacher/child recording, ‘See sheet in file.’ The same can happen when involved in practical activities, with perhaps a photograph to show the learning.
  • All comments will be written and should be linked to the WALT and or WILF or about presentation of work.
  • There should be next steps comments, indicated by a staircase at least once or twice a week and definitely at the end of a topic. These should be preceded with a star/tick and a positive comment
  • Children will be encouraged to use the traffic light system by the WALT or at the bottom of the work, indicating how they felt they had understood or worked in the lesson, with sometimes a green pen comment at the end to explain the colour chosen. This sets up a dialogue with the teacher being able to focus their own comment or to speak with the child the following lesson.
  • Mistakes are indicated by a circle or dot next to the sum. A tick with a ‘C’ is given to show that a correction has been marked. If whole sums are incorrect it may be necessary for the child to write ‘corrections’ and set the sum(s) out again.
  • Where children are self-marking, they should still use the above system (using a green pen) to indicate a mistake. Where lots of sums are incorrect the child should then talk to the teacher before continuing/correcting.
  • If there is half page or more to use, work should be ruled off. If not a new page will be started.
  • All lines must be drawn with a ruler.



  • In the ‘Becoming a Writer’ books all children will write the full date and the WALT, with Year 3 drawing the WALT if appropriate.
  • All books must have the ‘learning journey’ stuck in the inside of the red cover of the book.
  • All children must use the cursive script and it may be necessary to practise this in handwriting books.
  • A variety of ways of planning should be experienced and if plain paper is used for drawing it should be done on slightly smaller than A4or A5 so that it can be stuck in the books flat.
  • Green pens must be used for self and peer assessment and there are various response sheets that can be used or adapted.
  • For each topic/theme covered there must be evidence of at least one in-depth piece of marking with next steps identified and at least one peer/self-response.
  • There should be photographic evidence for practical topics such as drama and performance poetry.
  • If work is elsewhere this should be explicit in the writing books either through the writing journey that the teacher may have copied for each child at the start of a topic or a printed sticker or the children writing an explanation. E.g. see final draft in History books.
  • Teacher comments and peer comments must reflect the WALT and WILF. Children will need to have appropriate responses modelled.



  • Each book should have the 2 sheets about ‘Being a Scientist stuck in the inside of the cover back and front. Refer to these with the children at the beginning of the year and at the start of lessons as necessary.
  • All books will need to have drawn margins on the lined sides and these pages are used for writing.
  • Sheets, drawings, diagrams and photographs should be stuck on the plain pages.
  • The children will short date their work and record the WALT. However, the WALT and WILF may be printed out by the teacher and stuck in.
  • All work must be marked and comments made refer to the WALT or a specific skill associated with ‘being a scientist’ E.g. ‘the questions you asked today show you are really inquisitive about this topic.’
  • Green pens should be used to evaluate the child’s own work or ask the teacher a question about the work. Each half term/term it would be good to do an assessment sheet and for the children to identify and area to improve.

Reciprocal Reading

  • This takes place daily for a block of three weeks, with the following two weeks left for individual readers.
  • There are various activities for the children not involved in reading with the teacher and these are done on sheets, in handwriting books or topic books. Work is marked before it is filed or stuck in books. There may also be an element of self-marking.



  • All marking can be in any colour apart from green (this is the pupil pen).
  • Marking should reflect aspects of the child’s good learning, focussing on our 6Rs etc, as well as the WALT and WILF.
  • All work in History, Geography and Becoming a Responsible Citizen must be marked, before the children stick it in their books. Fine liners, gel pens etc may be appropriate to use in these books so that the work is very creative and unique. Encourage different ways to present their finished piece of work. Avoid lots of colouring in thick felt pens or writing in bright colours that can’t be seen.
  • A homework list must be on the wall in each classroom so that a system of ‘ticking off’ and ‘chasing’ is established. Homework given out on a Friday is due in by Wednesday. Children need to take homework home in their own folder and bring it back in the folder. Teachers should mark this work and respond as necessary or follow up in the relevant lesson. The work is then given back within a week to be stuck in or filed. Homework should reflect different subjects and skills within the curriculum.
  • It is important to celebrate work in all aspects of the curriculum and use work for modelling and building on future learning. Children are excited to receive feedback in their books and homework to see how well they are doing! The teacher must not let them down or dampen their enthusiasm!
  • Well modelled writing should be used in marking and feedback:
    • Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
    • No short cuts using text speak
    • Neat and legible