Qualifications & Assessment

"They're not like proper teachers Mum! They don't shout at all!"

Parent, Jan 2018

"Pupils usually settle quickly to their work and remain focused throughout lessons. This demonstrates a seismic leap forward in peoples' attitudes to learning.”

Ofsted Report, March 2018


New students are given baseline assessments on arrival at Cressey, in all National Curriculum subjects they study. For older students, Practice Papers are used to assess current levels, and which qualification level is appropriate for them.

Based on these assessments and on the input from their EHCP objectives, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is created for each student, which is subsequently  reviewed each term. Students' progress is assessed on a day–to-day basis as described in our Assessment, Record Keeping, Celebrating and Reporting Policy.

Students’ progress is thus continually monitored, and formally recorded against the National Curriculum Steps and Qualification objectives. This information is reviewed weekly by each student’s Senior Teacher, and Termly by the Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher. This systematic analysis of progress data, both for each individual student and for the whole school, enables us to plan interventions and provide additional support quickly, where it is needed.

We assess students on all aspects of their learning and development, using the following assessment systems.

  • National Curriculum progress - using the BSquared assessment system
  • Qualifications progress - using the relevant Progress Sheets
  • Social, Emotional & Behavioural progress - using Boxall Profiles, and by monitoring progress on IEP targets
  • Behaviour trends – using the Sleuth assessment system
  • Attendance – using the SIMs system


Students will be entered for Functional Skills qualifications, Open College Network (OCN) qualifications and GCSE qualifications, as appropriate for each Student's  academic level; taking into account their talents, areas of difficulty, learning that may have been missed in previous schools, and existing barriers to learning.

Open College Network (OCN) qualifications

These are accredited, bite-sized qualifications which are similar way to coursework modules. OCN qualifications are assessed through portfolios of work, collated by staff, which demonstrate the learning that students have achieved in their lessons. There are no exams, which makes these qualifications very accessible to all our students. OCN’s can be completed for a wide variety of topics. We offer OCN’s at three different levels; Entry Level Three, Level One and Level Two. Each completed OCN provides a certain amount of Credits, and students are able earn Awards, Certificates or Diplomas, depending on how many Credits have been achieved. 

Functional Skills qualifications

We offer Functional Skills exams at both Level One and Level Two, in English, Maths and ICT. Students are able to access these qualifications through an online tool, which means that students can progress even if they are educated off-site. We encourage all our learners to work towards securing Functional Skills qualifications, and the exams can be taken at different times throughout the academic year, which means that each student can work at their own pace.

BTEC qualifications

We offer a BTEC qualification in Jamie Oliver’s Cooking Skills, at both Level One and Level Two. This is an excellent qualification for our budding chefs, which is well regarded by vocational colleges. It also provides valuable life skills. Like OCNs, this qualification is assessed through a portfolio of evidence, which is created based on practical learning.

GCSE qualifications

We offer a range of GCSEs at Cressey, including English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, History, Biology, Art and Design, Music, PE and Computing. However if a student wishes to study for a different GCSE, and it appropriate to their level, then provided we have adequate notice we will be flexible, and can arrange to deliver the subject.

We are also flexible about the age at which students take their GCSEs, because some may have missed years of schooling before coming to Cressey, and may need not be ready to take their GCSE exams until Year 12 or 13. Equally students may also sit GCSE exams early, before Year 11, if that would be right for them.

We can also offer the GCSE qualifications over flexible timescales, so if a student needs more time then he/she could take GCSEs over three years, rather than two. Our approach is bespoke for each student, and we will provide specialised and individualised timetables to enable each student to take the exams of their choice, at the time when they are ready.

National Curriculum Progress

To see the Progress assessment for 2017/18 in terms of the National Curriculum Steps, please click here (link to follow shortly). To see the Progress assessment for 2016/17, please click here.

To see the Progress assessment for students who've been with us for more than two years, please click here. The statistics show that most of these students have exceeded the academic progress that Ofsted requires. Given that our students have such complex needs, including serious learning difficulties in some cases, we believe this is outstanding progress.

To see the OCN, Functional Skills and GCSE results for 2015/16 please click here. To see the GCSE results for 2016/17 please click here. (The OCN and Functional Skills results for 2016/17 will be posted shortly.) To see the OCN, Functional Skills and GCSE results for 2017/18 please click here (link to follow shortly)

"She's a completely different person since she started here, so much so that we're now preparing for her to transfer back to mainstream. She does so much more work here. I don't know how they've done it, but they have! I'm seriously, seriously happy! I'd highly recommend Cressey to any other parent."

Carer, February 2017