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Basic Skills

Introduction to the Basic Skills Award


The Primary Quality Mark award was first developed in 1997, with the help of local education authorities and primary schools throughout England and Wales, to provide a framework that would promote, support and celebrate the improvement of literacy and mathematics in schools. It was revised in 2006 following consultation with a significant number of local authorities in the Primary Quality Mark Partnership.


The 10 Primary Quality Mark elements are as relevant today for school improvement as they were originally. The fundamental principles of the Primary Quality Mark process, such as the involvement of the whole school community, self-review and targeted intervention, have now become central to any school’s improvement agenda, regardless of its context.


The Primary Quality Mark provides a framework for self-evaluation and continuous improvement of the basic skills of all pupils in a school. This includes both those who underachieve and those whose attainment is lower than would be expected of someone of their age.


The 10 elements


1. A whole school strategy and planning to improve performance in basic skills.

2. An analysis of the assessment of pupil performance in basic skills.

3. Target setting for the improvement of the school’s performance in basic skills.

4. Basic skills improvement planning for pupils underattaining and/or underachieving.

5. Regular review of the progress made by pupils underattaining and/or underachieving in basic skills.

6. A commitment to improving the skills of staff to teach and extend basic skills.

7. The use of a range of teaching approaches and learning styles to improve basic skills.

8. The use of appropriate teaching and learning materials to improve basic skills.

9. The involvement of parents and carers in developing their child’s basic skills.

10. An effective procedure for monitoring planning and assessing improvement in performance in basic skills.