“Responding to Children’s Work” A Policy Statement and Guidance of Practice


Marking and responding to children’s work is an essential element in the assessment of the performance, progress, levels of attainment, and the raising of standards throughout our school. It informs and enables staff, children and parents/carers in this process.

The way in which we respond to pupil’s work inevitably communicates signals to the children. These signals are likely to affect their own judgements and feelings about their levels of achievement/attainment and the ways in which they are working. All comments/responses therefore, in whichever form they may take, must be constructive and based upon evidence which the children understand and can relate to.

Our Aims in Marking/Responding to Children’s Work

  • To use marking as a teaching tool to inform the children of their performance and the next steps in their learning. It is not general; it is specific, it focuses on improvement as well as correction and it relates to the current piece of work with an expectation to edit and improve.
  • To develop children’s ability to proof read, edit and improve a piece of work before the teacher sees it.
  • To expect children to use methods to indicate their own understanding of their learning
  • To expect children to explain how they think work can be improved.
  • To make effective use of response partners to respond to their peer’s work.
  • To use marking as an assessment tool to inform the teacher of the child’s level of achievement /attainment and to inform the next stage of their planning.
  • To create a common, agreed, continuous, developmental methodology throughout the school which is understood and utilised by both colleagues and children.

Assessment for Learning

Assessment is used to inform planning and the next stages of learning for individual, groups and cohorts of children. Our Assessment for Learning Guidance document supports this policy.

It is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.


  • is part of effective planning
  • focuses on how children learn
  • is central to classroom practice
  • is a key professional skill
  • is sensitive and constructive
  • fosters motivation
  • promotes understanding of goals and criteria
  • helps learners know how to improve
  • develops the capacity for self assessment
  • recognises all educational achievement

 Our Agreed Methodology 

**This methodology applies to all work.

All work is marked. BLUE ink is always used

  • Early Years staff respond to children’s work verbally although they will always “mark” that the work has been assessed/discussed
  • Written and verbal “marking” becomes more complex as the child gets older
  • The marker’s responses take into account the learning objectives of the activity/area of the curriculum. There is always a planned focus to the marking e.g. considering the child’s understanding of scientific concepts. However, attention may be paid to other links,
    particularly literacy and mathematics, across the broad curriculum
  • Writing – in some cases the marker will concentrate upon targeted misspelt words. The marker makes sensitive judgements in relation to the age and ability of the child
  • All verbal and written comments made by the marker are constructive, concise, informed, based upon evidence and should not be merely a “well done” or “good” time after time. It may be necessary to annotate verbal comments/discussions with a child in order to keep a record of them

  • It is not appropriate for written comments to be made upon every piece of work. Year Leaders agree targeted pieces of work at planning meetings. Individual colleagues make written comments as and when necessary
  • Children are encouraged to evaluate their own work before marking, taking into consideration the shared learning objectives and any previously individually set targets.
  • After marking, children reflect, correct and address any misconceptions.
  • Time is regularly set aside to enable children to have the opportunity to evaluate their work and respond to marking. They are expected to respond to marking as part of a “marking dialogue” with the teacher.
  • Children’s editing, corrections and responses to marking are written neatly in PURPLE ink.
  • Targets and development points are written in GREEN.

Our EY Responding to Children’s Work

  • Children’s work is annotated where necessary, giving the context to the piece of work and/or recording the ‘voice of the child’ which supports practitioners in the assessment of the child’s overall understanding and attainment .
  • Annotation and verbal feedback is always positive focussing upon the evidence of what the children can actually do independently and supports their next steps.
  • All evidence within each child’s learning journey is marked as ‘aided’ if the piece of work has been completed with the support of an adult.
  • All evidence within the children’s learning journeys is dated.
  • All work is linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage Development Matters age bands. This supports the tracking of individual children’s progress and is used to inform the planning for the children’s unique next steps.

Our Year KS2 Marking Scheme

    • the marker’s recognition of correct responses, and to acknowledge that the work has been marked, is indicated by a  
    • the marker’s recognition of an incorrect response is indicated by a   l
    • incorrect spellings are indicated by a line under the word and the correct spelling written either in the margin or above the word. Errors are NOT to be crossed out or written over with a correction
    • where appropriate, incorrect spellings are underlined and “sp” written in the margin. This indicates that the child should know the word or is expected to search for the correct spelling independently
    • a missing word is indicated by a   Λ
    • the marker indicates a lack of clarity in meaning with   
    • missing or incorrect punctuation is indicated by a     O
    • an omitted new paragraph is indicated by a       //       where the new paragraph should begin
    • finger spaces are needed     G
    • independent work   I
    • APP evidence             APP
    • Work supported through teacher focus group        T
    • work supported by a teaching assistant     TA
    • all work undertaken by anyone other than the class teacher (e.g. a Supply Teacher) is marked, initialled and dated by the marker.
    • all children are taught to understand, interpret and use these marking symbols within their own work and in response to another child’s work
    • all children are encouraged and expected to assess, respond or comment on their work/learning e.g. through use of ‘smiley faces’, ‘traffic light’ symbols, responding in writing to marking, etc.

Success Criteria

Planning provides opportunities for both learner and teacher to obtain and use information about progress towards set learning goals. It is flexible and responds to initial and emerging ideas and skills. It includes strategies to ensure that learners understand the goals they are pursuing and the criteria that will be applied in assessing their work. How learners receive feedback, how they take part in assessing their learning and how they will be helped to make further progress is also planned.

Success criteria are elements of the learning objectives – either the steps involved or what you need to remember to do in order to achieve the learning objective. All children generate success criteria, both written and verbal, against which performance/attainment is measured in relation to learning objectives.

Revised January 2015