Product Frequently Asked Questions

Essentials full spectrum curriculum

Q: How do I access the admin section of the Essentials website

A: Admin users are log in at Within this section, admin users can view, edit and add users.

Q: In the light of the interim performance descriptors released by govt will the Essentials Curriculum and/or Milestones Assessment criteria need revision?

A: They are intended as ‘part’ of the picture of assessment.  They are intended to be used along-side test results and teacher assessment. The Essentials curriculum focuses on teacher assessment.

Q: Where will I find the Learning Objective breakdowns?

A: Each Learning Objective is broken down into Milestones for progress, this can be found under the Milestones tab for each subject.

Q: How do I create my lesson plans?

A: The Essentials is Chris’ version of the Curriculum; it does not create lesson plans for you. We have provided planning grids in the Resources section of the website in a Word format so information can be easily copied and pasted from the website. Long term Curriculum maps can be created on the Online Curriculum Planner.

Q: The Science Essentials contains a lot more than the National Curriculum, why is this?

A: We put them in because we felt that knowledge and concepts develop over time rather than in a particular year group or key stage. For example, we wanted to link the KS1 ‘Observe seasonal changes’ to a wider picture of what will be introduced later in KS2 about the Earth’s position in the solar system. It is not statutory, but we felt it important.

Q: Why so few learning objectives?

A: The learning objectives are not designed to be ‘achieved’. They are designed to be advanced throughout the primary years. This reflects the nature of growing depth and mastery. The word ‘achieved’ is not compatible with an ongoing, growing understanding of something. Some of the reasons for Chris’ particular choice of objectives were:

  • They are in the aims and purpose of study section
  • They need to be few in number so they are repeatable
  • They need to be common to all year groups so they can be tracked
  • They need to be worthy of mention on a pupil’s school report
  • They become both the planning and assessment foci.

Q: Where do the milestones come from?

A: For core subjects they are taken from the programmes of study. They meet all of the requirements and standards within the programmes of study.  Any ‘coverage’ has been removed.

A: For the non-core subjects they have been developed from the programmes of study but significantly up-levelled to provide more information for planning and assessment. They exceed the requirements of the National Curriculum by a long way.

It is important to remember that there are no year group expectations in the National Curriculum – only end of key stage expectations. That allowed Chris to create milestones and to still fall within statutory requirements.

Q: Where will I find/purchase Chris’ Assessment materials?

A: Assessment Criteria for Reading, Writing, Maths and Science are available on the Essentials website, in the Resources section, under the Downloads tab.

A: We have uploaded the BAD assessment criteria for Core subjects to the Resources section of this website. For more information on our Depth of Learning Assessment Tracker, please contact us on

Q: Do you have any tracking software?

A: We have a system called Please see for more details.

Q: Within some subjects on the Assessment materials certain Key Indicators are missing, why is this?

A: We have categorised all of the Milestone indicators from the Essentials Curriculum as either ‘processes’ or ‘outcomes’. Only the outcomes appear on the Assessment materials. This focuses summative assessment on outcomes and also reduces teacher workload.


Learning Lenses: Lesson Observation Software

Q: What is it?

A: The software is made up of a website and iOS app. Website: The iOS app is only available to customers using an Apple product and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. We are looking into producing an Android app for customers with other devices.

Q: What does it do?

A: The website and app allows the user to record lesson observations using the seven learning lenses and create reports based on this information. We have pre-loaded the system with England’s Ofsted criteria but the user also has the choice to enter their criteria.

Q: How does it work?

Each school will have a master user, this is user who sets up the account and enters the access code. Within the master user log in they have the option to set up the teachers who will be observing and observed. For this we have created two levels of users.

• Level 1, the observer – users may make observations and view and edit any observations they make. Level 1 users may only view observations made about them by someone else.

• Level 2, the teacher – users can only view observations about themselves. The master user will also need to set up the classes/groups that will be observed and assign each grade descriptor as either a strength or limitation. Users, classes/groups and strengths and limitations will need to be set up before an observation is made.

Making an Observation

Observations can be carried out on either the website or the app. Observations carried out on the app can be synced to the website to produce reports, users will need to have an internet connection on their device to sync observations to the website. When a user selects the ‘new’ tab on the home screen they are asked to fill in the teacher being observed, the class/group they are teaching and the date of the observation, they may also fill in any background notes they wish to add, but this is optional. User may use each lens as many times as needed. It is not necessary to use every lens, but they must use the Progress lens at least once. Users also have the option to add images to evidence, this can done by uploading an image from the computer through the website, or by taking a photo through the app. These images will appear on reports.

Editing an Observation

All observations are editable by the user who has created them. Observations can only be edited on the app before the syncing procedure is completed, but any observations that have been synced can be edited on the website. Under the Edit tab on the home page, users can search for an observation by supplying either the teacher who has been observed, the class/group or the date of the observation. The website will return a list of observations containing the criteria searched for. Users can add new evidence to any lens, or edit existing evidence.


Users have the option of four types of reports: Single Observation report, Individual teacher report, School strengths and limitations and Group report. Each report type gives the user a search option relevant to the report. All reports are suitable to save as PDF or print, both of these options are given at the bottom of the report.

Forgotten Password

If a user has forgotten their password, please use the ‘forgotten password’ link on the log in screen of, this will allow the user to create a new password.

Cultural Capital

Vocabulary should be taught not caught

Threshold Concepts