Removal of P Levels – 2 Years On What Has Changed & How Have Schools Responded?

The removal of P Levels has been a long journey, that has taken 7 years to complete. A lot of people think that the removal of P Levels started with the ‘Rochford Review: Final Report’ that was released in October 2016. It actually started in the summer of 2013, when the DfE announced the plans to remove levels, introduce a new curriculum and change the end of key stage tests.

When the National Curriculum came in around 1990, it wasn’t until 1999 that the P Levels were introduce for those working below Level 1. I had hoped that 25 years later we had made a lot more progress towards being more inclusive, instead we shaved off 2 years. Children and young people with SEND are still not important enough to the DfE to be included in the overall plan. They are still an afterthought. The Rochford Review panel wasn’t put together and launched until July 2015. That was already 2 years after the 2014 Primary Curriculum was announced.

The removal of p levels and the introduction of pre-key stage standards happened in 2018. This caused lots of confusion as they pre-key state standards were only designed for end of key stage assessments. The P Levels were used for ongoing assessment, so when they were removed, what were schools going to use? The guidance from the Government hasn’t been good enough and a lot of schools and LAs are still unsure of what to do.

The Engagement Model that was introduced early this year is a very odd document. It is supposed to be used for pupils not yet engaged in subject specific learning, which in old money is pupils working below P4. It doesn’t replace anything and it doesn’t do anything. It even admits in that in the first few pages:

“Schools have the freedom to decide how to use the engagement model alongside their existing planning, assessment and recording systems”

Page 8, The Engagement Model

If you have seen there is a document called the Engagement Model and think this is something you need to introduce and will help you, you need to read the document as it won’t help. There is nothing to implement.

The underlying concept of the Engagement Model is the more engaged your pupils are, the more pupil outcomes will improve. The engagement model is a way of looking at engagement, but as lots of people have said they are doing this already. It doesn’t add anything. Assessing engagement tells you more about the teaching than the pupils. It tells you how well a teacher knows their pupils, are the lesson outcomes appropriate and is it being delivered in an engaging way. It doesn’t give meaningful information for EHCPs, annual reviews or for sharing with parents. The concept applies to all learning and all activities for all of us, not just for pupils with complex needs working below P4.

This webinar takes you through all of this and more, I share my opinion on the engagement model, pre-key stage standards and the lack of support from the Government. I also talk about what does this all mean for schools. What should schools be doing for pupils working below Year 1. Is their current assessment system the right system for their pupils with SEND? Is it inlie with the guidance from the Government?

I also talk about the shift from Ofsted centered data to pupil centered data. For years schools have produced data inline with what Ofsted have expected and this has fuelled the conversations around data. With the removal of P Levels, the removal of national expectations, schools doing their own thing, schools are able to think about what data they need and how do they use it. The 2019 Ofsted inspection framework made it clear that Ofsted do not want to look at your data. They want to know what the data tells you, what changes have you made and what does it look like. This is a big shift and schools need to take a step back and ask ‘What data do we need to improve outcomes for pupils’. They then need to look at their current data and their current systems and identify if it gives them that data.

At the end of the webinar I also review the Rochford Review Recommendations. I look at how well the Government have implemented the changes, how well schools have implemented the changes and how well have schools supported schools. Schools come out with a score of 58%, the Government is a long way behind on 18%.

The main message I give in this webinar is to make your assessment and data child focussed. What do you need to improve outcmoes? Do you have a system that works? Does it cover the areas you need? Does it have the detail to identify why pupils aren’t making progress? Some LAs and some MATs have a centralised approach, others do not. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to tell you what to do, go and find your own answers and improve the outcomes for your pupils.

In the webinar, I mention a webinar I have run previously and a blog article I wrote. Here are the links…

Helping Governors and External Agencies to Effectively Judge Progress for Pupils with SEND (Webinar)

Where are we with the ‘Aspects of Engagement’? (blog)

If you have any questions about this webinar, you can contact me via email – You can also book a FREE online meeting to discuss anything from this webinar. Use the link below to find a time and date that suits you…