A letter from our Director in response to the Rochford Review: Final Report
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Valued Customers,
On Wednesday evening I downloaded and read The Rochford Review: Final Report. It is with great relief that I can say that the recommendations made by this group of experts, go a long way towards answering many of the questions that those of us who work in the special education sector have been asking for the past few years. In light of this, I would like to thank Diane Rochford and her group for such a valuable contribution to the pursuit of excellence in the field of special educational needs and disabilities. The group’s recommendations to the Government were:
1. Remove the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.
2. Extend and make permanent the interim pre-key stage standards.
3. Schools assess pupils’ development under these four areas of need: Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Sensory and/or Physical
4. Statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning and assessed against the following seven aspects; Responsiveness, Curiosity, Discovery, Anticipation, Persistence, Initiation, Investigation
5. Schools should decide their own approach to assessment.
6. ITT and CPD should build a greater understanding of how to assess these pupils.
7. Schools should actively share or seek out expertise and good practice with/from others.
8. Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good assessment and support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review.
9. No requirement to submit assessment data on the seven areas but schools must be able to provide evidence to ensure robust and effective accountability.
10. Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.
Walking into the office yesterday, I was greeted by an enthusiastic team as they discussed the intricacies of the report. That morning, I met with our Education Team and our Development Team to debate its merits and its potential impact on our customers. The first thing that resonated with me was how impressed my team were with the content of the report; my Head of Education said to me how pleased he was with the panel’s consideration for the challenges faced by staff working with this diverse range of pupils. After many hours of evaluation, feedback and consideration we came to the conclusion that whilst the report recommended a big shift in thinking, many of our recent and current projects (including the Developmental Continuum and Evisense) were already aligned with the recommendations and would help professionals to achieve these goals.
When the National Curriculum changed in 2014, we as a company took the decision that Age Related Expectations were not going to work for pupils with SEND and chose a different structure for our assessment frameworks. While reviewing the content of the new National Curriculum we identified that the P Levels no longer led into the National Curriculum, so took steps to update our interpretations of the P Levels so that the transition from P Levels to National Curriculum was smoother. We have also been developing a different way of assessing, creating our Developmental Curriculum, which is similar to the new approach for pupils not yet engaged in subject-specific learning. Over the recent years we have also seen the importance of evidence grow and using evidence as a more meaningful way of discussing progress with parents and carers.
We already have a plan as to how we are going to move forward with development of our assessment frameworks and evidence products, but we also welcome input from our customers. If you would like to give us some feedback or ask questions on how we will move forward with our approach, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dale Pickles Managing Director of B Squared