We have completed development of our new assessment frameworks Engagement Steps and Progression Steps. Our new frameworks are available now, we recommend existing customers join us for our webinar at 7pm on 10th July 2018 to find out how to transition to the new frameworks - Click here
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B Squared, the Rochford Review and the Removal of P Levels
In July 2015, the Minister for Schools brought together a review group (“The Group”) headed by Diane Rochford. The Group was tasked with the challenge of identifying the best way to ensure that pupils who have not completed the relevant key stage programmes of study (and are therefore working below the standard of statutory testing arrangements) have the opportunity to demonstrate attainment and progress at primary school.
In December 2015, The Group published their interim recommendations. These provide interim pre-key stage standards for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 for pupils who are working below the standard of statutory testing arrangements.
In October 2016, The Rochford Review released their Final Report. It made 10 recommendations regarding the end of key stage statutory assessment of pupils with SEND. There are 10 recommendations in total. Some are focussed on assessment and others are focused on training, good practice and collaborative working. The recommendations are as follows:
- The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.
- The interim pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests are made permanent and extended to include all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.
- Schools assess pupils’ development in all 4 areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, but statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning.
- A statutory duty to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following 7 aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers:
- Following recommendation 4, schools should decide their own approach to making these assessments according to the curriculum they use and the needs of their pupils.
- Initial teacher training (ITT) and Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff in educational settings should reflect the need for teachers to have a greater understanding of assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning.
- Where there is demonstrable good practice in schools, those schools should actively share their expertise and practice with others. Schools in need of support should actively seek out and create links with those that can help to support them.
- Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good practice in assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, particularly across different educational settings. Schools should support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review.
- There should be no requirement to submit assessment data on the 7 areas of cognition and learning to the DfE, but schools must be able to provide evidence to support a dialogue with parents and carers, inspectors, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, school governors and those engaged in peer review to ensure robust and effective accountability.
- Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.
In September 2017 the government released their response to the Rochford Review, setting out the future for statutory assessment for pupils with SEND. The response agreed with the majority of the Review's recommendations. The government have stated schools will no longer use the P Levels for pupils engaged in subject specific learning from September 2018 and that pupils not yet engaged in subject specific learning will continue to use P Levels until September 2019.
The P Levels Have Been Removed
In May 2018 the government released the new pre-key stage standards for 2018/2019 onwards and confirmed that the P Levels are removed from September 2018. The removal of P Levels will give schools a number of challenges. The new pre-key stage standards are too narrow to be used for ongoing assessment, so schools need to use something in place of P Levels to track ongoing progress. In June 2018 we ran a webinar called 'Are you Ready for the Removal of P Levels?' The webinar talked about the new pre-key stage standards, the wider implications and how we have responded to the changes. If you missed the webinar you can watch it by clicking on the link below:
Don't worry, we can help!
Removing the P Levels means that the common language schools have used for the last 17 years has also been removed. We have introduced a range of frameworks to support schools move away from P Levels, this is based on the new language the DfE are using for pupils with SEND. We have tried to be clear on how the frameworks fit together, but it is often easier to have someone talk you through the different options we have available.
If you would like to find out how Connecting Steps makes assessing easier then click on the button below to arrange a FREE online meeting at a time that suits you. The meetings last around 30 minutes and are a great way to find out how the software works and how it can be used in your school. Click on the button to arrange a time that suits you.
How has B Squared Adapted its Products?
Since the release of the The Rochford Review: Final Report we have been working on identifying the best approach to meet the needs of schools now and in the future. It is clear from The Report that all schools will be required/recommended to assess pupils with SEND across all four areas. It is currently unclear how in-depth this will be and how much focus will be placed on Communication and Interaction, Social and Emotional and Mental Health and Sensory and/or Physical development for the pupils undertaking subject-specific learning. In November 2016, we invited our customers and the wider SEND community to be involved in our decision-making. We created a questionnaire to find out what professionals felt about the recommendations and how they believed we could support schools to implement the changes required to meet the recommendations of The Report. The responses helped to guide our planning and development. You can read the results of our Questionnaire by clicking here.
We have completed our development of our Engagement Steps assessment framework for students not yet engaged in subject specific learning and this is available now for schools to purchase. We have also completed development on our Cognition and Learning content for our Progression Steps and Primary Steps frameworks for pupils engaged in subject-specific learning. Please contact us for more information.
The section below explains how we are changing our assessment frameworks within Connecting Steps in response to the changes.
What do Our New Assessment Frameworks Look Like?
The image below links to a document showing how we have updated our SEND assessment frameworks based on the Rochford Review's recommendations and the new pre-key stage standards. It includes information on the structure, content and how the decisions have been made. The document can be downloaded by clicking here.