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. 

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 are no longer able to 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.

In May 2018 the government released the new pre-key stage standards for key stages 1 and 2. The new standards are to replace P Levels and the interim framework for pupils working above P4, but below the level of the end of key stage assessment.

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:

Connecting Steps

Connecting Steps is the most popular and effective assessment software for pupils with SEND. A wide range of frameworks that are built into Connecting Steps helps schools get up and running as quickly as possible.

Connecting Steps is the standard asssessment system for pupils with SEND across a number of authorities in the UK. The simple interface, powerful features and flexible approach to progress means it works for a wide range of pupils. Connecting Steps V5 brings even more features and now works on iPads and other tablet devices.


Connecting Steps makes recording achievements simple. As well as being able to record the skills pupils achieve, you can also record the steps as they work towards it.


Before pupils can achieve a skill, they need to engage. Connecting Steps can show the engagement levels of pupils and show the progress as engagement increases.


Connecting Steps makes showing small steps of progress simple. Progress can be shown in lots of ways, including engagement and non-linear progress. 

Want to find out how connecting steps simplifies assessment?

Click on the button to arrange a FREE online meeting to find out how we can help make assessment easier for your school

Book a FREE Online Meeting

Are you looking for an alternative to the P Levels?

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?

We worked with our schools since the release of the ‘The Rochford Review: Final Report’ to identify 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. We are developing frameworks for all 4 areas of need.

We Asked Schools What They Wanted

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.

New Assessment Frameworks

We have created 3 new frameworks in response to the removal of P Levels. These 3 framework support a wide range of ability, starting around P1, going up to around National Currciulum Level 7.

Engagement Steps

Our Engagement Steps has been designed to support ‘The Engagement Model’. It has been created for pupils working below the pre-key stage standards, who aren’t engaged in subject specific learning.

Primary Steps

Primary Steps has been designed to support pupils in primary schools that are either working below Year 1 or out of their year group. It supports teachers to show progress and identify next steps.

Progression Steps

Progression Steps has been designed for schools who don’t want to use end of year outcomes when discussing attainment. Schools who typilcally use Progression Steps are Specialist settings or pupils with SEND in mainstream secondary schools.

What do Our New Assessment Frameworks Look Like?

The image below shows all our frameworks. The button the image opens a document which compares all our level structures for our different frameworks, it also compares them against the pre-key stage standards.

B Squared Assessment Frameworks

Want an easy way to show pupil progress?

Click on the button to arrange a FREE online meeting to find out how we can help make assessment easier for your school

Book a FREE Online Meeting

Rochford Review Information

We kept up to date with every announcement from the Rochford Review, from the FInal Report through to the release of the new guidance. It was important that our assessment products were updated to reflect the new guidance as early as possible. Our new frameworks were available within weeks of the final guidance being released.


Use the links below to download our documents linked to the Rochford Review:

Rochford Review: Final Report 

The Rochford Review: Final Report was released in October 2016 with 10 recommendations. It is important to remember that these recommendations were focussed on end of key stage assessment only. It would, however, have a big impact in other areas.

Download Rochford Review: Final Report

B Squared Response

In November 2016, shortly after the release of the Rochford Review, we released our response and analysis of the Rochford Review recommendations. The document discussed why the recommendation was made and the impact of the recommendation. We also shared our plans on how we would adapt our products to reflect the recommendations.

Download B Squared’s Response to the Rochford Review

Rochford Questionnaire

After the release of the Rochford Review Final Report, we surveyed schools to find out how they felt about the recommendations of the Rochford Review. In January 2017 we published the results of the questionnaire and the feedback we received.

Download the Results of B Squared’s Rochford Review Questionnaire

Our Review of the Government’s Response

In October 2017, the DfE finally responded to the Rochford Review: Final Report. It took a whole year, but they generally agreed with the reports findings. We reviewed the Governments response and used the response to update our plans for our new assessment frameworks.

Download B Squared’s review of the Government’s response to the Rochford Review