Government response to the Primary Assessment Consultation and the Rochford Review Consultation

On 14th September the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the proposed changes to primary assessment following the consultation process which closed in June 2017.

The plans are for a primary assessment system which focuses on pupil progress, mastering literacy and numeracy, and scrapping unnecessary workload for teachers. The plans are designed to create a stable, long-term approach that ensures children are taught the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed at secondary school and in later life.

The government confirmed that it will:

  • Improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile by exploring a reduction in the number of Early Learning Goals, making them clearer and aligning them more closely with teaching in key stage 1.

  • Retain the Emerging, Expected and Exceeding (EEE) categories but will review whether they should introduce an additional band within emerging.

  • Review the EYFS guidance and moderation process to reduce administration burdens

  • Improve school-level progress measures, and give schools credit for the education that they provide to their pupils in the reception year, year 1 and year 2, by introducing a statutory baseline assessment in reception from 2020.

  • Reduce workload and administration burdens on teachers by making end-of-key stage 1 assessments non-statutory in all-through primary schools from 2022/23 once the new reception baseline has become established, with national sampling to be introduced so that we can continue to monitor standards.

  • Continue to make the KS1 GPS test non-statutory and optional test materials will continue to be available.

  • Remove the statutory duty to report teacher assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards. The statutory duty to report teacher assessment using the pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of the test will remain.

  • Aid children’s fluency in mathematics through the introduction of a multiplication tables check, from the summer of 2020, to be administered to pupils at the end of year 4.

  • Improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance from 2017/18. The “pupil can” statements for writing have been reviewed and revised for KS1 and KS2. The pre-key stage standards for writing have also been revised to allow for a more flexible approach to writing assessment.

For full details of the feedback from the consultation and the government’s response can be found on the DfE website

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644871/Primary_assessment_consultation_response.pdf

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) have published the Teacher assessment frameworks at the end of key stage 1 and end of key stage 2 for use in the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

 

English writing – Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

 

In 2017-18 there will be revised teacher assessment frameworks in English writing only, which include:

  • A more flexible approach – teachers can now use their discretion to ensure that, on occasion, a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement of a pupil’s attainment overall being made. The overall standard of attainment, set by the ‘pupil can’ statements, remains the same. This is excellent news for some children with specific special educational needs.

  • Revised ‘pupil can’ statements – a greater emphasis on composition, while statements relating to the more ‘technical’ aspects of English writing (grammar, punctuation and spelling) are less prescriptive. All changes are in line with the attainment targets for the key stage 1 programme of study.

The Framework also includes the following:

Assessment of pupils with disabilities

All schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities. Disability is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. When teachers assess pupils against the ‘pupil can’ statements, they should base their judgements on what disabled pupils can do when reasonable adjustments are in place (for example, reducing anxiety by providing a quiet learning space, or allowing more time to process instructions).

 If a pupil has a disability that prevents them from demonstrating attainment in the way described in a ‘pupil can’ statement, their individual method of communication or learning is applicable (for example, using a visual phonics system for a pupil with a hearing impairment, or using a computer for a pupil with vision impairment because they cannot read back their handwriting). Teachers should ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate attainment with reasonable adjustments in place, but the standards of the assessment should not be compromised and must be met in an equivalent way. Teachers should use their professional discretion in making such judgements for each pupil.

 If a pupil has a disability that physically prevents them from demonstrating a ‘pupil can’ statement altogether, even with reasonable adjustments in place, these statements can be excluded from the teacher assessment judgement (for example, for handwriting if the pupil is physically restricted when writing, or for phonics if a pupil is deaf and unable to make use of a visual phonics system). Teachers should use their professional discretion in making such judgements for each pupil, and be able to justify these during moderation.

For copies of the Key Stage 1 Framework for 2017 -18 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-assessment-frameworks-at-the-end-of-key-stage-1

For a copy of the Key Stage 2 Framework for 2017 -18

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-assessment-frameworks-at-the-end-of-key-stage-2

Government Response to Rochford Review Consultation

On 14th September the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the proposed changes to the assessment of children working below national expected standard as recommended by the Rochford Review, following the consultation process which closed in June 2017.

P Scales

The government agreed with the Rochford Review that P scales are no longer fit for purpose as they are based on the old national curriculum and they do not support pupils to progress onto the new national curriculum.

In addition, they believed they replicated the old system of levels, which over time came to dominate teaching, and prioritised pace over consolidation.

On this basis they are accepting the Rochford Review recommendation to remove the statutory requirement for teachers to assess pupils using P scales.

The requirement to assess pupils engaged in subject-specific learning using P scales will be removed from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards.

Teachers should continue to assess these pupils using P scales in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, while the necessary changes to legislation are implemented.

Interim pre-key stage standards

In the case of pupils who are currently assessed using P scales and who are engaged in subject-specific learning, the government believe that the interim pre-key stage standards can provide this consistent approach and common language to measuring and describing attainment and progress.

They therefore accept the recommendation that the interim pre-key stage standards are made permanent and extended to cover all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.

To give schools adequate time to prepare for these changes, this recommendation will take effect from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards. The interim pre-key stage standards will continue to be used in 2017-18 – some revisions have been made to the writing standards.

Pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning

The government agreed with the principle set out by the Rochford Review that statutory assessment of pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning should primarily focus on the areas of cognition and learning. This ensures that statutory assessment is as consistent as possible for all pupils, so that pupils are supported to progress onto subject-specific learning if and when they are ready

There were a number of individual respondents and representative organisations that expressed concerns about the introduction of a statutory requirement to assess pupils against the 7 areas of engagement, given that it was not originally designed as a statutory assessment tool, and it is relatively untested in its proposed form.

Concerns have also been raised by some respondents about whether the model assesses the appropriate aspects of cognition and learning.

The government want to ensure that all statutory assessment arrangements are robust, reliable and fair. They are committed to introducing a stable, sustainable assessment system, and believe it is important that there is complete confidence in any change that is introduced.

Therefore a pilot of the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to assessing pupils not engaged in subject specific learning will take place in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, before taking any final decisions on whether to implement this approach on a statutory basis.

This will mean that, if accepted following the pilot, changes would take effect from the 2019 to 2020 academic year onwards, following amendment to the relevant legislation.

In the meantime, schools should continue to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning using the P scales.

Full details can be found on the DfE website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644729/Rochford_consultation_response.pdf

Details of the revised pre-key stage standards can be found on the STA website:

Key Stage 1: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-pre-key-stage-1-standards

Key Stage 2: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/645026/2017_to_2018_interim_pre-key_stage_2_standards_PDFA.pdf

Primary school pupil assessment: Rochford Review recommendations –Government Consultation

A guiding hand through the consultation document!

On 30th March 2017 Justine Greening launched the long awaited consultation on the recommendations from the Rochford Review.  This is an opportunity for every school, teacher and parent with children working below the standard of the national curriculum to have their say about the future of assessment for this group of pupils.

This consultation sits alongside the consultation on primary assessment and I would urge early years and secondary colleagues to put their point of view as the final measures that come from this consultation will impact across all phases.

The consultation documentation and on-line response can be found at:

 

https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/rochford-review/

The closing date for responses is 22 June 2017.

I have prepared this synopsis of what the consultation document is asking you to comment on and giving you some points to consider.

Primary Assessment in England – Government Consultation – Guidance

A guiding hand through the consultation document!

On 30th March 2017 Justine Greening launched the long awaited consultation on Primary Assessment in England. This is an opportunity for every school, teacher and parent to have their say about the future of assessment in the primary years.

Since the introduction of the new National Curriculum and the removal of levels in 2014 we have seen endless tweets, blogs, articles and speeches about the unfairness of the new system especially for children with SEND. This is the chance we have all been waiting for.

We have to be realistic, there has to be some accountability measures but this is an opportunity to try and make things better, especially for children with SEND.

Although this is a consultation on primary assessment I would also urge early years and secondary colleagues to put their point of view as the final measures that come from this consultation will impact across all phases.

The consultation documentation and on-line response can be found at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/assessment-policy-and-development/primary-assessment/

The closing date for responses is 22 June 2017.

I have prepared this synopsis of what the consultation document is asking you to comment on and giving you some points to consider.

Assessment at the end of KS1 and KS 2 – What do we know?

moving-gp_cr

On 19th October 2016 Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, made a statement about primary education. She acknowledged that the new assessments at the end of KS 2 taken this summer raised the bar on what pupils should have been taught by the age of 11. She also acknowledged that the pace and scale of change has been stretching and that no more than 6% of primary schools will be below the floor standard in 2016.

 

 

 

The Secretary of State now wants there to be a clear pathway to a settled system to ensure we can achieve strong educational outcomes for all children. With this in mind she announced that:

  • There would be no changes to assessment until at least 2018 -19.

  • There would be a full consultation on primary assessment and accountability in the new year.

  • There will be improved guidance on moderation of teacher assessment which will be accompanied by mandatory training for local authority mentors.

  • That the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will remain in place for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

  • The key stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will remain non-statutory for schools this year but tests will be available for teachers to use if they choose.

  • There will be no statutory mathematics and reading resits on children’s arrival in year 7. Schools will need to focus on the steps needed to ensure a child catches up lost ground. High-quality resit papers will be made available for teachers to use if they wish, as part of their ongoing assessments.

  • There will be a targeted package of support to make sure that struggling pupils are supported by teachers to catch up in year 7.

  • The Rochford Review Final Report, also published on 19th October, will form part of the primary assessment consultation in early spring.

The Standards and Testing Agency have produced the following documents for this academic year.

Early years foundation stage profile: 2017 handbook

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-profile-handbook

2017 early years foundation stage: assessment and reporting arrangements

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-early-years-foundation-stage-assessment-and-reporting-arrangements-ara

2017 key stage 1: assessment and reporting arrangements

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-key-stage-1-assessment-and-reporting-arrangements-ara

2017 key stage 2: assessment and reporting arrangements

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-key-stage-2-assessment-and-reporting-arrangements-ara

2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-interim-frameworks-for-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-of-key-stage-1

2017 pre-key stage 1: pupils working below the test standard

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-pre-key-stage-1-pupils-working-below-the-test-standard

2017 interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 2

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-interim-frameworks-for-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-of-key-stage-2

2017 pre-key stage 2: pupils working below the test standard

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2017-pre-key-stage-2-pupils-working-below-the-test-standard

The Rochford Review – Final Report

After waiting for over six months the final report from the Rochford Review was published on 19th October, just as many schools were preparing for their half term break.

The Rochford Review was established in July 2015 to review statutory assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. The interim report, published in December 2015 provided an interim solution for reporting outcomes in 2016. It published the interim pre-key stage standards for those pupils working below the expected standard at the end of key stag 1 and key stage 2. The review team then continued discussions, looking at a longer term solution especially about the future of P Scales.

The final report published in October outlines 10 recommendations for those pupils who cannot access statutory assessments as they have not completed the relevant programmes of study when they reach the appropriate chronological age. These recommendations will be part of a wider consultation on Primary Assessment that the government have said will take place in Spring 2017.

The 10 recommendations are:

  1. The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation and investigation

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.

Schools should continue to use the interim pre-key stage standards alongside the interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in 2017. The final outcomes of the consultation on primary assessment including the recommendations above will not come into force until 2018 at the earliest.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rochford-review-final-report

 

Is the Education system failing SEND Children?

grammar-school

In July 2016 the DfE published their latest SEND statistics. Currently 1.22 million pupils have been identified with special educational needs – nearly 15% of the school population. That does not include those who are “out of education”, being home schooled or who have just not been identified.  I know that across this country thousands of teachers, support staff and local authorities are working incredibly hard to offer the very best education for young people with SEND. However, the current education system is failing this group of young people in a number of ways.

  1. The recent consultation document Schools that work for everyone does not mention SEND within its thirty-six pages. The system outlined in this document is not about everyone it is about a chosen few who will be selected at 11 to attend an elite school. The nature of the selection, probably a test, automatically eliminates the majority of those young people identified with SEND. So how will the Government ensure that this significant group will be included in the schools that work for everyone agenda?

  2. There is an expectation that all schools will offer a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of all its pupils. The National Curriculum launched two years ago was designed to offer content to be covered within each year group but gave schools the flexibility of what methodology each would use to best fit their school setting. However, in reality, the emphasis at KS1 and KS2 on English and mathematics, leading to teaching “towards the test” at the end of each key stage, has reduced the curriculum being offered. It would appear that children are no longer able to express themselves through their writing unless they have included six full stops, ten commas and at least three subordinate clauses. The need to consolidate and learn subjects in depth is vital for children with SEND but they also need to be able to excel in the more creative, artistic and practical subjects.

  3. As these pupils enter secondary school they are channelled towards the eight subjects that will make up the Progress 8 accountability measure that secondary schools will be judged on. Added to this is the push in most schools to aim for the EBacc suite of subjects. This has led to schools not being able to offer a wide range of subjects and many pupils with SEND are being restricted by the “buckets” they can take subjects from and being restricted to those subjects that the school offers.

  4. This will be exacerbated by the introduction of selective schools as it will put increased pressure on the non-selective schools trying very hard to be inclusive but whose results will not tick the accountability boxes.

  5. The current assessment regime currently “fails” a child at the end of year 1 after they have taken the Phonics check and achieved less than 32 words. This is reported as a fail. Schools are then expected to offer robust phonic intervention strategies in Year 2 at the end of which they will take the check again and possibly fail for the second time. Although the evidence suggests that systematic synthetic phonics is a successful methodology for the teaching of reading, it is not the only solution. There are a significant number of children who will not learn to read by this method but in recent years we have only taught our new teachers to teach phonics and have not given them the tools to teach reading by any other method.

  6. By the end of KS 1, having undertaken the SATs, pupils are given a scaled score and labelled as “working at national standard” If their scaled score is below the given parameters they are “working towards the national standard”. So by the end of KS 1 some of these children will have failed the phonics check twice and only be working towards national standard in English and mathematics. The negative language of this assessment system causes stress and anxiety for both pupils and their parents.

  7. As they enter KS 2 many young people are already not able to access the curriculum requirement for Year 3. For many, high quality, differentiated teaching will offer support but for some the need for a highly personalised curriculum (like many of our special schools offer) becomes more difficult for mainstream schools. The final year in primary school is dedicated to preparing for the SATs – a time when many of our SEND pupils should be consolidating and reinforcing the knowledge and skills they have already learnt. If they are not working at the level of the test then they are not going to keep up. By the end of the year they will be entered for the tests (because that ticks an accountability box for schools) but the scaled score achieved by these young people will indicate they are still working towards national standard. Many of these pupils will have made incredible progress over the four years but the language of SATS does not show this.

  8. The transfer to secondary school is an anxious and stressful time for young people and incredibly difficult for those who have SEND. Putting selection into this already challenging time is going to create even more challenges for young people and their families. It is often at this point that parents start to seek a specialist setting to ensure their child gets the best possible education that they can. The issue here is that we are in danger of imploding at the seams in our specialist settings. I find it incredible that funding can be found to develop grammar schools and expand existing schools to make them selective whilst at the same time we have more pupils than ever out of education due to the fact that parents cannot get an appropriate place for their child with SEND.

  9. For the last thirty years we have been striving for inclusive education for all our pupils. For some this will be provided in a specialist setting but for others it can be provided within a well-structured, inclusive mainstream setting. With more secondary schools opting for a selective route how can we be truly inclusive?

  10. Finally, we are now into the third year of the SEND reforms, across the country local authorities are all at very different stages of that journey. This has been borne out by the recent Ofsted and CQC Local Area Review letters, which indicate very disparate implementation processes across the seven authorities inspected to date. Unfortunately, these letters are not judgemental and only offer recommendations for the local authorities. With eighteen months left to go before full transition should be completed in March 2018 we still have a very long way to go.

  11. I was astonished earlier this week when I became part of a Twitter conversation about local authorities “buying-in” companies to write their EHCPs. I find this a really worrying state of affairs and have some real concerns about this. Firstly I am not sure this is legal, secondly how can the process be about co-production and personalised planning (as parents and pupils do not seem to be involved) and thirdly surely there is a huge safeguarding issue about local authorities sharing personal information with a third-party. It would appear that our most vulnerable young people have become a number in the drive to meet the 20 week deadline for the production of EHCPs.

Having been part of the education system for the last 40 years I have never been so dis-heartened by the lack of acknowledgement of the success and progress that our SEND pupils make if given all the right opportunities. The current system is failing these young people.

Our previous Secretary of State talked about all children, our new Secretary of State talks about everybody and yet we have created a system that excludes over 1 million children and young people. This is not about all this is about everybody minus the 15%.

Thank you to all those schools, support services and local authorities who are, against all odds, working their socks off to support young people with SEND. We need to fight the system and ensure that EVERYBODY means EVERYBODY!

May News Update

 

 

funny-comic-school-parents-teacher3

The Key – State of Education Survey Report 2016

Spotlight on schools: illuminating the challenges and priorities in school leadership today.

In order to compile this State of Education report, the Key collected the views of more than 2000 school leaders and governors across the country.

The report covers:

  • Pupil applications and places
  • Pupils’ readiness for school
  • Workload and morale
  • Teacher recruitment and retention
  • Curriculum, assessment and accountability

The full document can be downloaded here:

http://www.joomag.com/magazine/state-of-education-survey-report-2016/0604114001462451154?short

 

Making it Personal 3 – A guide to Personalisation, Personal Budgets and Education, Health and Care Plans – DfE and Kids

Making it Personal 3 aims to support innovative and creative use of educational personal budgets across England, guidance was produced for both young people and also educational providers and local authority education departments. Written by Dr Rona Tutt, the guide builds on previous work by Kids. In addition to the guidance, the Young People’s Engagement Group have produced a video Personal Budgets explained.

http://www.kids.org.uk/mip3

 

Mapping user experience of the Education, Health and Care process: a qualitative study – Department for Education and Government Social Research

This report is based on a small-scale qualitative study. 77 parents and 15 young people with SEND were interviewed along with over 120 professionals from four local authorities in England.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-health-and-care-process-mapping-user-experiences

Ofsted and CQC Inspection of local areas

Ofsted and CQC have published their framework and handbook for the inspection of local areas’ effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who have SEND.

The inspections will begin in May 2016.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-area-send-inspection-framework

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-area-send-inspection-guidance-for-inspectors

 

Independent special schools and colleges

New lists of all independent schools and colleges for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), including:

  • schools and colleges approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 in England and Wales
  • independent special schools in England, including non-maintained special schools (NMSS)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-special-schools-and-colleges

 

SEN and disability reform: S31 grant determinations

This document details the amount the DfE have allocated each local authority to implement the SEND reforms.

Also included are details of funding for the 9 local authorities acting as regional leads for the reforms in the 2015 to 2016 financial year.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sen-and-disability-reform-s31-grant-determinations

   

What maintained schools must publish online – DfE – Updated April 2016

Every local-authority-maintained school must publish specific information on its website to comply with The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

Academies and free schools need to check their funding agreement to find out what they should publish on their website.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/what-maintained-schools-must-publish-online

 

Schools: statutory guidance – DfE – Updated April 2016

Statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law. They should follow the guidance unless they have a very good reason not to.

There is some guidance that must be followed without exception. In these cases it is made clear in the guidance document itself.

All the statutory guidance documents can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statutory-guidance-schools

 

Focus on SEND training – nasen supported by DfE

Focus on SEND training is a free course aiming to help teachers and educational practitioners working across the 0 – 25 years age range to develop high quality practice in order to better meet the needs of their learners with SEND. It is based on the evidence of what constitutes good continuing professional development (CPD) and so takes a practice- led, enquiry-based and collaborative approach.

The modules explore: high quality practice and what this means for SEND; the participation and engagement both of children or young people and of their parents and families; identifying needs and the role of assessment; the process for arriving at meaningful outcomes; meeting needs and how the cycle of assess, plan, do, review can be used to best effect.  Focus on SEND training offers both online content and opportunities to carry out practical activities in your own setting.

http://oln.nasen.org.uk/

 

 

Children with SEND and SATs – What we know so far! Part 2

Primary School TestsThe 2016 Assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA) for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 were revised in December 2015, their publication coincided with the Interim recommendations from the Rochford Review outlining the reporting arrangements for those pupils who have not completed the relevant key stage programme of study and therefore working below the standard of statutory testing arrangements. This is based on interim guidance which will be for 2016 only.

Key Stage 2

Participation in tests

The tests are designed to be used with all pupils who are working at the standard of the national curriculum. Some pupils working below the ‘expected standard’ and who will not achieve a scaled score of 100 should take the tests. Each teacher should use their knowledge of each pupil to decide whether to administer the tests with them. They may use the sample materials to help inform their decisions.

All pupils who have reached the end of KS2 are included in the calculation of a school’s performance measures, regardless of whether they have been entered for national curriculum tests or dis-applied from the curriculum.

Headteachers should decide whether it is appropriate for each of their pupils to take the tests and explain their school’s decision to parents.

Pupils working below the standard of the tests

Pupils who are assessed as working below the standard of the national curriculum and who are not expected to reach the standard by May 2016 must be registered during the pupil registration period (22nd February – 18th March). They should be marked B on the test attendance register and should not sit the test. Pupils cannot be registered as below the standard of the test for individual components of a test.

For those pupils not entered for the tests, schools should use the interim pre-key stage standards to provide a statutory assessment outcome for the pupil. More information on the pre-key stage standards can be found here.

Please note: The standard of the easiest questions remain the same as on previous tests and therefore if pupils are able to answer the easiest questions they should be entered for the test.

Pupils working at the standard of the tests but who are unable to access them

Schools are responsible for making arrangements to determine whether a pupil is working at the standard of the tests but is unable to access them. These pupils must be registered in the ‘Pupil registration’ section of the NCA tools and marked as T on the test attendance register.

Access arrangements

A small number of pupils will require additional arrangements so they can take part in the KS2 tests. Access arrangements should be based primarily on normal classroom practice for pupils with particular needs. They must never provide an unfair advantage. The support given must not change the test questions and the answers must be the pupils’ own.

Schools must make sure they have documentation to show that a pupil is eligible for access arrangements. This must include evidence that resources are routinely committed to providing this support in the classroom. Schools must be able to show the documentation if they have a monitoring visit. For more information about 2016 access arrangements click here.

Pupils with English as an additional language

Pupils with English as an additional language must be registered for the KS2 tests even if there is a valid reason why they will not take them.

English tests – if pupils cannot communicate in English they will be working below the standard of the English tests and should not take them.

Mathematics tests – teachers should work with language –support staff to translate national curriculum work into the pupil’s preferred language. If the pupil is working at the standard of the tests then the school should use the appropriate access arrangements to support the pupil. If the pupil is working below the standard then they should not take the tests.

Pupils with profound hearing impairment who are unable to access the tests

Pupils with profound hearing loss may not be able to participate in the spelling aspect of the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. The school should apply for a compensatory mark for the test.

Decisions on participation in the tests

Headteachers don’t need permission when making decisions about participation in the tests.

As part of the decision making process, headteachers should:

  • Discuss the pupil’s circumstances and needs with their parents and teachers
  • If appropriate consult with other professionals such as educational psychologists, medical offers or specialist staff

Once the decision has been made the headteacher should explain the decision to parents and write a report explaining why the pupil should not undertake the tests. A copy of this should be sent to parents and the chair of governing body.

Details of the parents’ right to appeal the decision should be included with the report. If it is believed that a parent will have difficulty accessing the report then appropriate assistance should be offered.

Registering pupils

All pupils must be registered for the tests, regardless of whether they will actually sit them.

Registration opens on Monday 22nd February and closes on Friday 18th March.

2016 Assessment and reporting arrangements

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2016-assessment-and-reporting-arrangements-pdf-format-versions

 

Interim teacher assessment frameworks at the end of KS2

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-frameworks-for-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-of-key-stage-2

 

Rochford Review – Interim recommendations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rochford-review-interim-recommendations

 

Children with SEND and SATs – What we know so far! Part 1

The 2016 Assessment and reporting arrangements (ARA) for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 were revised in December 2015, their publication coincided with the Interim recommendations from the Rochford Review outlining the reporting arrangements for those pupils who have not completed the relevant key stage programme of study and therefore working below the standard of statutory testing arrangements. This is based on interim guidance which will be for 2016 only.

Year-6-pupils-taking-Sats-008

Key Stage 1

Participation in tests
Pupils must take the tests if they:
  • Have completed the programme of study for KS1
  • Are considered to be working at the standard of the best
The tests are designed to be used with all pupils at the appropriate standard. Some pupils working below the ‘expected standard’ and who will not achieve a scaled score of 100 should take the tests. Each teacher should use their knowledge of each pupil to decide whether to administer the tests with them. They may use the sample materials to help inform their decisions.
Teachers shouldn’t use the tests with pupils who are:
  • Working below the standard of the tests
  • Are unable to participate in the tests using suitable access arrangements.
Headteachers should decide whether it is appropriate for each of their pupils to take the tests.
In coming to this decision headteachers should:
  • Discuss the pupil’s circumstances and needs with their parents and teachers
  • If appropriate consult with other professionals such as educational psychologists, medical offers or specialist staff
Once the decision has been made the headteacher should explain the decision to parents and write a report explaining why the pupil should not undertake the tests. A copy of this should be sent to parents and the chair of governing body.
If a school decides not to enter a pupil for the tests or if a teacher does not have evidence that a pupil consistently meets all the statements in the lowest standards in the interim teacher assessment frameworks, the interim pre-key stage standards should be used to provide a statutory assessment outcome for the pupil and any reasonable adjustments which reflect usual classroom practice may remain for teacher assessment – more details can be found here.
Access arrangements
The tests are designed so that most pupils with SEND can participate in the standard format. However, teachers may need to use access arrangements to adapt the administrative arrangements for the tests. Using access arrangements during the tests should be based primarily on normal classroom practice. They should neither advantage or disadvantage individual pupils.
2016 Assessment and reporting arrangements
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/2016-key-stage-1-assessment-and-reporting-arrangements-ara
Interim teacher assessment frameworks at the end of KS1
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-frameworks-for-teacher-assessment-at-the-end-of-key-stage-1
Rochford Review – Interim recommendations
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rochford-review

 

 

 

End of Term News Round-up

As prepare for your summer break I thought it would be helpful to do a final update on news that has been published in the last few weeks. As usual there has been a flurry of documentation from DfE and Ofsted right at the end of term when you are all extremely busy and may have missed some or all of them.

Funding for young people with special educational needs – DfE – July 2015

Over the past five years, there have been significant reforms to education funding arrangements to make them more transparent, consistent and fair. Changes to the way in which support for young people with special educational needs (SEN) is funded have been an important aspect of this, and these changes have been designed to support wider reforms of the SEN and disability (SEND) policy framework. In particular, the changes have brought much closer alignment between the funding of high needs in schools and in other post-16 institutions.

This report identifies how the current funding arrangements for children and young people with SEN work, and how they can be improved.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-for-young-people-with-special-educational-needs

0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Unit – July 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter from the DfE contains important information on a number of topics.

  • New transition arrangements – changes to the timescale for Education, Health and care (EHC) needs assessments in transfer reviews

  • Using existing assessment advice and information for EHC needs assessments

  • A summary of the results of the June 2015 Local Authority (LA) and Parent Carer Forum (PCF) surveys – more details in Annex A at the end of this newsletter

  • Sharing information on children and young people with learning disabilities with GPs

  • Post-16 update

  • Consultation on plans for the SEND Inspection Framework

  • Data and research to support local area benchmarking and measure user experience

  • Update on SEN2 data published in May 2015

http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/10972

Edward Timpson’s Letter to Directors of Children’s Services – July 2015

The Minister of State for Children and Families has written to all local authorities to let them know of two measures he has put in place to support the transfer from statements to Education, Health and Care Plans.

Firstly, providing a series of regional events which will help local authorities learn from each other and draw on the most effective approaches that local areas have developed for transfer reviews to ensure they are undertaken in a timely and person-centred way.

Secondly, extending the maximum time-scale for transferring individual statements from 16 – 20 weeks – this will take effect from 1st September 2015.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/edward-timpson-writes-to-directors-of-childrens-services

Assessment Review – July 2015

Diane Rochford, Executive Headteacher of the John F. Kennedy School in East London will oversee a new review into how to assess accurately pupils with lower attainment.It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 pupils whose ability falls below the standard required to take national curriculum tests. The review will consider how best to assess the attainment and progress of this group of pupils so that parents know how their children are doing and schools can be given appropriate credit for the work they do to support their pupils. The review will publish a final report by December 2015. Further information on the membership of the group and its terms of reference will be published on GOV.UK by September.

This review is in addition to the Commission on Assessment without Levels which the DfE launched in March 2015.

It is not clear if this new assessment review will include P Scales – I will keep you posted with any further information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/special-needs-expert-to-head-new-assessment-review

 The Pupil Premium – Next steps – Education Endowment Foundation and Sutton Trust

The Pupil Premium Summit took place on the 1st July 2015> It was jointly organised by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Sutton Trust and brought together leading policy-makers, academics and the teaching profession to discuss how best to improve attainment for disadvantaged pupils, closing the gap between them and their peers. This document was launched at the summit and contains a number of recommendations on how the Pupil Premium should be deployed in the coming years.

The recommendations are:

  • Continued support for the pupil premium, to improve attainment for disadvantaged pupils

  • Continue paying the pupil premium on the basis of disadvantage, not prior attainment

  • A strong commitment to the promotion of rigorous evidence, particularly where it has been tested in randomised control trials

  • Improve teacher training and professional development so that all school leaders and classroom teachers understand how to use data and research effectively

  • More effective systems to allow schools to identify pupil premium funding

  • Extension of pupil premium awards so that schools that successfully and consistently improve results for all while narrowing the attainment gap are properly rewarded

http://www.suttontrust.com/researcharchive/the-pupil-premium/

Baseline Assessment

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has approved three providers for the Baseline Assessment. They are:

  • Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University (CEM)

  • Early Excellence

  • National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

If schools have previously chosen a provider that is no longer on the list of approved providers, they can still use their selected provider. However, the DfE will not reimburse any costs and or report your progress.

Statistical Analysis – Statements of SEN and EHC plans: England 2015

This document contains statistics and analysis on statements of special educational needs (SEN) and education, health and care (EHC) plans in England based on data from the January 2015 census.

The headline figures are:

  • 4205 statutory Education, Health and Care Plans

  • 1360 new EHC Plans

  • 2765 Transferred statements to EHC plans

  • 235,980 statements in place

  • 25,780 new statements issued in 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statements-of-sen-and-ehc-plans-england-2015

 

Mentally Healthy Schools

 

cmhs

With the introduction of social, emotional and mental health as an area of need in the SEND Code of Practice 2015 schools are having to develop strategies and training to support their workforce in identifying and intervening at the earliest stage.

Pupils who are exhibiting withdrawn or isolated behaviour or those displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour are probably experiencing social, emotional or mental health difficulties that they are finding hard to communicate other than through their behaviour.

In extreme cases schools will need to refer to specialist agencies such as CAMHS but the first response to any concerns has to be by the class or subject teacher supported by the SENCO.

With this in mind schools should be ensuring that they are mentally healthy for both staff and pupils.

All schools should have a named lead for mental health and well – being promotion but an ethos that promotes ‘mental health is everyone’s responsibility’.

A mentally healthy school would demonstrate:

  • A school wide commitment to mental health and well-being across all school practice

  • Engagement of leadership and management to effect whole school change

  • Mental health and well-being is a key feature of all school policies, processes and procedures

  • The school culture and environment needs to be mentally healthy

  • Recognition of staff mental health and well-being paramount to the process and high quality professional development available to all

  • A commitment from all staff to being responsive to children and young people’s needs

  • A strong partnerships with parents, carers, families and wider community

  • Clear guidelines for internal and external referrals and good links with external agencies to provide access to support and information

  • Celebrating success by ensuring assessment , record keeping and reporting systems are in place that recognise progress, attainment and achievement

There are an increasing number of good resources now available to support schools – a selection of these can be found on my resources page 

 If you are using something different in your school and recommend to other schools please let me know and I will add to the list.  Contact Me

Successful Interventions being used in schools

interventionDuring last term I had the great pleasure of working with many SENCOs across England. They have shared with me the interventions they are using in their schools to support both underachieving and SEND children and young people. Below is a summary of some of the most popular interventions and links so you can find out more. If you have others that you would like to share with colleagues please let me know and I will add them to the list – Contact Me

 

 

 

 

 

Numiconis a multi-sensory approach to teaching mathematics based on a proven pedagogy that raises achievement across all ability levels and sustains it over time. It is supported by bespoke professional development

  • Develops fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall.

  • Helps children to reason mathematically through the use of concrete objects and spoken language to explain and justify.

  • Develops children into confident problem-solvers.

Click here to find out more: Numicon Intervention

Fisher Family Trust Wave 3: is an early intervention for children in Year 1 who have difficulties learning to read and write.  FFT Wave 3 is aimed at children who are unable to access a scripted group intervention, but who do not have the depth of need that would require the support of a Reading Recovery programme. It is based on the pedagogy and practice of Reading Recovery.

Click here to find out more: Fisher Family Trust Wave 3

Fisher Family TrustWrite Away TogetherA  Write Away Together session involves a dialogue between a child and a trained partner about a piece of independent writing.   The aim of the dialogue is to help the child understand how they can improve their work at text, sentence and word level and to embed strategies that will improve children’s independent writing.  The programme has also been adapted to support the development of writing skills with the whole class or a group.

Click here to find out more: FFT Write Away

Fisher Family Trust Reciprocal Reading: is an effective and proven approach to developing reading and comprehension.  As an intervention programme it is particularly effective with children who can decode but do not fully understand what they read. However the reciprocal reading approach and strategies are also very helpful for shared reading and, particularly, guided reading.

Click here to find out more: FFT Reciprocal Reading

Read Write Inc Fresh Start:  is a phonics intervention that gets struggling readers and writers in key stage 2 at the expected level for secondary school. The programme can also be used to rescue struggling readers and writers in key stage 3

Click here to find out more:  Read Write

 

Every Child Counts – Every Child Counts helps schools to raise achievement through: a range of interventions to support children who struggle with literacy or mathematics developing teaching standards to sustain high achievement for all children

Click here to find out more: Every Child Counts

Numeracy

1stClass@NumberTM is an innovative, highly effective mathematics intervention.  It is delivered by trained teaching assistants to small groups of children who have fallen behind at mathematics.  It helps them to get back on track and catch up with their

Numbers CountTM is a highly effective intervention.  It is delivered by a specially trained teacher to children who find mathematics extremely difficult

Success@Arithmetic is a light touch calculation-based intervention for learners in upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 who have difficulties with arithmetic proficiency. It helps them to make faster progress and to catch up with their peers.

Talk 4 Number is a structured light touch intervention delivered by a teaching assistant to a small group of up to 4 pupils who need support to improve their understanding and use of the language of number.

Literacy

Better Reading Support Partners is a ˜light touch” reading intervention for pupils in Years 1 to 10 who have fallen behind at reading. A specially trained Better Reading Support Partner delivers a short one-to-one support programme to help them to develop independent reading and comprehension skills

Project X CODE embeds systematic synthetic phonics into a reading intervention programme that is targeted at struggling readers in Years 2 to 4

Phonics Counts is for children in Years 1 to 3 who have the greatest difficulties with reading and have fallen seriously behind their peers.  It particularly helps those who have an insufficient grasp of phonics as the prime approach to decoding and encoding, including children who have had considerable problems with the Year 1 phonics screening check.

1stClass@Writing is a new, highly effective intervention for pupils mainly in Years 3 to 5 who have fallen behind at writing.  A trained teaching assistant or teacher delivers it to a small group of up to 4 pupils who have difficulties with transcription and composition, to help them to make faster progress so that they can catch up with their peers.

Move4Words:  is an inclusive, whole-class sensory training programme for use in schools, taking 10 – 15 minutes per day, for 12 weeks.

It helps youngsters improve their reading through a series of classroom movement exercises which focus their attention on body and eye movement. The programme also includes rhythm, timing, listening exercises, mindfulness, breathing training and relaxation.

Click here to find out more: Move4Words

 

Talk of the Town (TOTT): offers a systematic approach to supporting speech, language and communication following key principles of practice and a systematic process of delivery.

It aims to facilitate early identification, encourage joined up working and improve outcomes for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). It addresses the worryingly high level of language delay that exists, especially in areas of social deprivation.

Click here to find out more: Talk of The Town

 

Language LinkInfant Language Link and Junior Language Link include a language screening assessment and a whole range of supporting resources and advice are provided to address both classroom practice and small group work. The assessments are recommended for use as a universal screen on school entry and the start of Key Stage 2.

Click here to find out more: Language Link

 

Talk Boost is a structured and robustly evidenced programme that can boost a child’s communication by an average of 18 months after ten weeks of intervention

Click here to find out more: Talk Boost

 

Wordshark and NumberShark is a computer program using games to help reading and spelling – Numbershark is a program to help anyone improve their numeracy. It addresses many of the difficulties which lead students to dislike maths.

Click here to find out more: Wordshark/Numbershark

 

Acceleread/Accelewrite provides full instructions on how to use a computer with text to speech software, to improve reading, writing, spelling and listening skills of pupils who are experiencing literacy difficulties. This is achieved through structured phonics exercises over a recommended period of time.

Click here to find out more: Acceleread/Accelewrite

 

Toe by Toe is a highly systematic page-by-page and step-by-step series of activities in one book, delivered one-to-one, with instructions for the ‘coach’ provided for each activity. It deliberately takes learners right back to the beginning of phonics and works up from there, based on the observation that many learners with difficulties seem never to have got the hang of phonics.

Click here to find out more: Toe by Toe

 

Lexia Reading™ enables students of all ages and abilities to master essential reading skills. Lexia can be used as a component of any literacy curriculum, and the needs of both primary and secondary schools can be met, at very little cost when compared to traditional approaches, which are often difficult to manage.

Click here to find out more: Lexia

 

You may also find the following helpful:

The Communications Trust – What Works database of evidenced interventions to support children’s speech, language and communication.

http://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/whatworks

The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust – What works for children and young people with literacy difficulties – the effectiveness of intervention schemes

http://www.interventionsforliteracy.org.uk/widgets_GregBrooks/What_works_for_children_fourth_ed.pdf

The EEF/Sutton Trust Teaching and Learning Toolkit

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/

What do we mean by ALL children?

exam-stress

ALL – an adjective meaning:

  • The whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration)

  • The whole number of (used in referring to individuals or particulars, taken collectively)

  • The greatest possible (used in referring to quality or degree)

  • Every

When using this adjective to describe children in schools we assume the meaning to be 100% of pupils.

In February Education Secretary, Nikki Morgan, said that ALL children in England will be expected to know up to their 12 times table when they leave primary school and that they should also know correct punctuation, spelling and grammar.

This week the Conservative Government have announced that ALL children who do not get good grades in KS2 SATs will have to re-sit them in Year 7. The expectation being, I assume, that they will achieve good grades by the end of Year 7.

That means that the Conservative Government’s latest announcement (08.04.15) is expecting that 100% of all pupils will achieve the national standard (whatever that will mean in the future) by age 12 (was 11 but now extended to the end of Year 7).

However, they also state that children with SEN will not have to undertake re-sits.  It is not clear if they mean those children in special schools or ALL children identified with special educational needs.

The DfE Statistical First Release National curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2 in England: 2014 indicates that approximately 21% of pupils in England did not attain Level 4 or above in reading, writing and mathematics.  Coincidentally, according to the DfE Statistical First Release Special Educational Needs: January 2014, 21% of year 6 pupils in 2014 were identified as having special educational needs, a significant number are therefore unlikely to achieve this national standard, implying that that there are in fact, very few children who will be required to undertake re-sits, unless politicians are only referring to those children with a statement (3.2% in Year 6 in 2014).

My question is why are we not putting additional resources to support children with SEN both in special and mainstream schools rather than waste a significant amount on additional resource on testing processes and procedures for what will be a very small group of children?

The SEND Reforms introduced through the Children and Families Act 2014 make it very clear that every teacher is responsible and accountable for the progress of all pupils that they teach.  Schools are working hard to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and understanding to meet the needs of ALL pupils and SENCOs are reporting that moving to a single category, SEN Support is resulting in teachers having a clearer understanding of the difference between underachievement and SEN.

 I believe that this would have been reflected in a reduction in numbers of pupils identified as SEN in future years.

Will this latest announcement reverse this trend? Have they thought this through?

I have spent the whole of my educational career working tirelessly to support vulnerable young people and I am concerned when I hear that “ALL children will ……” In fact, I know that ALL children won’t but this is not due to low expectation, low aspiration or mediocracy. This is because some children, for many different reasons, will not learn and attain at the same rates as their peers but they will make progress and we must celebrate the achievements of ALL children not just those who manage to reach “national standard” by a certain date.

The casual use of the word ALL says to me that politicians don’t really mean ALL. The Statistical First Release Special Educational Needs in England: January 2014 indicates that 17.9% of children in schools have been identified with special educational needs. It would appear that they are not recognised as part of the whole school population – ALL therefore means 82.1% of children! Or does it?

Politicians are setting up a whole generation of children and young people for a life-time of failure – from the Development Check at age 2 to GCSEs at age 16 there will be a significant group of pupils who will be unable to meet the national standard.

In my view (and I suspect, in the view of many fellow professionals) ALL children have a right to an education that meets their needs and enables them to learn and progress to reach their full potential within an education system that recognises ALL achievement. What a pity that politicians have yet again resorted to sweeping generalisations, in order to court popularity.

The importance of high quality ITT and CPD for staff working with children and young people with SEND.

The January census in 2014 highlighted that nearly 1.5 million children and young people in England were identified with a special educational need and/or disability. It can therefore be assumed that every teacher at some point in their career will be a teacher of those with SEND.

Section 6.36 and 6.37 of the SEND Code of Practice:0-25 years (DfE, 2014) is very clear that:

Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.

High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils is the first step to responding to pupils who have or may have SEN.

I was delighted that The Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training published in January 2015 indicated that “all teachers are potentially teachers of SEND” and therefore it is very important that all new teachers should receive training on how to support pupils with SEND. Currently this training is optional and many ITT providers do not offer intensive SEN programmes to support the work of our future teachers. In my opinion, this should be made mandatory.

I was also delighted to read in the same review that child and adolescent development should form an intrinsic part in the initial teacher training programme. As a primary trainee teacher in the 1970’s I do not believe I would have been an effective teacher without the knowledge I acquired about child development within my teaching certificate programme.

However, even if we do see the recommendations of the Carter Review come to fruition it will be a number of years before we begin to see SEND trained teachers in our schools. The question we need to ask ourselves today is whether our school workforce is trained to meet the complex and diverse needs of children identified with SEND in our schools?

The introduction of the single category of SEND Support and the graduated approach means that every teacher must take responsibility for the teaching and learning of every pupil. It is not someone else’s responsibility. Schools must recognise the importance of high quality professional development for all staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to meet the challenging complex needs that are now being identified within our school population.

In practice this is demanding, both in terms of time and resources, but a well trained and experienced team will offer outstanding teaching to all pupils and will have long term effect on pupil and school performance.

This is not about staff having to go on expensive training courses or having to use whole school training day or twilight sessions to upskill staff. There are many ways that we can support our colleagues in school.

A ten step guide to SEN CPD

Here are my suggestions as to the steps to undertake in order to ensure that SEN professionals develop in line with the changing demands of current requirements:

  • Audit the skills and expertise of the current school workforce
  • Audit the whole school professional development needs for SEND based on the current cohorts of children and young people
  • Using the information from the two audits develop a CPD programme using internal staff to deliver wherever possible
  • Offer opportunities for teachers to observe each other, teach alongside each other, visit other classrooms and visit other schools
  • Offer opportunities for the SENCO to meet with other SENCOs to share good practice across a number of schools
  • Offer opportunities for staff to reflect on their practice and feel comfortable in sharing both the positive and the negative moments
  • Organise at least one training day per year to support SEN and Inclusion – One-in- five for One –in – five!
  • Establish an ethos that values everyone’s expertise including how children and young people might be able to contribute to training sessions
  • Develop a relationship with your local Teaching School to share good practice through school –to-school support or to help develop a CPD programme for your area
  • Use on-line training packages that staff can undertake in school
  • Offer every member of staff access to high quality professional development that meets their needs and enables them to deliver outstanding teaching to every pupil every day.

References

Statistical First Release – SEN in England: January 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england-january-2014

The SEND Code of Practice:0-25years (DfE, 2014)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

The Carter Review of Initial Teacher Education January 2015

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carter-review-of-initial-teacher-training

On-line training

http://www.sendgateway.org.uk/resources.html?keyword=&type=resources&sort_by=date&g_audience=&info_type=training-resource

New Year’s Resolutions for SENCOs

Be assertive:

Learn to say NO! Many local authorities are asking SENCOs to undertake the transfer of statements to Education, Health and Care Plans – this is a local authority duty and should not have to be undertaken by the school. Schools have a duty to co-operate with the local authority by providing information and evidence but the local authority is responsible for the “transfer review”, the EHC needs assessment and the production of the EHC Plan.

More information can be found in: Transition to the new 0-25 SEND system – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-managing-changes-to-legislation-from-september-2014

Be supportive:

All staff within your school will need support and guidance in the identification and intervention of pupils with SEND.  This is a key part of your strategic role BUT remember “Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff” (6.36 SEND Code of Practice 0-25). If the question is “what are you going to do about….” The answer that should follow is “What have you already done…..”

Your key role in this will be to offer high quality professional development for all staff. You may need to think about how the school will ensure that the voice of pupils and parents is at the heart of the SEND Policy and how information about pupil progress will be shared.

Be organised:

Information required in the 2015 January census will reflect the changes in the SEND Code of Practice 0-25. The expectation is that schools will have reviewed their cohort of pupils that were SA and SA+ and any new or reviewed pupils will be recorded under the SEN Support category in the January census. In the same way, pupils who were identified within the old category of Behaviour. Social and Emotional Difficulties should be re-categorised. Many will directly transfer to the new category of Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs but schools should consider the primary need of each individual and categorise accordingly (eg: this may be a Communication and Interaction Need).

More information can be found in: Part 4.5 of the School census 2014 to 2015: guide for schools and LAs – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-census-2014-to-2015-guide-for-schools-and-las

Be effective:

The changing role of the SENCO under the new SEND reforms means that you now have a much more strategic role to play and you need to evaluate your effectiveness in terms of the progress being made by pupils with SEND across the school. You may wish to review:

  • how you monitor the progress of SEN pupils
  • how this is recorded and shared
  • how you monitor if high quality differentiated teaching is being delivered in every classroom
  • how you support staff who may be having difficulties

Be collaborative:

At a time of immense change it is very easy to immerse yourself in the tasks you feel must be completed without taking time-out to reflect on your practice and seek support and guidance from other like-minded professionals. The SENCO role can be very lonely – in most schools there is only one of you and therefore we must find ways of seeking networks of support from each other. It is possible that Local Authority SENCO Network meetings have ceased due to lack of funding/personnel to manage them. If this is the case establish contact with SENCOs within your cluster, academy chain or through a local Teaching School. A termly meeting after school with other SENCOs will give you an opportunity to share good practice, discuss concerns and seek advice on individual issues.

Be realistic:

There are only so many hours in a day that you will have to carry out your SENCO duties and therefore you need to decide what tasks can be done and what will have to wait.  You also need to assess whether the time you are given to carry out your SENCO duties is reasonable and if not discuss this with SLT or your SEN Governor.

The SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 (6.91) clearly states that “ the school should ensure that the SENCO has sufficient time and resources to carry out these functions. This should include providing the SENCO sufficient administrative support and time away from teaching to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities in a similar way to other important strategic roles within school”

It is very easy to forget about your own health and well-being when faced with a plethora of tasks that need completing. Take care of yourself!

Updated Blog on School Funding and SEND – Where will the funding come from?

The SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 years (2014) states clearly that:

“All mainstream schools are provided with resources to support those with additional needs, including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. These resources will be determined by a local funding formula, discussed with the local schools forum, which is also applied to local academies.” 6.95

School budgets are made up of three elements

Element 1 is the per pupil amount.  Every school will receive their main budget through pupil numbers. Every pupil will be worth a set amount of money – this differs from LA to LA and increases with age (secondary pupils get more than primary).  This is the pot of money that supports all learning so will be used for staff salaries, buildings, resources etc. A percentage of this should be spent on supporting SEN pupils.

Element 2 is the notional SEN budget which has no direct link to pupils in school identified with SEN. The notional SEN budget is worked out based on three factors:

  • Free School Meals

  • Prior Attainment

  • Deprivation

This funding is not ring-fenced for SEN and it is for the school leadership team, governing body and SENCO to decide how it is spent to effectively support those pupils who require additional support.

There is an expectation that every school will spend a notional £6000 on additional support or intervention (per SEN pupil, per year).  This includes pupils with a statement or an EHC plan.

Element 3 is Top-Up Funding. Where a school requires more funding (above the notional £6000) to support an individual’s needs it can apply for top-up funding from the LA. Schools will need to have very strong evidence and progress data to show what has already been provided, over and above high quality, differentiated teaching, and the impact on this school-led provision. The LA will decide if top –up funding is required based on the evidence submitted by the school.

For those children with a statement/EHC Plan – funding will be given over and above the £6000 to support the outcomes/ provision on the statement /plan.  Section F of an Education, Health and Care must specify the provision for each of the child’s needs. This provision must be detailed, specific and where possible quantified and should be very clear about how the provision will support the outcomes.  Schools will therefore have to ensure that any provision they put in place is not just about the “hours” of support but about the learning and progress that is taking place to meet the outcomes specified in the plan.

Every local authority will hold a “high-needs” pot and this is where the top-up funding will come from. Every special school receives £10,000 per pupil and many will require significant top – up for children with complex needs. On top of this many local authorities have children in very expensive out of county/borough placements which also have to be funded. Finally, this is also where LA statutory services and personal budgets come from.

I believe what will be left in that “high-needs” pot for mainstream schools  is going to be limited.

The Code of Practice states that schools should not have to pay for the very specialist support and this would come via the LA BUT the reduction in LA personnel and the significant work-load for those who remain around the transfer of statements to EHC plans means that many schools are struggling to access adequate specialist support and are finding they are having to commission it from external sources.

Pupil PremiumThis is totally separate to the school budget and is given to disadvantaged children (those in receipt of FSM, looked after children, and children from service families) Some of these will be identified with SEN and therefore the pupil premium should be used to support their progress. This should not be used instead of the school budget it should be in addition to. Although schools have to clearly show how they have spent PP and the difference it has made to an individual’s progress, schools can be creative and use it to support other children as well. For example – a school buys in a SALT for two days to train a group of support staff to deliver interventions. The funding could come from 2 pupil’s PP and they would obviously be the key focus for monitoring and evaluation of progress but others could benefit from the training that the support staff have undertaken.

 

SEND Code of Practice is Finally Here!

Welcome back to the new academic year. I hope that you have all had  a restful break and are ready to begin the implementation of the SEND Reforms. If you missed it, the SEND Code of Practice has been approved and the final document can be found on the DfE website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

To help you I have updated my summary document which gives you a short synopsis of each chapter. Click here to download: Summary of Code of Practice September 2014.

Over the summer there have been a number of articles and documents published supporting the implementation of the SEND Reforms. You can find a list of these on my latest news page.

Preparing for change – What should schools be doing to prepare for implementing the new SEND Code of Practice

The new SEND Code of Practice was finally given parliamentary approval in July 2014 for implementation from September 2014. It sets out clear guidance to early years settings and schools on the process for appropriate identification, monitoring and securing further support for children with SEN.
Schools need to be preparing for the changes outlined in the Code of Practice – here is a ten step guide to preparing for change.

  • Read the relevant chapters of the Code of Practice.

  • Make sure all staff, governing body and parents are aware of the new SEND legislation.

  • Develop your SEN Information Report and publish on your website.

  • Ensure that everyone in the school understands what is expected from every teacher, every day. What does Quality First Teaching look like in our school?

  • Review your current school action and school action plus pupils and decide which pupils will be transferred to the single category, SEN Support.

  • Ensure that all staff understand the graduated approach four-part-cycle and have the knowledge and skills to develop and plan for each pupil who requires SEN Support.

  • Review and revise the school’s SEND Policy.

  • Review your SEND register and record keeping systems (IEPs are not statutory).

  • Carry out a professional development audit for all staff and develop a programme of CPD to ensure the school workforce is being used effectively to meet the needs of all pupils.

  • Review the effectiveness of school funding and Pupil Premium for SEND pupils.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

What does the draft SEND Code of Practice say about school transport?

School transport for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is a major concern for parents and schools. The quality of the transport provision can make a significant difference to how the child arrives at school in the morning or home at the end of the school day.

The new SEND Code of Practice outlines local authorities’ responsibilities in regard to this very important factor in supporting children and young people with SEND:
• The Local Offer must include information about arrangements for transport provision, including for those up to age 25 with an EHC plan, this should also include local authorities’ policy statements

• Local authorities must ensure that suitable travel arrangements are made where necessary to facilitate an eligible child’s attendance at school – as laid out in section 508B of the Education Act 1996

• Local authorities must publish a transport policy statement each year setting out the travel arrangements they will make to support young people aged 16-19 and learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities aged up to 25, to access further education

• Local authorities must include in their Local Offer information about:

– any specific arrangements for specialised transport

– any support available from the local authority or others with transport costs

– any support that is offered to children and young people to help them use transport, including public transport

– any training given to aid independent travel

Providing transport for pupils with special needs is expensive, but safety and quality of service are essential to meet the needs of our most vulnerable young people.

SEND is changing fast. Is your authority or organisation ready for the new SEND Code of Practice, or for the introduction of the new Education, Health and Care plans? Are you prepared for delivering services from 0-25 years? Is your local offer adequate? Do you understand the personalisation agenda? Are you really promoting independence and inclusion for all?

If you want to find out more I will be speaking on this topic at “Interchangeability 2014” in 2 weeks time.

This unique event brings together those involved in delivering safe and effective school transport systems from around the world, enabling the sharing of good practice, ideas and innovative solutions.

It will provide senior managers, SEN officers, transport managers, travel trainers, transport providers and college/school support staff with up to date information on the legislative changes taking effect from September 2014 and an opportunity to discuss the transport implications with special education experts.

For more information click this document: Interchangeability – special education transport  or visit http://www.interchange-ability.com/

Revised SEN Code of Practice – April 2014

A revised draft of the new SEND Code of Practice was published on 16th April and is now available for consultation (closing date 6th May). This revised draft has increased from 174 pages to 242 pages with a number of additions based on the feedback from the first consultation.

I have prepared a summary of the revised Code of Practice (available at http://lpec.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Revised-summary-of-Code-of-Practice-April-14.pdf ) which will give you an overview of what it now contains and help in finding your way around the full document.

The DfE is still continuing to anticipate that the new Code, together with the majority of Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, and its associated regulations, will be in force from 1st September 2014.

The consultation is not intended to provide a further opportunity to comment on all aspects of the revised Code of Practice.
They are seeking responses to the following two questions:
1. Does the Code clearly reflect the changes made to the consultation draft to take account of the amendments to the Children and Families Bill?
2. Do changes to the Code, and the plans to produce supplementary materials address the responses to the main consultation on clarity, layout and accessibility?
If you wish to respond to the e-consultation you will find the relevant documents at:

https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/

The Children and Families Act 2014

It has been a very long and arduous journey from February 2011, when the DfE published its Green Paper: “Support and Aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability” to March 2014 when the Children and Families Bill finally received Royal Assent. Not all of the aspiration of that original Green Paper is evident  in the final Act but there is a great deal that will support children and young people with SEND as we begin to work towards  the Act being implemented across the sector.

However, three years on the SEND journey continues for at least another three years. Until we have sight of the SEND Code of Practice we will not know the final detail of what the Act means and how we need to implement the new law on a day-to-day basis.

The announcement of the Children and Families Act indicated that the Code of Practice would be available shortly ahead of reforms coming into force in September.  The new Code still has to pass through both Houses of Parliament by “Affirmative Resolution” after a debate and a vote in each House. It may still be rejected by either House and if this was to be the case then the Bill’s implementation could be delayed while the Code’s issues are sorted out.

This really concerns me as schools are beginning to prepare for these changes and they desperately need to have the guidance to ensure a smooth transition.

While schools are waiting there are a number of things they could be doing to prepare for September:

  • Think about the School’s Offer – what does your school offer children and young people with SEND on a daily basis?
  • Ensure that all staff and governors understand the new legislation and their role in implementing it
  • Review your SEN Policy in light of the changes
  • Develop a whole school policy on Quality First Teaching – what does this look like in our school?
  • Offer CPD opportunities to support staff in identifying individual needs and support them with personalising their teaching and learning to support these needs
  • Develop a school strategy for managing the single category – SEN Support and the graduated response – Plan, Assess, Do, Review

For more information about the Children and Families Act visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-children-and-families-act-2014-gains-royal-assent