DfE to scrap attainment targets for SEND pupils

By Joe Lepper

| 25 May 2018

The Department for Education is looking to boost support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by overhauling the way they are assessed in schools.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the changes would allow children with SEND to be better supported to transition onto the national curriculum. Picture: UK Parliament

The introduction of "pre-key stage standards" from September aims to make it easier for children with SEND to make the transition onto the national curriculum.

Pupils working below the national curriculum, many of whom have a SEND, are currently subject to "P scales" attainment targets. But these are to be scrapped by the government following an independent review, chaired by special school headteacher Diane Rochford, into testing of SEND pupils.

An October 2016 report from the review revealed that 60 per cent of parents and carers did not think P scales provided useful information about their child.

The new standards will have a stronger focus on assessing the abilities of each child and give schools more freedom to tailor the curriculum to pupils' individual needs.

See all our resources on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

"These pre-key stage standards will help to recognise what pupils can do in relation to the national curriculum, while removing P scales will liberate schools to develop their own curriculum and assessments which meet the needs of their pupils," said Rochford.

Schools minister Nick Gibb added: "Today's publication will help ensure pupils with these additional needs are better supported to transition onto the national curriculum, if and when they are ready to do so."

The change has been welcomed by National Union of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman.

"The new standards are an improvement on what we had before," he said.

"They offer a more inclusive statutory assessment system, where all pupils are able to transition onto the national curriculum if and when they are ready."

Earlier this month the government announced £27m worth of contracts to further improve support for children with SEND.

This includes a £20m scheme whereby the Council for Disabled Children and Contact provide impartial advice and information to families and young people.

Yesterday it emerged that the number of children being refused formal SEND support through an education, health and care plan has more than tripled since 2014.

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