To P or not to P? That is the question : My response to the Rochford Review final report


So after a long time waiting the Rochford Review final report has been published bringing with it a series of 10 recommendations to be considered for implementation by the DfE (summary on page 7 of the report).

The report and it’s recommendations has been a big topic of conversation  with practitioners on SLD forum and some colleagues have blogged on the report already such as this helpful review from @cherrylkd. I am sure it will be something we will want to chat about on @SENexchange too!

It would be hard to disagree with the underlying  / guiding principles outlined on page 11 of the report – principles which underpin the work we are so passionate about with our learners with SEND. I appreciate however how they are spelled out for us, reminding us of their importance. It is hard to pick out ‘favourites’ from the list of 11…

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The Rochford Review-Final Report


The long awaited Rochford Review chaired by Diane Rochford  has finally been published. For those who don’t know this is the expert review of statutory assessment for pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests.

In December 2015 there had been some interim recommendations from the expert group regarding children with special educational needs and those with the most severe and complex needs who have their outcomes reported using the P scales. For these children there was to be no change, P Scales  although aligned with the old national curriculum would continue and schools would do their best to adapt for 2015-16. Extra pre-key stage standards containing ‘pupil can’ statements were introduced for reporting for those children who had not yet completed the whole programme of study but had reached the chronological age that requires a statutory assessment outcome to be reported. The Interim Pre-Key Stage standards were…

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The Special Schools’ Curriculum Question By Lara Hughes


With the removal of National Curriculum Levels and the impending demise of P Scales many Special Schools are feeling worried about what they are going to replace them with. For some, the anxiety is even greater because these assessment materials have formed the basis of their whole curriculum. This is the unintended consequence of any assessment; teaching to the test.  Assessment criteria can also act as a crutch, so when a teacher thinks, “I don’t know what to do next for this student” they refer to the criteria for the next stage and so become intellectually disengaged with what learning looks like for that student. Whilst the P scales may offer some guidance, they do not and were not intended to show the nuanced progress that a child can make, either vertically or more often laterally and were certainly not formed to be used as the backbone of any curriculum…

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Defeat is the Enemy

FASD: Learning with Hope

my-heart-broke-for-the-thousandth-time-watching-him-rage-against-this-world-and-the-pressures-we-put-on-him-to-conform-2By @FASD_Mum

He was on the floor, screaming, his voice hoarse from crying.  He did not want to go to school. He tried to tell us this in every way he could.  It started as soon as he woke up, “Mum, my nose is still running. [It wasn’t.] I have a cold.  [He did, last week.]  I can’t go to school.”  Later on he changed his approach, said his tummy ached.  Then he switched tack and told us he doesn’t like school, it’s “boring.”  “I want to stay home with you.”  As his more peaceful entreaties failed to sway us, as we brought out the school uniform and steamrolled past his comments trying to get him dressed, his panic began to escalate and became palpable.  It stopped being words, started being actions.  Running up to his room, hiding under covers.  Going into his calm space, pulling the curtains, asking us…

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Inclusive Classroom: 5 Things to Consider when Including a Student in your Class

Special Education and Inclusive Learning

For my first post I thought I would write a few ideas about seating a student with SEN or who has difficulty focusing within your classroom. Each student is of course an individual and these are just general ideas that may help you.


1) Can they see you easily? If the student has to turn their head or look up to look at you they will become uncomfortable and fidgety. Make sure no student is having to crane their neck past the back of another students head.

2) Are you giving them opportunity to interact with their peers? Consider who is close enough for each student to talk to. Are they likely to share an interest. Identify the most empathetic students that could act as peer mentors.

3) Will they be dominated by another student? Is there a student who demands attention and is always first to answer or put…

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My new world


I am finding myself referring a lot to ‘my new life’ or ‘my new world’ post PRU, but in truth it is not very different to my old one in terms of being there for schools and helping children!

So what has been happening? I don’t want this blog to come across as just a blueprint for setting up your own business but actually good forward planning and organisation are key. It has taken me many months to get my business together and a fair financial input too! Whilst I was still at school I concentrated on infrastructure. Finding the right name was extremely important. I decided to be a sole trader and I wanted something catchy but not jokey, and definitely nothing with ‘solutions’ or ‘inclusion’ in it, important as these are. Actually I don’t feel I have * solutions* , I have actions that are worth trying which…

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Why take the barriers down?


For 9 consecutive years I gave up 8 full days at Christmas to volunteer at a shelter for homeless people. ‘Gave up’ is a commonly used term for such apparent altruistic behaviours but the truth is, as for most people, my behaviours were reinforced by the rewards I reaped from being part of an project that seemed to really make a difference to a group I genuinely cared about.

I chose the same shifts each year. 3pm until 11pm. The action shift. The drinking shift. The dinner shift. The awake shift. The quarrelling shift. The A&E shift, at times. After a couple of years, I progressed to take on more responsibilities during the week. A ‘Key’ volunteer, with a radio, who was called to either help with a difficult situation directly, or divert likely causes that might escalate, and help ensure that volunteers and other ‘guests’ were kept safe.

There were other strategies for…

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He’s Too Special to Let Fail

FASD: Learning with Hope

we-love-a-child-with-fasd-3By @FASD_Mum

Special.  This one word has been swimming in my mind lately – in and out of focus, but always there.  Sometimes when it surfaces, my heart jumps with optimism.  Other times it makes me stop in fear. “Special” can mean different things in different contexts.

Our guy is suffering in mainstream secondary school this year.  No, he is not having the horrible kind of exclusion and belittling, uncaring experiences too many kids with FASD have at schools that don’t cooperate or engage with kids who have complex profiles.  On the contrary, our son has very able and willing teams of people trying their best to integrate him into mainstream education.  This is after all the law.

And yet, his chances of success have been crushed by massive far-reaching radical changes in national policy.  Here in the UK changes to national standardized tests – called GCSEs – are making it…

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