Today, 6 October 2017, the DfE SEN Implementation Team have released the following announcement:

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Rochford Review recommendations: appeal to schools to trial new assessments for pupils below the standard of national curriculum tests

The government’s response to the Rochford Review consultation was published on 14 September.  It set out plans for two important changes for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests:

  • For pupils engaged in subject-specific learning, it accepts the Review’s recommendation that the interim pre-key stage standards are made permanent and extended to cover all of these pupils.  To give schools adequate time to prepare for these changes, this will take effect from the 2018/19 academic year onwards, with the full suite of pre-key stage standards being published in the 2017/18 spring term.
  • For pupils not yet engaged in subject-specific learning, a pilot of the review’s recommended approach to assessing these pupils using the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning will be run in the 2017/18 academic year, before taking any final decisions on whether to implement this approach on a statutory basis.

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) will be working with schools to run two projects to prepare for these changes:

1.  Pre-key stage standard review:

The pre-key stage standards will be reviewed, working with teachers and other educational experts, to ensure that they are fit for purpose.  This review will follow a thorough process, including: an evaluation by practising teachers, head teachers and local authority representatives; an expert review to act on feedback; and trialling of the final versions.  We plan to publish the full suite of pre-key stage standards in spring 2018, for first use by schools in the 2018/19 academic year.

Schools are needed to take part in:

  • An evaluation in autumn term 2017
  • Trialling in spring term 2018

2.  Pilot of the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning

The pilot will run this academic year, ending in summer 2018, involving approximately 50 schools assessing their pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the 7 areas of engagement for cognition and learning.  This work will be school-led, with flexibility to develop bespoke approaches based on the 7 areas of engagement that are tailored to the needs of their cohort.  However, participating schools will receive support and guidance, including through 8 regional teaching school hubs, to implement their approach and share practice with others.  An external research body will be conducting an evaluation of the pilot before any final decisions on whether to implement this approach are made.

Schools are needed to take part in the pilot, which will run from approximately October half term until the end of the summer term.  The project will involve using the 7 areas of engagement throughout, and include initial set-up meetings, a mid-point feedback session in the spring term, and an end-point feedback session in the summer term.

Schools wanting to get involved

If a school would like to volunteer to take part in either of these pilots, or request further information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Please provide the following information:

  • The name of your school
  • A named contact in your school
  • An approximate number of your pupils that are working below the standard of national curriculum tests, and any relevant information about their school demographics.

For any related events run by the STA, attendees will be reimbursed standard class travel expenses in full and overnight accommodation costs, and teachers’ supply cover will also be paid.

Changes to improve access to apprenticeships for people with a learning difficulty and / or disability

We are pleased to announce that we have made changes to the regular minimum English and maths requirements needed to complete an apprenticeship for people with a learning difficulty or disability who have, or previously had, an Education, Health and Care plan, a Statement of Special Educational Needs or a Learning Difficulty Assessment.  These changes will allow more people to access apprenticeships. A pdf guidance document explaining the chainges is avaiable.

These changes have been made as part of our work to implement the recommendations of the 2016 taskforce led by Paul Maynard to improve access to apprenticeships for people with a learning difficulty and / or disability. Please see the pdf Maynard Taskforce Update ).

Please do share details of the changes we have made to the English and maths requirements across your network so that as many people as possible can benefit (please see attachment English and Maths apprenticeship changes Sept 2017).

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the National Apprenticeship Service on 0800 015 0400. If you are a training provider, you should contact the Business Operations Service Centre on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


School Admissions Briefing

The Council for Disabled Children has published a School Admissions Briefing, with information intended to help parents of disabled children and young people, parents of children and young people with SEN and professionals advising parents including those in Information, Advice and Support Services.

The briefing provides a summary of schools admission arrangements and focuses on issues that are particularly relevant to the admission of disabled children and children with SEN

SENCO Forum e-discussion group

We are asking local authorities to bring the National SENCO Forum to the attention of schools, settings and SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators).  The Forum, now in its twenty first year of operation, provides an opportunity for SENCOs and other SEN professionals to discuss issues and share information and practical advice.  The Forum offers independent, solution-based support in a collaborative and mutual way to both new to role and
experienced SENCOs. Advice provided is based on the direct experience of SEN professionals, relevant research evidence and national/local policy guidance.

More information about the Forum and joining instructions can be found at: http://lists.education.gov.uk/mailman/listinfo/senco-forum 

Questions about using the Forum to disseminate information about SEN focused research, policy and practice can be addressed to the SENCo Forum Advisory Group Chair, Christopher Robertson at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Please also see available flyers for the  pdf Education and Training Foundation: Improving Outcomes for learners with SEND workshop and the  pdf NHS England Building Blocks for Change: Personalisation and Transforming Care workshop .

The Department for Education has published, on 14 September 2017, the government’s response to the ‘Primary assessment in England’ public consultation. Details are set out in a statement made to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening.

The response confirms the government’s intention to establish a settled, trusted primary assessment system for the long term, and specifically to:

  • move to a more flexible approach of assessing English writing from the 2017 to 2018 academic year onwards
  • change the starting point for primary school progress measures to the reception year  - with a new statutory assessment to be introduced in reception from 2020
  • remove statutory end of key stage 1 assessments once the reception baseline assessment has become fully established, from 2023
  • remove the duty for teachers to assess pupils against statutory reading and mathematics frameworks at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards
  • improve the early years foundation stage profile by clarifying the descriptors underpinning the Early Learning Goals and reviewing supporting guidance
  • introduce an online multiplication tables check to be taken by pupils at the end of year 4 from the 2019 to 2020 academic year

The government has also published today its response to the parallel consultation on the recommendations of the Rochford Review of assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests.

We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to these consultations.

If you have any queries, please contact the assessment policy team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the Rochford Review team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The DfE have today (13 September 2017) published the September 2017 edition of their SEND Newsletter

Also sent out this month is a letter from Robert Goodwill MP (Minister of State for Children and Families) to Directors of Children's Services about the transition to the new system of special educational needa and disabilities.

The following documents are available:

The DfE have today published their latest figures on SEND:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/633031/SFR37_2017_Main_Text.pdf

The DfE SEND Newsletter for July 2017 is available in the document library:

Available document:

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, moved few ministers in the traditional post-election reshuffle but was forced to act when Edward Timpson, who had held office in the Department since 2012, lost his Crewe and Nantwich seat to Labour’s Laura Smith.

Robert Goodwill has previously served in junior ministerial roles at the Home Office and Department for Transport, as a whip, and as a Member of the European Parliament. He is a farmer by trade and holds a degree in Agriculture from Newcastle University.

The new minister will have responsibility for early years, social mobility, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as children's social care. However, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has assumed responsibility for mental health and bullying, and John (Lord) Nash has taken control of alternative provision.

In a statement on his website, Goodwill said: ‘As a constituency MP, I've already spent a lot of time working with families, working with schools. I understand some of the problems, particularly in some of the more deprived areas. Certainly, my experiences in Scarborough and Whitby will be very useful for me, particularly as Scarborough's going to be one of the 'Opportunity Areas', with more money going in to help with some of the social problems.’

Elsewhere in the Department for Education, Justine Greening keeps her role as Secretary of State, and Ann Milton becomes Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, replacing Robert Halfon. Jo Johnson joins Nick Gibb and Lord Nash in keeping his junior role, whilst Caroline Dinenage’s previous role has not been continued as she moves to the Department for Work and Pensions.

The DfE updated their information on P Scale descriptors on 2nd June 2017:

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/p-scales-attainment-targets-for-pupils-with-sen

This data from DfE has been published today, 25th May 2017.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539158/SFR29_2016_Main_Text.pdf

 The headline messages are;
 The number of children and young people with new EHC plans made during the 2016 calendar year has seen an increase of 8,171 (29.3%) when compared against the combined number of children and young people with statements and EHC plans made during 2015. 
 Children and young people receiving provision in mainstream schools accounted for the largest percentage of children and young people on roll at an establishment with EHC plans made in the 2016 calendar year (63.3%).