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TSC - The Engagement Model

Where did the engagement model come from? The Rochford Review made the recommendation that P Scales were not fit for purpose and therefore should be replaced by a more relevant assessment system. Pre Key Stage standards replaced P Scales 5-8 from 2018-19. Further trials and refinements of the ‘Seven aspects of engagement’ (Prof. Barry Carpenter et al, 2010)  ensured that the final proposal for the replacement of P Scales 1-4 was appropriate in meeting the needs of the pupils working at this level.

The work of the Special School Teaching Schools Network was particularly influential at this stage contributing to the pilots and providing representation on the expert group.

The final guidance was published March 2020.

To ensure the success of implementation of the Engagement Model a substantial training package has been written and will be delivered across schools nationally.

The training has been produced by the Pennine Teaching School Alliance and fully supported by the Special School Teaching Schools network.

What is The Engagement Model? The Engagement Model is an assessment system that supports schools in evaluating the appropriateness of the curriculum provided for pupils who are not yet meeting all of Pre Key Stage Standard 1. Using the 5 areas of engagement: initiation, persistence, exploration, anticipation and realisation teachers and leaders are able to observe and assess the level of engagement for individual pupils, when developing new skills and knowledge. The Engagement Model will also fit alongside the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) outcomes and support teachers in evaluating progress against these. A good starting point would be to include the language of engagement in the short term targets set for the pupils and provision.

It is helpful to create an Engagement Profile for each pupil, annotating what high engagement looks like for them i.e. what would you see? how you would recognise engagement? as well as including behaviours and other actions that you should be aware of that might not necessarily be because of engagement.

The Profiles will also provide evidence toward the EHCP outcomes and will provide valuable information to support pupils when transitioning between classes.

Progress in each of the areas will not be scored, pupils will not be measured on how well they exceed in engagement. The system will ensure that the curriculum in place for this unique group of learners is suitable and allows for engagement and progression.

The Engagement Model does not replace schools existing planning and assessment systems and schools will have the autonomy over how it will be implemented.

Why is it important? For pupils working below Pre Key Stage standards we need to demonstrate progress although this progress will look very different for each pupil. The Engagement Model allows you to look at each pupil’s engagement in different activities or tasks, and make adaptations to the curriculum or resources to further raise their engagement. Engagement is a pre-requisite to cognition and learning. Cognition and learning results in progress.

Who is it for? All pupils who were previously assessed at P Scale 1 – 4. Pupils who are not yet meeting Pre Key Stage Standard 1 in all areas (writing, reading and maths).

The statutory requirement is for the model to be used in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. However, it is recommend it for all pupils aged 3 – 25, where appropriate.

The DfE will be collecting information from schools of the pupils who are using the Engagement Model in Year 2 & Year 6.

When will it happen? The Engagement Model guidance is now final. The complete removal of P Scales and the full introduction of The Engagement Model will be from September 2020.

How to find out more? Over 170 experienced leaders of SEND have already been trained as Lead Engagement Model Trainers across the country.

The Lead Trainers will be delivering training events for their local schools, SEND and mainstream. To find out more can get in touch with the lead school for your region or the national lead: