Children’s progress and development is carefully monitored and assessed by teaching staff and  therapists.  Individual records of progress and achievement are maintained by class teams. All members of the team add their views and advice about the children’s development through regular dialogue, meetings and written reports. A  range of assessment tools are used by teachers and therapists to support the evaluation of pupil achievement at all levels of development. The therapists use a range of standardised and non-standardised tools to enable us to identify small steps of progress and thus plan for the next steps of learning.

We use the iASEND online tool as the assessment framework as it maps directly onto both the National Curriculum and our curriculum offer. The assessment statements can be used as learning objectives, which target learning opportunities at the next steps on an individualised basis. In addition to capturing ‘vertical progress’ (new learning and skills), iASEND captures ‘horizontal learning’ (depth of learning and understanding).

Pupils at Northern Counties School may reach a point in their learning journey where acquiring new knowledge or skills interferes with, or degrades, their prior learning and attainment. By teaching for understanding and the ability to generalise knowledge and skills, we deepen pupils’ learning and this leads to functional understanding. By approaching learning in this way, we ensure that our pupils can apply what they know across many contexts.

iASEND covers all levels of attainment from P1(i)e to Key Stage 3 learning objectives (approximately old National Curriculum level 7+). The attainment of all pupils in school can be effectively measured and tracked using this assessment tool. Analysis can take place looking at various cohorts and pupil populations and effective benchmarking with other provisions is easily achievable. iASEND is split into the four core areas of English, Maths, Science and Computing and a range of foundation curriculum areas. The progress is recorded, tracked and analysed in each of these strands. This information is used not only to show progress on an individual level but also collated to show progress across the school in key curricular areas. From this, any area needing a particular focus can be identified and intervention planned.

Continuous assessment takes place and is an essential element of the school’s recording, reporting and reviewing system for each child. All school leavers are presented with a Progress File on leaving school. This includes reference to achievements, certificates obtained and records other experiences in which a pupil has been involved.

Some pupils will access ASDAN which is a curriculum development organisation and awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. Pupils will follow individual pathways throughout the ASDAN programme and will build portfolios of evidence to obtain either a Bronze, Silver or Gold award.  They will monitor their achievements and credits gained by filling in an individual ‘Record of Progress’.

Each pupil will take an individual pathway through each curriculum area for accreditation courses. These will be selected by teaching staff in consultation with the pupil and his/her parents. The pupil will submit portfolios for accreditation or enter for external examinations on completion of each course. Examples of these are AQA examinations, Entry Levels, Duke of Edinburgh awards and BSL Signature.

A detailed Individual Education Plan is written based on the child’s priorities for development, as detailed in their Education Health Care Plan. Priorities for development form the basis of individual targets in addition to the class based planning within which progress can be monitored. IEP targets are reviewed throughout the term in team meetings and are updated each term. Where a child has made significant progress or needs a target to be broken down into smaller steps, the target is changed at that point in the term. Feedback on the achievement of targets is the responsibility of all who work with the child and this includes class-based staff, therapists and residential staff. The Assistant Head of School with responsibility for assessment leads the process of evaluating progress, supporting staff and guiding them if children are not making expected progress. In accordance with legislation, children’s Education Health Care Plans are reviewed annually. An updated report incorporating notes of the annual review meeting is produced each year for every child. Parents are invited to submit a written report to form a part of the review process. Teachers, therapists and residential child care workers (in the case of resident children) complete annual reports and contribute views and comments regarding progress, strengths and areas for further development. Additional advice is sought, as appropriate, from other professionals to form an overview of the child. The annual review meeting (to which parents and other professionals are invited) is arranged every year following circulation of all reports and advice submitted by those involved with each child. All reports, an Individual Education Plan and notes from the annual review meeting combine to form each child’s annual review report.

This will therefore usually include:

  • Parents’ comments on their child’s development (the parents’ report)
  • The child’s views recorded in the most appropriate format
  • Annual review report that details progress against the child’s EHCP outcomes.
  • A copy of the child’s Individual Education Plan (and transition plan from Year 9 onwards)
  • A summary of the annual review meeting
  • Recommendations with regard to the child’s needs and future provision

The annual review report is circulated following the annual review meeting to parents, the local authority supporting the child at the school and other involved professionals.

Coffee mornings and individual appointments are organised regularly to enable parents to discuss their child’s progress with teaching and therapy staff.