Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Brookes Professor informs new approach for assessing pupils with complex disabilities in schools

Friday, 30 November 2018


The new approach will replace P scales one to four that are currently used to assess pupils with complex disabilities. A key issue with P scales is that they focus on linear progression and this is not how many children with the most complex needs progress. 

The new assessment will be based on the ‘7 Aspects of Engagement’. This will enable schools to tailor the teaching and provision they provide to meet the complex needs of a pupil, to obtain the best possible outcome for the pupil. The new assessment approach looks at areas like awareness, anticipation and curiosity. All progress made by pupils will be identified.

The Department of Education funded Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project 2011 - led by Oxford Brookes Professor Barry Carpenter, originally produced the 7 Aspects of Engagement approach.

Professor Carpenter commented ‘capturing the attainments of some children with complex special educational needs is a challenge for teachers; the assessment tools available were, frankly, too blunt. The 7 Aspects of Engagement was designed as a more personalised, ‘ wrap around’, approach, that would go to the child at their point of learning, capture their achievement in ways that could celebrate it, and share it with audiences such as parents, as well as Ofsted.’

Professor Carpenter added ‘After a long career in the field of Special Needs Education, it is gratifying to have the work recognised by the Minister and the DfE in this way, and to be deemed worthy of being enshrined in legislation.”

The 7 Aspects of Engagement will be implemented across the country by the Department of Education from 2020.

To read the Department of Education press release click here.

Find out more about the BA Education Studies - SEN, Disabilities and Inclusion degree at Oxford Brookes.