The DfE has now released the final guidance on The Engagement Model. The guidance describes the formative and summative assessment of children “not engaged in subject specific learning “. It will be statutory assessment in schools for those children and young people .

The guidance is an output of the Rochford Review , who have piloted the Model . It builds on the research led for the DfE , by Professor Barry Carpenter as part of the Complex Learning Disabilities and Difficulties project .

This project identified , through a systematic review of the international literature around learning in children with SEND , that ‘ engagement was the single best predicator of successful learning in children with special needs/ disabilities ,” ( Carpenter et al, 2015.) From this solid evidence based ,a pedagogy evolved through systematic research across UK schools , and a series of International trials , which created the Engagement Framework for Learning , ( This includes the widely used Engagement Profile which aids baseline assessment ,and gives insight into the learning pathways of the child with Complex Needs. The Engagement Profile is a classroom based planning tool which links to formative assessment . Both are compatible, and indeed inform , the summative assessment opportunities of the new Engagement Model .

Professor Robin McWilliam , Professor, Special Education and Multiple Abilities at the University of Alabama, USA , and a prolific writer on the subject of  Engagement  said of this new DfE publication ,”You are to be congratulated! In the U.S., we have “alternative assessment” for what, in the U.K., is known as pupils with complex needs. But states differ on what they use and none of them that I know of are focused on engagement. So, well done!

Professor McWilliam and Professor Carpenter , will present further on Engagement for Learning to an International Conference in Turkey in April, 2020 . The UK , which leads the World in so many aspects of special and inclusive education , has a major contribution to make in the area of assessment  for children with Special Needs through this groundbreaking work from the Rochford Review.

Download – The Engagement Model: Draft guidance for maintained schools, academies (including free schools) and local authorities