Ten recommendations from the Rochford Review

Thanks to Lorraine Petersen for this article.

After waiting for over six months, the final report from the Rochford Review was published on 19th October, just as many schools were preparing for their half term break.

The Rochford Review was established in July 2015 to review statutory assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests. The interim report, published in December 2015 provided an interim solution for reporting outcomes in 2016. It published the interim pre-key stage standards for those pupils working below the expected standard at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2. The review team then continued discussions, looking at a longer term solution especially in regards to the future of P Scales.

The final report published in October outlines ten recommendations for those pupils who cannot access statutory assessments as they have not completed the relevant programmes of study when they reach the appropriate chronological age. These recommendations will be part of a wider government consultation on primary assessment that will take place in spring 2017.

The ten recommendations are:

  1. The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.
  2. The interim pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests are made permanent and extended to include all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.
  3. Schools assess pupils’ development in all four areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, but statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning.
  4. A statutory duty to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following  seven aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation and investigation.
  5. Following recommendation four, schools should decide their own approach to making these assessments according to the curriculum they use and the needs of their pupils.
  6. Initial teacher training (ITT) and Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff in educational settings should reflect the need for teachers to have a greater understanding of assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning.
  7. Where there is demonstrable good practice in schools, those schools should actively share their expertise and practice with others. Schools in need of support should actively seek out and create links with those that can help to support them.
  8. Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good practice in assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, particularly across different educational settings. Schools should support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review.
  9. There should be no requirement to submit assessment data on the seven areas of cognition and learning to the DfE, but schools must be able to provide evidence to support a dialogue with parents and carers, inspectors, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, school governors and those engaged in peer review to ensure robust and effective accountability.
  10. Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.

Schools should continue to use the interim pre-key stage standards alongside the interim frameworks for teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 2 in 2017. The final outcomes of the consultation on primary assessment including the recommendations above will not come into force until 2018 at the earliest.


key stage 1, key stage 2, national tests, statutory tests

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