The Engagement Model

The DfE has now released the final guidance on The Engagement Model.
The guidance describes the formative and summative assessment of children as “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, ( www,engagement4learning.com) This includes the ‘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 ground-breaking work from the Rochford Review.

Engagement Cover Image

New e-learning resource about premature birth for education professionals

For many years I have spoken about the need for teachers to be aware of children born prematurely, and the range of learning needs these children present in all classrooms in all settings at all ages and stages.
Indeed, evidence for the Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities  Research Project ( Carpenter et al 2011,;2015) showed that children born prematurely, were presenting profiles of learning need the likes of which we, as teachers , had never seen before. They were  re-writing the Special Needs Registers of our schools.
In training I always advise teachers and school leaders to ask on the admission forms of every school (secondary included!)
“Is there anything in the birth history of this child that we need to know?”
This new resource for educational professionals, developed by Professor Samantha Johnson and her colleagues at Leicester University, now articulates through easy to access , high quality research and practice evidence, why we need a fuller and deeper understanding of how children born prematurely will learn and progress in our school system ,and what some of their learning challenges may be.
The e-learning resource can be accessed online for free here:
It was supported in its development by  Action Medical Research .
There is also a podcast with the editor of the TES about the development and evaluation of the resource and about the educational needs of preterm born children more broadly.
This can be accessed here if you would like to listen:

Valuing the views of children with a learning disability

Engaging with children and young people with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities.

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Valuing the views of children with a learning disability

Enabling Access; Effective Teaching and Learning for Pupils with Learning Difficulties (3rd Ed)

Publishers, Routledge , have launched a 3rd Edition of Enabling Access; Effective Teaching and Learning for Pupils with Learning Difficulties, to mark the seminal contribution of the book to the debate around the curricular needs of children and young people with learning difficulties.

Edited by Barry Carpenter, Rob Ashdown and Keith Bovair the book will appear in the Routledge Education Classic Edition series.

https://www.routledge.com/Enabling-Access-Effective-Teaching-and-Learning-for-Pupils-with-Learning/Carpenter-Ashdown-Bovair/p/book/9781138297159

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Enabling Access (3rd) Edition Book Thumbnail Leaflet

Mental Health Article – Inquiring Minds

Jo Egerton, Schools Research Consultant, and Bev Cockbill, Training Co-ordinator and Structured Teaching Practitioner in complex learning needs, Chadsgrove Teaching School, Bromsgrove, write about the use of mental wealth journals for pupils with additonal needs.

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Inquiring Minds Article Thumbnail