“Schools need ONE SIMPLE PACKAGE which enables them to implement a process which is centred on the child and fulfils all the Rochford requirements.”

(source: Richard Aird OBE –  member of the Rochford Review Panel – 2017) 

The Rochford recommendations are not due to become statutory until 2018, but most SEND Head Teachers and Sencos believe that they illustrate the way forward for special needs assessment.

There are three fundamental principles behind the new SEND pedagogy.


To optimise education for SEND children, what is taught and what is assessed must be PARTICULAR TO EACH PUPIL and…
Based on each child’s Education Health and Care Plan (or Offer of SEND Provision) usually starting with the four core elements –  Physical, Emotional, Social and Cognitive.
Be broken down into Required Long Term Outcomes, Medium Term Targets and Short Term Objectives
2Each of these should be configurable SPECIFICALLY FOR THAT CHILD.


Of equal importance to achievement, when assessing progress in special needs, is ENGAGEMENT. This means assessing the way each pupil addresses each task across several aspects of engagement.


Where the pupil is sufficiently capable, their academic progress should be measured and reported against either the standard National Curriculum Key Stage curricula or the Pre-Key Stage 1 SEN curriculum.
Many SEND specialist schools will also use condition-specific assessment schemes or have their own favourite commercially produced SEN assessment framework.

Without a software package which can accommodate all this and do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to making assessments, managing evidence, tracking progress, analysing and reporting, these additional assessment demands would apply a considerable extra load on already overstretched teaching staff.

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But how will this impact teacher workloads?


The Rochford panel members and other DfE SEND advisers have recognised the potential impact on teacher workloads and are working with Earwig to come up with a set of guidelines, supported by a software package, which will enable schools not only to improve the quality and consistency of their assessments, but to use these to inform and configure their teaching for each special needs pupil as they move through the school. They have chosen the Earwig SEND Assessment Software Package as the starting point for this because it provides a degree of flexibility and a range of features which make it uniquely appropriate as a tool to turn a complex set of requirements into a simple process.

These include the ability to…
a. Incorporate any assessment framework
b. Capture teaching evidence and apply it correctly, in seconds
c. Modify teaching goals for individual pupils
d. Measure, even slow, progress accurately
e. Measure against teacher expectations as well as curriculum
f. Enable tracking, analysis and next steps reporting 

What can I do?

The Rochford recommendations only came out last year and so, even with a powerful tool like Earwig, there is still some work to do to evolve the ideal balance of teaching to assessment, to incorporate ECHPs into the process and to decide exactly which schemes to use in which situations.  To help get the SEND education industry further along this track during 2018, we will be holding a series of Earwig Rochford SEND Assessment Workshops for Head Teachers, Deputies and Sencos, at locations around the country.

Help plot the way forward for SEND assessment –  with members of the Rochford team.

Send us your details to be the first to hear about our SEND talks and workshops