“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.


Asking teachers to produce and expand an individual curriculum of objectives and tasks for each pupil based on that child’s EHC Plan is a very big ask. But add tracking and regular submissions of evidence of progress as the teaching goals evolve, and you have a daunting prospect.

Assessing within Earwig using the EHCP targets as a starting point is only possible because of Earwig’s unique editable framework structure. This, combined with the Earwig evidence management package, means that all evidence and progress can be linked straight back to the individual pupil objectives. This saves time, delivers confident and accurate assessments and makes annual reviews much clearer. Earwig also allows other support professionals to contribute observations, for an even more comprehensive record – all focused around the needs of the child.



As well as the (now condemned) P-Scales, special schools use several assessment schemes to help document and manage task setting and achievement for each pupil. These cover the personal development of the child, as well as their academic progress.
The problem is that you either have to try and do this with pencil and paper or rely on a plethora of different assessment frameworks and software applications. Now, for the first time, you can specify the schemes you want to use for each child and have these all available in one package.
This makes it easy for teachers who may not be tech-literate and means that all your analysis and reporting is consistent and clear. You can choose from any of these or let us know what others you’d like to use.


Pre-KS1 for SEN
KS1 for SEN
KS2 for SEN
KS3 for SEN
KS4 for SEN
Learning Ladders
Millgate Project


EHCP-based Editable
Engagement Scales
Rebound Therapy
Routes for Learning

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