Last reviewed on 2 November 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 36786

Read the basics about assessment for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) on one page. You can also download this QuickRead as a ready-made resource to share with colleagues.

Most pupils with special educational needs (SEN) will be assessed under the same performance metrics as everybody else, but they might be a little behind their peers.

However, there are separate statutory assessment tools for pupils working below National Curriculum assessment standards, or who can’t access the curriculum.

The engagement model 

The engagement model replaced P scales 1 to 4. It's a mandatory assessment tool for all maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units (PRUs) as of September 2021. 

The model must be used for pupils who are:

  • Working below the level of the National Curriculum, and
  • Not engaged in subject-specific study at Key Stage (KS) 1 and KS2 (you can use it for pupils in KS3 onwards, but it's not a requirement)

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