Assessment approaches in special schools

Get to grips with requirements and best practice for assessment in special schools. Learn from an ‘outstanding’ provider’s approach to baselining, assessing and analysing pupil progress.

Last reviewed on 26 May 2023
School types: Special · School phases: All
Ref: 11244
  1. Understand your statutory assessment requirements
  2. Assess pupils on entry, to get a baseline
  3. Use the baseline to help you set targets
  4. Track how pupils make progress against these targets
  5. Review targets and plan for future learning
  6. Analyse progress at a whole-school level
  7. Set out your approach in an assessment policy

Understand your statutory assessment requirements

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The statutory assessment requirements in the early years for special schools, are the same as for mainstream schools. You're required to set pupils 3 statutory assessments

  • Progress check at age 2
  • Reception baseline assessment
  • EYFS profile 

In primary school and beyond

Pupils who aren't engaged in subject-specific study

Use the engagement model of special educational needs (SEN) assessment. 

Pupils who are engaged in subject-specific study, but working below the standard of National Curriculum assessments

Pupils who are engaged in subject-specific study, working at the standard of the National Curriculum assessments

Assess these pupils using the National Curriculum assessments, as you would if they were in a mainstream school.

To track a pupil's progress, you need to