Engagement model of SEN assessment

Learn what's covered in the engagement model for pupils working below the standard of the National Curriculum assessments, and how to assess under it. Download our template form to record your observations during assessment.

Last reviewed on 5 April 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 39426
  1. Who does this apply to?
  2. How the engagement model works
  3. Assess the pupil through regular observation
  4. What you need to report to the DfE

This article is based on the engagement model guidance from the Standards and Testing Agency (STA).

Who does this apply to?

The engagement model is mandatory for:

  • Maintained schools (including special schools)
  • Academies (including free schools)
  • PRUs
  • Hospital schools
  • Ministry of Defence schools

It must be used for pupils who are:

  • At Key Stage (KS) 1 and KS2,
  • Working below the standard of the National Curriculum assessments, and
  • Not engaged in subject-specific study

You can use it for pupils in KS3 onwards, but you're not required to.

Use the pre-KS1 and pre-KS2 standards to assess pupils who are working below the standard of the National Curriculum assessments but who are engaged in subject-specific study.

What is subject-specific study?

Pupils engage in subject-specific study when they can demonstrate recognisable and specific skills, knowledge and understanding in English language comprehension and reading, English writing, and mathematics. 

How the engagement model works

How well pupils are being

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