Regional Curriculum and Assessment Conferences

  • Brackenfield School in Nottingham on 8th October 2021
  • Hadrian School in Newcastle upon Tyne on 12th November 2021
  • NCVO in London on 19th November 2021
  • Birmingham – Later Feburary 2022 – Venue to be comfirmed
  • Melland School on the 4th March 2022

There is a  small charge of £25 per person for the regional curriculum and assessment conferences
which will go towards expenses.

Each Conference will include the following:-

  • Presentations from Schools that are currently using the EQUALS Curriculum Schemes of Work
  • Content related to MAPP (Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress), both Formal and Semi-Formal Versions
  • Content related to the Engagement Model and the Pre-Key Stages Standards
  • An opportunity to discuss ‘Best Practice’ and share developments
  • Opportunities for Questions and Answers

We hope that these will become an annual event for EQUALS and will continue to change the content as updates happen.


If you would like to attend please could you email and put in the email which venue you would like to attend. We will add you to the delegates list and be in touch with more information and a programme for the day.

Revised EYFS – Updates May 2021


Documents and Resources:


The final versions of the EYFS Statutory Framework and the non-statutory Development Matters curriculum guidance are now available for schools to download in preparation for implementation from September 2021 ( The statutory framework also includes the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) requirements for September 2021, further guidance for schools on the RBA is also available on the government web site.


The National Children’s Bureau (NCB), along with Ofsted and DfE have recently delivered a series of events to support schools and settings in delivering the revised EYFS, along with the key messages on the reforms. Videos, podcasts, and the revised documents can also be found on the Foundation Years web site (


The EYFS Profile Handbook 2021 is also available, however, this is likely to be updated next year as the Profile assessment is not mandatory this academic year due to coronovirus disapplications.


Specialist schools and colleagues supporting pupils with complex SEND may find the new Birth to 5 Matters EYFS guidance helpful in tracking progress and ongoing assessment (see further information below). This guidance can be downloaded free from


Schools may also find the EQUALS document ‘The Characteristics of Effective Learning for Pupils with Complex Learning Difficulties…‘ a useful tool for tracking and recording small steps. This document is free for Equals members via our web site .


Comments and Key Changes relevant to SEND:


  • Colleagues will have no doubt noted that although there are still 17 Early Learning Goals, there are significant revisions and adaptations resulting in higher expectations in some areas of learning. This could have implications for attainment for many pupils with complex SEND.
  • As before, requirements state that the Early Learning Goals should not be used as a curriculum (1.8), and the Development Matters curriculum guidance has been significantly revised. This no longer gives age/stage bands, but is organised into 3 main bands: 0-3 year olds, 3 &4 year olds, and Reception. This change may not be helpful for ongoing tracking and monitoring of small steps of progress. Practitioners may find the more detailed curriculum guidance produced by Birth to 5 Matters more useful especially for children with complex SEND. 
  • The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning continue to be a requirement and are to be reported on as part of the Profile assessment. There is debate as to why they are called effective ‘Teaching and Learning’ as opposed to just ‘Learning’ , as they reflect children’s learning styles and characteristics rather than adult behaviours! More of this debate, along with additional guidance relating to the characteristics which could be useful for SEND, can also be found in the Birth to 5 Matters curriculum guidance document.
  • The EYFS Profile assessment continues to be statutory, with the added requirement of the Reception Baseline Assessment to be completed from September. Although guidance states that the RBA is to be completed for all pupils, including those with SEND, Head teachers can consider disapplication (see Annex B page 49 point 17 of the Statutory Framework). The process for disapplication, however, is not included in the guidance.
  • Note that the Profile Handbook (3.3) states clearly that the P scales and pre-Key Stage standards should NOT be used as assessment for children within EYFS. 
What do you think ? Have your Say….At EQUALS, we are committed to supporting schools and practitioners in the best ways possible, therefore we are interested in your comments and feedback on any of the above points.You can comment or make suggestions via our website contact form  

Using the Engagement Model to Support pupils not yet engaged in Subject Specific Learning


Online Training Workshops
by James Waller

May 13th 2021 4pm- 5.30pm
Sept 30th 2021 4pm- 5.30pm

Free for EQUALS Members.  

To book a place please email

The Engagement Model is now the statutory assessment for pupils working below the standard of National Curriculum and not engaged in subject-specific learning. The Standards and Teasting Agency (STA) originally published The Engagement Model guidance in January 2020. The Model is scheduled to become statutory from September 2021.

We are running this session to recap the main principles from the statutory approach as well as offer some practical ideas around how you might use the model in school for pupils not yet fully accessing subject specific learning.

These sessions will run virtually via the Zoom Meetings App.

This session will enable schools to: 

  • identify the relevant cohort of pupils; 
  • use the engagement areas to observe and assess the level of engagement for individual pupils; 
  • support and evaluate the curriculum for pupils not yet engaged in subject specific learning.

The session will cover:

Recap of what the Engagement Model is;

Exploring what is meant by the term Engagement and each of the 5 areas;

Understanding who the Engagement Model is for;

Implementing the Engagement Model;

Making links between the Engagement Model and the curriculum;

Integrating the Engagement Model into your current assessment system;

Sharing practice regarding practical use of the model;

Reporting progress & Accountability;

Ofsted & Engagement.


The session will also touch on the Pre Key Stage Standards for the end of Key Stage 1 and 2, the pupil group they are relevant to and their appropriate use.

James is the Headteacher of Sunningdale School, a specialist school for pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties and Autism in Tyne and Wear.  Following the publishing of the Rochford Review in 2016 James was involved in piloting the use of the Aspects of Engagement and was an Engagement Model Lead Trainer for the STA approved training on the Engagement Model.

James has developed and delivered workshops on a wide variety of topics related to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties on behalf of the SENHub in Tyne and Wear, Together for Children, EQUALS and other organisations such as B-Squared.  James additionally works as a visiting lecturer for the University of Northumbria.


Organised Online Training Days – Multiple Schools

EQUALS provides online training sessions for FREE for EQUALS Members

These sessions take place between 3:45 and 5:15 pm. Schools can send up to 3 delegates per topic (more can attend if you socially distance in your own school. We can only send out 3 links however to control bandwidth etc.

As these sessions will be free for equals members, they are likely to fill up fast, so please register your interest asap, to secure your place/s.

To register your interest please email

Not an equals member?
Then please contact to talk about new members offers and to learn
how you can access the free members training sessions.

Would you like some training for a different area?  If so please email to put forward any suggestions for future training.  

Individual  Schools – Online Training from EQUALS

Would you like some online training just for your own school?

You can send as many teachers as you want and this training can be be-spoke to meet your own needs. 

There are now opportunities to join a selection of  ‘online training sessions’  (times are flexible).  These are priced at only £200 per 2 hour session and schools can send as many teachers as they wish. 

Training is available for all areas of our curriculum schemes of work and assessment schemes.  There are also options for our 14-25 Moving On Curriculum.  

Is there another area your school would like training on?  Please let us know and we will try and arrange this for you.  

For further information please contact Paul Buskin at

or telephone 0191 272 1222

Dominic Wall

Medicines in Specialist Schools (MISS)

Hello friends. A colleague of mine, Dominic Wall, who is also part of our ‘Medicines in Specialist Schools’ (MISS) group produced this excellent presentation for the SSAT Conference this week. SSAT has kindly allowed us to share it with you.

The MISS group was formed in November 2019 to try to articulate the discrepancies in Health provision across England into our specialist provisions. It meets regularly with the DfE and Dept. for Health to voice our concerns around, initially, the postcode lottery for nursing provision. It is ultimately our intention to then focus on physiotherapy, OT and SALT provision.

A great deal of work has gone on behind the scenes and we are of the understanding that CCG’s are slowly re-examining their commissioning arrangements to fulfil their legal obligations to our children and young people.

This presentation, in particular, focuses on the needs of children and young people with more complex health care, including those with AGP’s. By the way, did you all clock the DfE’s latest guidance on this issue returning to the use of FFP2/3’s for interventions?

Your comments and feedback would be much appreciated. Many thanks to Dominic and the SSAT for sharing.

Click here to download the presentation

Free Learning Resources

Whiteboard Room

The Whiteboard Room has a range of interactive resources for students with severe and profound learning difficulties. Although targeting interactive whiteboards most resources are equally useful at the desktop.

This brand new section launched here on the EQUALS website from September 2017 and contains lots of free educational resources.


Early Years Foundation Stage – EYFS – Free Resource
The characteristics of effective learning for pupils with complex learning difficulties
and disabilities in the early years foundation stage (EYFS)

Click here to learn more


The three Characteristics of Effective Learning in EYFS are:

  • Playing and Exploring – Engagement
  • Active Learning – Motivation
  • Creating and Thinking Critically – Thinking


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What Our Members Say

We have thousands of satisfied members since we began in 1994

Rodney House School – Manchester

We feel the online training delivered by EQUALS have been WONDERFUL.  The relevance and depth of the sessions has been fantastic, Peter is a very knowledgeable man. Having training delivered online has enabled all our teachers to attend and have discussions after the event rather than one teacher attending and disseminating which can water down the content.
Thank you so much and keep them coming!

Peter Imray

“Lets focus on things that matter”.

“For those with a profound learning difficulty (PMLD), learning is best done when the learner is placed in the centre of the curriculum”.

Priory Woods School – Middlesbrough

“The Semi-formal Curriculum meets the needs of our special children and we feel more able to promote what the children need rather than being constrained by subject areas”.

“Freedom to be creative and concentrate on individual needs with a focus on independence”.

Pedagogy, Curriculum and Assessment of Pupil Progress for Children and Young People with SLD and PMLD

“Great delivery – motivational speaker, thank you’
“A fantastic workshop with many learning and thinking points!’
“Excellent informative course”
“Information about different kinds of assessment models”
“Thought provoking ideas on SLD curriculum”
“Analysing what we teach and why?”

Confident Parenting Workshop

“Fab content in terms of setting up a parent support group”
“Very useful and informative”
“Opportunities to discuss and information on THRIVE’
“Ideas for parenting course to run in school”
“I liked the whole concept of the course and the fact that it seems to be very parent driven”