Due to the expansion of the school including a newly created satellite site at St Edmunds, which will accommodate our Sixth Form, we are looking to recruit three-class teachers to work across school.  Our students have complex learning needs and ideally, we would like staff to have SEND experience, however, for those applicants without this experience we do provide a LEAPS course and full mentoring to support your development of skills and experience in this area. These are permanent contracts to start in September 2022.

James Rennie School is a well- established special school in the Kingstown area of Carlisle.  We have 150 + students on roll ranging from 3-19 within our well- equipped and modern facilities. We would like the successful candidates to be enthusiastic classroom practitioners and good communicators who can display imagination, flexibility and initiative in their work. You will be joining an established team of excellent staff in our outstanding school.

NQT’s are welcome to apply for this post.

Further details and application packs are available to download from our website https://jamesrennie.cumbria.sch.uk   visits to the school are encouraged, to arrange this, please contact Kris Williams, Headteacher at kris@jamesrennie.cumbria.sch.uk

Closing date   12 noon 20 May 2022

Shortlisting date    20 May 2022

Interviews to be held on 26 May 2022

Closing Date – Noon on Tuesday 11th May 2022

Shortlisting on Thursday 12th May 2022

Interviews anticipated to take place on Friday 20th May

Required start September 2022

To apply please click on the link below and read through the information pack.

EYFS Update April 2022

EQUALS have been busy with a new project to develop recording and assessment materials designed for teachers working with children with complex and/or profound learning and development needs. The materials will be suitable for either mainstream or specialist schools or nurseries and we hope to make them available at the end of the summer term 2022.

These new materials will follow the revised EYFS Framework which became statutory in September 2021, and will reflect the key principles of the revised EYFS and the messages being promoted by Ofsted and DfE as follows.

  • that schools should consider moving away
    from excessive tracking and evidence collection
  • to reduce teacher workload and time spent on record keeping and unnecessary assessments that involve excessive data collection
  • to keep the child central to the process and reflect each child’s unique learning journey

If you are interested in hearing more about these key messages, there are a series of podcasts
from Ofsted and DfE available at
Foundation Years

What will the new materials consist of?

The format of the materials will follow the ‘learning journey’ approach that is considered good practice within the EYFS. They will contain a
‘Getting to Know Me’ section to support initial observations and information as children start school or nursery, including a scale to assess each child’s well-being and involvement and levels of independence.

There will be a series of Skills Maps to support teachers in assessing each child’s strengths in the three EYFS Prime areas of learning and development (Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal and Social Development), along with an additional section ‘The Characteristics of Cognition and Learning’. This section will reflect the child’s unique learning and play development, their engagement and their exploration.

There will be a ‘My Transition’ section which teachers can use to support end of year summary and discussion with parents and teachers as the child continues their learning journey into KS1. This section includes links to the five Engagement areas in order to provide starting points for those children that will not be ready for subject-specific learning.

We believe that this resource will support teachers in providing a rounded and holistic picture of each child’s unique characteristics and reflect their learning journey as they make significant steps of progress, without the use of checklists and excessive data collection. The materials will also make reference to other useful assessment documents and tools that are available for use within the EYFS, and is designed to be used flexibly and alongside other school-based recording tools as necessary.

The materials have been developed in conjunction with Sunningdale Specialist School, Sunderland, who are presently using the materials. We are hoping that several other schools will be trialling the materials in the summer term, to be ready for the start of the new academic year, September 2022.

If you would like more information about the project and the materials, you can contact

Elaine Ellis   email:  elliselaine822@gmail.com


Paul Buskin email:   paul@equalsoffice.co.uk

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

Over the past 18 months, EQUALS has provided this as an online CPD Session. New Dates will be published for autumn 2022; and spring/summer 2023.

To reserve a place please email sarah@equalsoffice.co.uk

EQUALS Online CPD Sessions are 100% FREE for EQUALS Members.

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.

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.

Cost: Only £49 towards expenses. Lunch provided.

We recently provided ‘Curriculum and Assessment Conferences’ at Brackenfield School in Nottingham,
Hadrian School in Newcastle and at the NCVO in central London.

Further events are planned to take place during the autumn term 2022.

Queen’s University in Belfast on 30th September 2022

Melland High School in Manchester on the 7th October 2022

Wilson Stuart School in Birmingham – 14th October 2022

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 admin@equalsoffice.co.uk 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.

EQUALS provides online training sessions for
FREE for EQUALS Members

These sessions take place between 3:45 and 5:15 pm.

As these sessions are free for equals members, so they are likely to fill up fast.

So please register your interest asap, to secure your place/s.

To register your interest please email admin@equalsoffice.co.uk

Not an equals member?
Then please contact paul@equalsoffice.co.uk. 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 paul@equalsoffice.co.uk to put forward any suggestions for future training.  

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.

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What Our Members Say

We have thousands of satisfied members since we began in 1994

Online CPD Sessions

“Love these courses, it is like having a university lecture/tutorial”

“I love listening to the evidence based information”

“All the information was presented simply and efficiently. It was interesting and the time passed very quickly. An excellent training session”

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?”