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Saying goodbye to P-Levels and hello to milestones

The next time you’re discussing your child’s progress with their teacher, you may notice that the way we measure how they are doing is beginning to change. 

Up until now, special schools across the country have measured progress using “P-levels”; a set of standards linked to the National Curriculum. The problem with P-levels is that they weren’t a great way of actually assessing how young people with special needs were progressing – and they were also closely linked to National Curriculum levels – which no longer exist. 

The government is now phasing them out and opening the way for schools to create better systems that match the needs of their pupils more closely. 

Whitefield and Joseph Clarke Schools are replacing P-levels with our own system of ‘milestones’. It will take a while to completely change since we need to create a system of milestones for each curriculum area. However we have finished the first area, Communication, and these milestones are now in use at Whitefield Schools. Joseph Clarke School is tweaking them a little to more closely reflect how learners with vision impairment communicate, and will be introducing them soon. 

 The Communication milestones are divided into two groups – “Receptive milestones”, that look at a student’s ability to understand, and “Expressive Milestones” that mark their ability to make themselves understood. They are designed to be easy to understand and simple to use. 

We will be adding the milestones for reading very shortly, followed by maths.


Communications Milestones.

Receptive

  1.  shows awareness of a range of stimuli produced by people and objects in the immediate environment
  2. has consistent behaviours through which adults can interpret their needs and responses
  3. has intentional behaviours through which they respond to people and activities
  4. responds to communicative behaviours used by other people
  5. responds to the gestures and sounds which other people use to communicate with them
  6. responds to objects of reference – i.e. objects selected to represent activities, people or places
  7. responds to single words, signs or symbols 
  8. responds to phrases using 2 or 3 words, signs or symbols 
  9. understands phrases and short sentences, listens to other people and understands questions
  10. understands more complex language such as prepositions and two part sequences
  11. understands language used to tell a story or talk about ideas and feelings  
  12. understands longer narratives and explanations and distinguishes past, present and future events when other people talk about them
  13.  maintains attention to other people in conversations and discussions, understanding and responding to what they say, evaluating different viewpoints and building on other people’s contributions

Expressive

  1. shows awareness of a range of stimuli produced by people and objects in the immediate environment
  2. has consistent behaviours through which adults can interpret their needs and responses
  3. has intentional behaviours through which they make things happen, join in interactions and express how they feel
  4.  has intentionally communicative behaviours through which they interact with other people, communicate their needs and share how they feel
  5. uses gestures and/or sounds to communicate 
  6. uses objects of reference to communicate i.e. objects selected to represent activities, people or places
  7. uses single words, signs or symbols to communicate 
  8. combines 2 or 3 words, signs or symbols to communicate 
  9. speaks in phrases and short sentences and answers questions
  10. uses more complex language to describe events, ask questions and share ideas  
  11.  uses language to tell a story or talk about ideas and feelings and answers questions about a story or a narrative
  12. develops own narratives and explanations and talks about past, present and future events using the correct tenses and showing awareness of listeners’ needs
  13. participates in conversations and discussions with other people, staying on topic, exploring ideas and speaking audibly and fluently in Standard English