Are you ready for the removal of P Levels?

Earlier this month Tes SEN Show exhibitor B Squared ran a ‘Are you ready for the removal of P Levels?’ webinar. It covered the changes to the end of key stage statutory assessment, the impact this will have, how schools will need to change, as well as tips on how to have meaningful communication with parents. Watch it now.

How do schools feel about the changes?

The webinar provided the opportunity to hear from teachers and find out how they felt about the removal of P Levels and the introduction of the new pre-key stage standards. The answers included ‘a little daunted’ and ‘anxious’, from those who were still at the beginning of the journey, not sure which way to go or what to do. Others in a similar place gave a less positive response. It is obvious there has not been enough support or guidance from the DfE on the changes and the impact the changes will have.

There are many professionals who are still hoping for more guidance from the government, with one teacher saying: ‘I feel confused! I would like advice about what to use for the day-to-day assessment for pupils with SEND’. The autonomy the government is looking for has not been introduced in a productive way. There is very little guidance, very little support and no money. Asking schools to take on more responsibility for areas which they are then judged on without providing support and funding is likely to have a negative impact, not the positive impact the government is hoping for.

One teacher commented: ‘Daunting going into the unknown and how it will look and how the school will progress and what they will expect from teachers and workload’. Another said: ‘It feels a little bit like going back in time and giving rise to everyone recreating their own wheels!’. This sums up the situation schools are in; not only is the government asking everyone to recreate their own wheel, but asking them to do it on top of everything else they are doing. A special school can pool all their resources and work on this collectively, but without additional funding, something else will lose out. What happens to a SENDCo in a mainstream setting? How is a mainstream SENDCo with very limited time and close to no budget supposed to develop ways to show progress for pupils with SEND? It will then be used across the school and used to evidence progress for pupils with SEND to Ofsted and other stakeholders. A big responsibility with minimal support/guidance/funding.

Some teachers are more positive, recognising the positive aspect of the freedom, but they also acknowledge the associated costs. One teacher said: ‘Worried and excited. More flexibility for school is good, the ability to have meaningful conversations between schools is not so good’

Overall, teachers are looking for more guidance and support from the DfE and other organisations. After watching the webinar, a number of respondents felt that they had a better understanding of the changes and were less concerned than they were at the start. Their biggest concern is how they will show progress within the key stage. 36% of respondents said they would be moving away from P Levels, 64% said they were not sure. It was interesting that no one said they would definitely stick with P Levels. Schools currently use the P Levels to report annual progress and are now looking to replace the P Levels with something new for their ongoing assessment from September.

B Squared can be found at stand 279 at the Tes SEN Show. Find out more about them here. Register for free to meet B Squared face-to-face at the Tes SEN Show.