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Responsiveness: Assessment of responsiveness should evaluate any change in a pupil’s behavior that demonstrates he or she is being attentive to a new stimulus or reacting in a meaningful way. This type of assessment is important for establishing what differing stimuli motivate a pupil to pay attention. This is a prerequisite for learning. It is particularly relevant for assessing pupils with multiple sensory impairments who have reduced and/or atypical sensory awareness and perception.

Curiosity: Assessment of curiosity demonstrates how a pupil is building on an initial reaction to a new stimulus, perhaps by reaching out or seeking the source of a new stimulus.

Discovery: Assessment of discovery provides information about the changing ways in which a pupil interacts with, or responds to, a new stimulus, sometimes accompanied by expressions such as enjoyment and excitement. Curiosity and discovery are closely linked. At a more advanced point of development they both help to demonstrate a pupil’s degree of interest in, and exploration of, activities and concepts. These both help to drive the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
Anticipation: Assessment of anticipation should demonstrate whether a pupil is able to predict, expect or associate a particular stimulus with an event. This is important for measuring a pupil’s concept of cause and effect.

Persistence: Assessment of persistence measures the extent to which a pupil is sustaining attention towards a particular item or action and is therefore beginning to develop conceptual understanding. The ability to sustain attention is important for maintaining an activity long enough to develop the learning associated with it and for consolidating that learning.

Initiation: Assessment of initiation demonstrates the different ways, and extent to which, a pupil investigates an activity or stimulus in order to bring about a desired outcome. It is an important part of developing the autonomy required for more advanced cognitive development and learning.

Investigation: Assessment of investigation measures the extent to which a pupil is actively trying to find out more about an object or activity via prolonged, independent experimentation. This demonstrates a more advanced degree of autonomy than the other aspects of engagement and is important for ongoing learning.


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Expressive Communication

Intentional and pre-intentional patterns of behavior and communication designed to help the child get their needs met.

Receptive Communication

Comprehension of simple verbal, symbolic and body language.


Social Affection

Skills an individual requires in order to be able to get their needs met, co-operate with others and share understanding in their environment.

Emotional Affection

Skills an individual requires in order to recognise their own feelings, control some behaviors and

demonstrate their own emotions.


Sensory Operation

  • Visual: the sensation and perception of light.

  • Auditory: the sensation and perception of sound.

  • Tactile: the sensation and perception of touch.

  • Olfactory/Gustatory: the sensation and perception of smell and taste.

  • Vestibular: the sensation and perception of balance and motion.

  • Proprioceptive: the sensation and perception of one’s own body.


Physical Operation

  • Fine Motor: the precise movements that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue.

  • Gross Motor: the bigger movements that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.



The engagement model is an assessment tool to help schools support pupils who are working below the level of the national curriculum and not engaged in subject-specific study.


The engagement model was adapted from the 7 aspects of engagement, which was devised by Professor Barry Carpenter in the DfE-funded Complex Learning Disabilities and Difficulties project in 2011. The engagement model was developed with the support of an expert group involving members of the Rochford Review and using the evidence from an evaluation of the 7 aspects carried out in 2018.


The model recognises that engagement is multi-dimensional and breaks it down into 5 areas that allow staff to assess:

• how well their pupils are being engaged in developing new skills, knowledge and concepts in the school’s curriculum

• how effective the special educational provision is in empowering their pupils to progress against the agreed outcomes in their EHC plans and how effectively pupils are engaging with and making progress against these plans

• pupils’ achievements and progress across the 4 areas of need of the SEND code of practice (communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health difficulties, and sensory and/or physical needs)


The engagement model:

• is a unique method of observation, allowing insight that improves provision for all pupils

• uses a pupil-centred approach that focuses on their abilities rather than disabilities

• values all sources of knowledge and information provided by those working with the pupil, including teachers, school staff, other professionals and parents or carers

• promotes consistency and a common language amongst schools and all those working with the pupil

• recognises there is a complex interaction between pupils’ physical, sensory, communication and learning disabilities that affects how they progress



The Engagement Model at Villa Real

As the Headteacher is a National trainer for the Engagement model as school we have all had training and adapted our assessment methods to include new observations of pupils working at this level in the Primary part of the school. All pupils subject to the Engagement Model will have a Personalised Passport.

We have a plan to slowly roll out and share the observations and assessments at TAFs and EHCP reviews to support greater effectiveness of observations.  We utilise Earwig to support observations at home and welcome multi agency support. Working with parents in partnership is vital for this to be meaningful.


Internal moderation has taken place and we are becoming involved in cross school moderation and cross school training.

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