Brent, Harrow, Herts Special Schools’ Assessment Group (BHHAG)

Our mission as a group is to achieve the very best outcomes for our pupils through best practice in planning and assessing their progress towards an independent adulthood through curriculum models best designed to meet their complex needs.

We believe key principles of best practice in assessment to be;

''Holistic in terms of what is being measured, informed by research, and personal to the child – HIP''

Our principles are informed by the best practice promoted in the Rochford Recommendations (2018);

  • Measuring the progress within the national curriculum for those SEND pupils with the appropriate levels of cognitive ability
  • Measuring levels of engagement, learning and response from those pupils working below this level.

To achieve excellence in assessment, we subscribe to the following;

  • Whilst we have a common benchmarking model developed by our subject leaders for the purpose of moderation, we have no prescribed model of assessment that we expect all schools in the group to use: our strength comes from the diversity of thinking and challenge within our group.
  • Assessment will be objective and based on clear criteria relating to what our pupils know, understand and the skills they are developing.  These criteria will reflect clear definitions of what constitutes expected and exceptional progress.  These will be linked to the Rochford Recommendations.  The criteria will also reflect our experience that different groups of pupils respond differently to criteria within the same level.
  • Assessment will address holistic development and change, including self-regulation of behaviour as well as growth within subject specific areas where appropriate, and will recognise that different groups of students have different trajectories in development, according to their needs.  Assessment will provide both a baseline from which to measure progress, and data to track progress along planned pathways.
  • Assessment will lead to appropriate accreditation for our older pupils and enable them to develop skills to go into the wider community and prepare for the next phase of learning and training.
  • Assessment will be informed by the voice of the parents and carers and the pupils, who are key participants in planning for holistic outcomes.  We seek to find every opportunity to involve the pupil in tracking and assessing their own progress and increase their motivation to achieve.  Communication with parents and carers about the holistic progress of their child is at the heart of our work.
  • We welcome the principles embodied in the Education, Health & Care plans of linking short-step targets to longer term planned outcomes. We also welcome the opportunity for multi-agency and therapeutic inputs as part of our target-setting and assessment practice.
  • Reflection is at the heart of our assessment practice. Assessment will enable us to follow the progress of each pupil closely, and to judge when interventions are required, or where adaptations or modifications are required in the teaching and learning experienced by the pupil.  The analysis of pupils’ progress through our assessment practice will be a key driver in informing and improving our teaching and learning practice.
  • Moderation within and between our schools is an essential tool to ensure rigour of assessment and continuous growth and challenge in our assessment practice.  It provides us a means of comparison with other schools that similar groups of pupils are optimising their rates of progress and how well our pupils are performing compared with national expectations. 

In order to achieve advanced and searching models of assessment, we work together to share and achieve best practice in the key factors which enable our pupils to reach the adult independence planned in their Education, Care and Health plans;

  1. Strong leadership at all levels throughout our schools
  2. Curriculum models – whole-school and at subject and aspect level which are tailored to meet the needs of our pupils
  3. Research and evidence-based pedagogical practice tailored to meet individual needs
  4. Research and evidence-based assessment models designed to measure progress within learning, personal and physical development and emotional health and well-being, centred upon planned targets and outcomes within the pupils’ Education, Health and Care plans
  5. Mechanisms developed to measure the impact of our planning and assessment
  6. Best practice in therapeutic assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation

In practice we achieve our principles through an agreed and common programme of activities;

A termly meeting of senior leaders in which best practice in a subject or aspect is shared, and strategy and planning is developed.

Subject leader teams tasked with termly moderation of pupils’ work, using the BHHAG benchmarking model to ensure commonality between schools.

Early Years and Post 16 groups meeting termly to share assessment and curriculum models and performance data.

Joint Safeguarding Learning walks led by senior leaders.

A programme of activities to develop Leadership and research-based learning

Our current membership of BHHAG comprises 7 schools;

  • Manor School, Brent
  • The Village School, Brent
  • Woodfield School, Brent
  • Woodlands Primary, Harrow
  • Kingsley High School, Harrow
  • Shaftesbury High School, Harrow
  • Watling View School, Hertfordshire

We believe the optimal size for this group to continue to be proactive and effective and sustain this level of committed partnership is between 6 – 8 schools.  Each school is asked on an annual basis if they wish to continue as a member of the group.  The schools commit to funding cover to enable the agreed programme of activities to continue.  Currently a school improvement adviser acts as the facilitator of the group and programme.  Costs are split equally between the participating schools and charged on a termly basis.  Should another school request to join the group, the request will be put to a meeting of the whole group.