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EBD: Non-statutory assessment

QCA is currently developing non-statutory assessment tools and guidance on target setting for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties. The guidance is applicable to special schools, mainstream schools and pupil referral units - whether primary or secondary. This comes in response to special schools with EBD pupils who have asked for guidance to assist schools wanting to set targets in this area. It follows on from the QCA and Department for Education and Employment publication 'Supporting the Target Setting Process' (1998) which developed guidance on target setting. This new guidance emphasise school improvement rather than on supporting individual pupils.

QCA asked the University of Birmingham to develop an assessment scale for school target setting in the area of pupil's emotional and behavioural development. The scale is not designed to replace the more detailed diagnostic assessments some schools use with individual pupils. Neither is it used to support individual education plans. It aims to help schools review their support systems for raising pupils' attainment in this field. This could include, for example, the curriculum, the pastoral system, the introduction of measures such as counselling, circle time and nurture groups. The scale measures pupil ratings in three key areas where evidence shows schools can make a crucial difference in pupil attainment:

* Conduct behaviour - such as learning how to behave towards other pupil and property * Emotional behaviour - such as mixing with other pupils, feeling confident * Learning behaviour - such as paying attention and working as a part of a group.

The information gathered by the scale will be useful to behaviour support teams, school management, teachers, learning support assistants and outside agencies. Some schools involved in the pilot of this guidance have successfully involved groups of pupils in setting their own group targets.

The scale is designed to provide information, which allows schools to evaluate how successful they are in supporting their pupils' emotional and behavioural development.

The information is moderated within the school: the scale is to be used as part of a systematic approach. It is not designed to pathologise pupils.

The scale and guidance will be available on the QCA website in late November.

The major project on pupils working significantly below age-related expectations is nearing completion. The process of dissemination will begin with a conference for education authority advisers and inspectors in Birmingham in late November. Contact the Equal Opportunities and Access Team at QCA for further information.

Nick Peacey is principal manager, equal opportunities and access and John Brown is QCA principal officer, equal opportunities and access, for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. Tel: 020 7509 5555.Web:

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