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QCA news from John Brown

THE QCA is involved in the publication of several pieces of guidance for schools which exemplify how the statutory statement on "Inclusion: providing effective learning for all pupils" in the national curriculum handbook can be used with various groups of pupils. This year the QCA will be monitoring the effect that these initiatives are having on schools and pupils. Our evaluation will include the views of headteachers, SENCOs, class teachers, LEA advisers, parents and pupils.

The QCA has just published guidelines on supporting the planning, development and implementation of the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties. Planning, teaching and assessing the curriculum for pupils with learning difficulties draws on effective practice across a range of schools and can be used in maintained special, primary and secondary schools and special units. The materials are for all those who work with pupils with learning difficulties.

The guidelines relate to all pupils aged five to 16 who are unlikely to achieve above level 2 when they reach key stage 4. There are 15 booklets in total including general guidance, a developing skills booklet and 13 subject booklets. The subject material includes performance descriptions showing pupils' progress up to level 1 of the national curriculum, which can be used to recognise attainment and structure teaching. Additional copies of the guidelines are available to order from the QCA and can also be downloaded from Supporting the Target Setting Process: Guidance for Effective Target Setting, for pupils with special educational needs - often referred to as the "P Scales", guidance is a joint publication from the QCA and Department for Education and Skills.

This guidance builds on earlier guidance and includes a further breakdown of levels P1-P3 but with only minor changes made to P4-P8. Schools will be required to set targets for all pupils at the end of 2001 for 2003. It should be noted that the use of the P-scales remains non-statutory. Copies of the publication should be ordered from the DFES, tel: 0845 602 2260 or fax: 0845 603 3360.

Further work on the P-scales is being carried out. Schools may volunteer to take part in the P-scales data collection project and in return they will be provided with a breakdown of their school's attainment mapped against national data.

The QCA will shortly begin the cycle of national data collection of the P-scales. Schools can contribute to this process if they wish. The aims are to build up a national picture of the development patterns for pupils working below level 1 of the national curriculum. Currently in progress is "Supporting school improvement: targeting pupils' emotional and behavioural development". It is designed to support schools, whether primary or secondary, special or mainstream, that wish to support whole school or group improvement in pupils' emotional and behavioural development. The guidance will be available on the QCA website soon and on paper in the summerautumn.

In addition, curriculum models below level 1 of the qualifications framework will aim to disseminate good practice curriculum models for learners with learning difficulties in post-16 phases of education. The guidance will examine the criteria and process for developing an appropriate learning programme for learners with additional needs.

If you would like any information relating to the above projects, please contact the Equal Opportunities Team, tel:020 7509 5600 or e-mail: John Brown is principal officer for Equal Opportunities and Access at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. Tel: 020 7509 5555. Web:

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