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Achievement for All Evaluation: Interim Report

Department for Education., London
Publication Date
  • Achievement For All
  • Inclusion
  • Sen
  • Send
  • Wider Outcomes
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Education


1Executive SummaryThe aims of this national evaluation project are to examine the impact of Achievement for All (AfA) on a variety of outcomes1for pupils with SEND and to find out what processes and practices in schools are most effective in improving these outcomes. Our research design comprises (a) a quantitative strand involving longitudinal assessment of outcomes for over 10,000 pupils with SEND (including a comparison group of pupils attending schools that are not involved in AfA) through teacher surveys, parent surveys and academic attainment data, and (b) a qualitative strand involving interviews with key strategic figures, longitudinal case studies of 20 AfA schools, ‘mini-case studies’ of 100 pupils/families, and ad-hoc data collection at a range of events relating to AfA. The findings presented in this report are derived from our baseline surveys and initial case study school visits. They therefore only represent an early ‘snapshot’ and should be interpreted in this context. Our baseline survey of pupil outcomes yielded data on around 10,000 pupils in the teacher survey and over 2,000 pupils in the parent survey – making this the largest study of its kind to be conducted in England. Initial analysis suggests that this monitoring sample is representative of national trends among pupils with SEND. We found moderate levels of agreement between teacher and parent surveys – which emphasizes the need for further sharing of information between home and school. In terms of overall trends, we found that outcomes tended to be worse for pupils who are:• males• at School Action Plus or have a Statement of SEN• attending secondary schools, and/or• identified as having ASD or BESD.The academic attainment data collected on our behalf by National Strategies also revealed some very interesting trends:• pupils with SEND do make progress across year groups• whilst females’ initial advantage in English increases over time, males’ initial advantage in Maths decreases over time1 These outcomes are: behaviour, bullying, positive relationships, attendance, wider participation, parental engagement and confidence, and academic attainment.2• the differences in attainment between pupils at different stages of SEND provision increases slightly as they get older• pupils with certain primary needs (e.g. MSI) make differential progress across year groups.Our qualitative data collected from key strategic figures suggested that AfA:• is developing thinking about what we mean by SEND• is promoting ‘joined up’ provision for children with SEND• can be used as a tool to build upon and improve existing practice and other initiatives• is promoting communication and sharing of ideas and practice between schools• is raising aspirations and expectations for children with SENDOur qualitative data collected during initial case study school visits suggested that:• despite some early concerns, AfA has been embraced by most schools• Strand 1 (assessment, tracking and intervention) is helping schools to make better use of data to improve outcomes for children with SEND• Strand 2 (structured conversations with parents) is having a very positive impact on parental engagement and confidence• Strand 3 (provision for wider outcomes) is promoting flexibility and creativity in school practice• schools face difficult barriers to implementation in terms of timescales, pressure, and initiative overload/malaise (this is particularly true of secondary schools)• key facilitators of effective implementation include strong leadership and assimilating AfA into existing structures and practices rather than seeing it as a ‘bolt on’Finally, our ad-hoc data collected from a range of AfA events suggested that:• there are concerns among teaching unions about the additional demands that AfA has placed upon teachers3• AfA resources have been used to develop training and skills of teaching staff and will therefore contribute to overall school development• resistance to AfA has been most evident in LAs where schools were not given a choice of whether or not to participateIn summary, our baseline quantitative data suggests that there are significant numbers of pupils with SEND who need the kind of support offered within AfA – strengthening the original rationale for the project. Our qualitative data – even at this early stage in the evaluation - suggests that AfA is already beginning to have a positive impact upon processes and practices within LAs and schools.

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