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What is a p-scale? (1)
Anthony begins a task

The p-scales are a set of descriptions for recording the achievement of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) who are working towards the first level of the National Curriculum (level 1). They are split into eight different levels with P1 being the lowest and P8 the highest. Level P8 leads into national curriculum level 1. Levels P1 to P3 are not subject-specific, as they describe early learning and conceptual development. At these early levels, a curriculum subject offers a specific context for learning.

Department for Education, 2010

What is a p-scale? (2)
Anthony begins a task

How do teachers know what a particular p-scales 'looks like' in practice?

Special schools come to an agreed consensus of what each level descriptor in core subjects looks like in practice, so that they can moderate pupils' work.

This can be even more effective if groups of local special schools work together and come to a shared understanding as this ensures more rigour when assessing pupil progress and attainment against the p-scales.


Read this short document gives a more detailed description of p-scales.


P-scale explanation sheet

Case study: Anthony (1)

Watch the video of an English lesson at a special school again.

The teacher has planned to differentiate her lesson through different learning outcomes and tasks.

One of the pupils featured in the video, Anthony, has been assessed as working at level P6 of the National Curriculum for Writing and Communication and is working at level P7 for Reading.

Familiarise yourself with what this means by looking at the levels descriptors for P6 and P7 for all of the areas within 'English' on pages 8-12 of the following document.

  • Poster
Case study: Anthony (2)
Anthony prepares to make a jam

In the lesson, Anthony is expected to:

  • Follow instructions for making a sandwich
  • Sequence actions, and
  • Make the sandwich

Look at the P6 descriptor for 'writing' on page 12 of the p-scale level descriptions document and then look at the example of Anthony's work.


P-scale level descriptions


P6 work example

Does Anthony fulfil the P6 criteria and match the moderated piece of work? Compare your answer with the completed assessment and moderation form below.


P6 assessment and moderation

Examples of work
Anthony washes his hands

Have a look at some more examples of work and completed assessment and moderation forms.


P5 work example


P5 assessment and moderation


P7 work example


P7 assessment and moderation