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Engagement Steps

An easy-to-use observation-based assessment framework for pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning

Curriculum: SEND - for pupils not yet engaged in subject-specific learning (formerly assessed as working P1-P6)
Connecting Steps assessment framework: Engagement Steps


B Squared created Engagement Steps to be used as an alternative to P Levels for the assessment of pupils previously assessed as working between P1-P6. The Rochford Review: Final Report recognised that the subject-specific areas assessed by the P Levels were not appropriate for pupils with the most significant disabilities. Used within our Connecting Steps assessment software, Engagement Steps has been designed to identify and record the achievements of individuals with Severe Learning Disabilities (SLD) and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) who are not engaged in subject-specific learning.

Identify the small steps of progress made by individuals with SLD & PMLD

Connecting Steps has been developed to identify and record even the smallest of achievements. It was designed by a Special Educational Needs teacher who found that existing assessment systems were not able to detect the small improvements achieved by her pupils. Our assessment points can be broken down into the 7 levels of achievement that cover from initial Encounter, through to Engagement and finally Gaining Skills & Understanding, before a pupil is deemed to have Mastered a particular skill. This enables teachers to show a pupil’s progress in the smallest of increments.

Track progress based on the 4 broad areas of need and 5 areas of engagement

We designed the Engagement Steps framework to support the learning and assessment of pupils not yet engaged in subject-specific learning. It is divided into key developmental areas which reflect the 4 broad areas of need listed in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years:‚Äč


0 - 25

Supports all SENDRead More




  • Cognition & Learning
  • Communication & Interaction
  • Social, Emotional & Mental Health
  • Sensory & Physical

I just want to say how much I value the new Engagement Steps. It has really informed teaching and made me consider specific areas far more. Great work!”

Michelle Hubbard, teacher

Recognise non-linear progress for pupils who engage with skills across multiple levels

Engagement Steps is designed to be used in a non-linear fashion to reflect the fact that pupils will develop skills across multiple steps simultaneously. Through our research and understanding, we know that pupils do not work progressively through each step, completing one and then moving on to the next. Instead they experience and engage with skills across multiple levels. For example, a child may develop their responses to environmental sounds regularly but may also be less motivated to respond to human voices.

Cognition & Learning
  • Responsiveness
  • Curiosity
  • Investigation
  • Discovery
  • Anticipation
  • Persistence
  • Initiation


    Communication & Interaction
      • Expressive Communication
      • Receptive Communication
Social, Emotional & Mental Health
  • Expressive Communication
  • Receptive Communication
Sensory & Physical
  • Sensory Operation
  • Physical Operation
    Fine Motor
    Gross Motor

SEND Assessment

Our new assessment frameworks for pupils working below age related expectations.

Case Study

Demonstrating 'whole student' progress in a SEMH setting at Heath Farm School.

Connecting Steps

Our assessment software improves pupil outcomes, reduces admin time and simplifies reporting.

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Demonstrate pupil progress with photo/video evidence

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