Statutory guidance

P scales: attainment targets for pupils with SEN

Performance (P scale) attainment targets for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).



The statutory teacher assessments due to take place in summer 2021, including the transition year for the engagement model and the final year of P scales 1 to 4, have been cancelled. We expect the engagement model to become statutory from September 2021, replacing P scales 1 to 4.

Schools can use the engagement model in their own assessments in summer 2021 if they wish, while those schools that need more time to implement the engagement model before September 2021, could consider assessing pupils against P scales during the summer term in 2021. Arrangements for 2021/22 will be published in due course.

This guidance specifies performance attainment targets (P scales) and performance descriptors for pupils aged 5 to 16 with special educational needs (SEN) who are working below the standard of the national curriculum assessments, and not engaged in subject-specific study. It is for:

  • headteachers
  • governing bodies
  • local authorities

It applies to:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • academies and free schools
  • non-maintained special schools
  • local authorities

P scales 5-8 have been replaced by the pre-key stage standards for KS1 and KS2.

Published 16 July 2014
Last updated 2 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added information on the introduction of pre-key stage standards to assess pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests.

  2. First published.