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'A major strength of the school is the personalised curriculum based on a detailed understanding of each pupil’s learning needs' (Ofsted 2018)


Assessment forms a key aspect of educational provision at the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre. The results of assessment enable us to monitor student progress, inform future planning and measure the effectiveness of our provision.

Assessment at our Lifeskills Learning Centre takes three basic forms:

  • Initial/baseline assessment

  • Formative assessment

  • Summative assessment


Effective assessment should identify students’ individual needs and provide accurate information about student progress. It allows staff to plan and further support the students’ development by providing relevant and challenging learning experiences through the use of appropriate teaching methods.


An essential feature of any assessment system is the identification of starting points for learning from which progress can be measured.

All new students are tested in class or if necessary more rigorously within the first few months of starting at the Learning Centre. Students may join the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre at any time during Key Stage 3, Key stage 4 or Post-16; and students may, or may not, have regularly attended school prior to their placement.


Information obtained and considered during the assessment period includes:

  • Any previous school records

  • Statement of Special Educational Needs/EHCPs and Annual Review Reports

  • Views of the parent/carer

  • Views of the student

  • Reports from other relevant professionals.

  • Standardised assessments to profile basic skills – at ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre we make use of the OCR baseline assessments for English, Maths and ICT.

  • Autism Education Trust (AET) Progression Framework – an assessment tool to address skills and understanding that students may find difficult as a consequence of their Autism.  


Click on the button below to find out more:

Autism Education Trust - Progression Framework 

These ongoing assessments are used to inform future learning and target setting (AfL). This is then incorporated into each student’s personal programme.  From the initial assessment period, and all information gathered about the student, an individual ‘flightpath’ for that student will be determined.  This flightpath will outline the expected progress the young person will make whilst at the Learning Centre, and the expected outcome in terms of examination grades or accreditations.  Decisions will be made as to whether the young person follows our orange pathway – an academic curriculum, or our purple pathway – a curriculum based around functional and lifeskills.  Progress for each student is measured against individual curriculum level descriptors on the orange pathway, and against descriptors in five competencies on the purple pathway.  We have called this our ASPIRE Assessment Model.

Click on this button to find out more about our student flightpaths:

Student Flightpaths


Effective formative assessment recognises the achievements of students on an ongoing basis and informs planning. It should:

  • Be meaningful and appropriate to the age of the student

  • Take place across the whole range of curriculum experiences

  • Be dynamic and interactive (done with and not to the student)

  • Focus on the whole student not just on areas of difficulty

  • Take account of a wide definition of progress

  • Support effective communication between parents/professionals by involving everyone

  • Be part of a continuous cycle, linking to the student’s ILP and Annual Review processes

  • Be sensitive to the impact of factors such as unfamiliar people/environments

  • Be timed to suit the student

  • Be evidence-based but manageable

  • Be supplemented by diagnostic materials where appropriate

  • Identify change and the need to re-evaluate targets.


“Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where they are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”

(Assessment Reform Group 2002)


Summative assessment at the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre takes the form of an assessment task undertaken during or at the end of every unit of work. It may take the form of:

  • A specific assessed piece of work

  • An evaluation of a number of pieces of work from the curriculum unit.

  • A discussion between the student and staff member, which makes clear the student’s level of understanding.


ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre uses our 'ASPIRE Assessment Model’ to determine the progress of each student.  For every curriculum area (orange pathway) and for each of the 5 Competencies (purple pathway)  a set of criteria is in place to determine whether a student is making:

  1. Good progress – working at the expected level.

  2. Insufficient Progress – working below expected levels.

  3. Excellent Progress – working at the top end of expected levels.

  4. Outstanding Progress – working above expected levels.


The progress rating for each student in each subject area will be recorded and tracked termly in our Tracking and Progress Report.


Summative assessment at Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Post 16 is linked to recognised accreditation, through the OCR Functional Skills Programmes and ASDAN Awards.  Students will be assessed according to their achievements in externally accredited programmes set by ASDAN and OCR. This will be assessed by staff, internally moderated and monitored and verified by ASDAN/OCR.

Where appropriate, Key Stage 4 and Post 16 students will be entered for examinations in GCSE/ A Level subjects.  Students will be entered for examination as external candidates at our link exam centre in Coventry.


An Annual Report for each student is made available to parents/carers as set out in The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005. This will include end of Key Stage information.

In addition to the annual summer report a termly summary report tracks progress for each term.

Pupil’s termly attainment is tracked over time using a Tracking and Progress Report , regular reviews of the ASDAN programmes through the Plan-Do-Review cycle; and Individual Learning Plan (ILP) Record sheets. Levels and progress are shared with parents/carers at annual reviews and three parent review days each year. These ILPs support progress towards their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

These targets may be in

  • Communication

  • Gross and fine motor development

  • Personal, social and emotional development

  • Behaviour

  • Academic achievement.


ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre strives to ensure that each member of staff demonstrates the highest standards in relation to Good Autism Practice.  To support this, each staff member uses the AET Competency Framework assessment tool to evaluate their own knowledge, understanding and skills in working with young people with Autism.  This assessment tool identifies areas for development and training needs; and supports the Performance Appraisal process.

To ensure that the Learning Centre provision meets the needs of the young people with Autism the AET Schools Autism Standards assessment tool is used.  These standards reflect key legislation and aspirations in the new SEND code of practice 0-25 (2014) and the Common Inspection Framework (September 2015); and enable the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre to make informed choices when deciding which of the standrds will support the priorities within the Learning Centre Improvement Plan.  Click on the button below to find out more:

Autism Trust Standards 

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