Assessment at Old Park School

An overview of the P Levels

The P levels are a set of descriptions for recording achievement of pupils with special needs. The “P” stands for Performance and it has been a statutory requirement to send P level data to Local Authorities and the DFE since 2007.

The P levels are used for pupils aged between 5 and 16 years. At Old Park School we do not, therefore, use P levels to assess pupils in Early Years or in Post 16.

The P level descriptors have been written for both Core Subjects and Foundation Subjects. The early P levels, P1-3, are often described as “Generic” because they are the same for all subjects. P levels 1, 2 and 3 are further sub-divided in the following way:

P1i   P1ii
P2i   P2ii
P3i   P3ii

Each sub-level has its own descriptors.

The subjects and their Strands appear from P4 onwards. P level Subject descriptors were written for the levels between P4 and P8. At Old Park School we have researched and trialled a break-down of skills beyond P8 and we have named them the “Old Park Scales”. Our range of assessments therefore extends from P1i to Old Park Scale 14.

Changes to assessment with P Levels


From September 2018 P levels 5-8 have been removed for pupils engaged in subject specific learning. They have been replaced by pre-Key Stage Standards. These standards are only used for summative assessment of pupils at the end of Key Stage. At Old Park we will continue to use our skills breakdown as a formative tool for daily assessments as this supports our pupils' learning and their next steps. 


During the academic year 2018-19 P levels 1-4 will continue to be used nationally for statutory assessment of pupils not yet engaged in subject specific learning. The Government has published the final report by the Rochford Review. It is expected that from September 2019 P levels 1-4 will also be removed and replaced with assessment against the 7 aspects of engagement for cognition and learning. We await confirmation of this in 2019.

J. Wiggin     Deputy Head Teacher Old Park School,  September 2018

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