Routes for Learning materials support practitioners in assessing learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). They focus on learners’ communication and social interaction skills, early cognitive development and their interaction with the environment. Practitioners and academic experts have come together to update these materials to support the wider Curriculum for Wales guidance and to reflect the latest research in the field.
As part of the updating process, draft materials were made available in January. In February, practitioners joined events in north and south Wales to discuss the developments and offer feedback in person. Aron Bradley, Headteacher from Ysgol Hen Felin, attended the Cardiff event:
‘I attended the Routes for Learning event to find out more about the updated materials and contribute to the feedback process.
It was insightful to hear first-hand from experts who have developed the updated materials. It was particularly interesting to listen to academics and current school practitioners about the journey in reviewing the previous guidance and its use with appropriate pupils across Wales. Academic research made available since that guidance was produced was shared, and showed why it needed to be updated. All of which supports the teaching, learning and assessment of this particular cohort of learners.
There was excellent attendance from many schools across south, east and west Wales, which provided the basis for rich and detailed conversations on tables. I know mid and north Wales colleagues were meeting separately, and we were told that separate meetings were being held with health officials.
We were shown updated video examples, available to support classroom practitioners in using the Routemap to assess and to support professional discussions to ensure a shared understanding of the route descriptors. This will be particularly useful for practitioners within my school. There were further discussions about capturing the progression of learners working on Routes for Learning stages of development, and how we could ensure a shared understanding of this across Wales. It was clear from these conversations that Routes for Learning is a highly effective method of assessment for PMLD learners.
Practitioners also shared success stories, which resulted from highly effective classroom practice. For example, using assistive technology to accurately identify a pupil’s level of functioning, and subsequently delivering an appropriate curriculum relating to that pupil’s interests and needs.
The event was a great success and clearly achieved its objectives in sharing the updated guidance and gathering feedback. It’s also reassuring that more work on developing exemplar video materials is planned to further support classroom practitioners.’
During the feedback phase, comments were gathered via an online form, practitioner events and engagement with health professionals. The feedback was analysed and the materials were updated in light of the comments received.
The updated materials were published earlier in July and can be found here.
The Assessment Team, Welsh Government.