Pupil progress

We maintain high aspirations and ensure our pupils are challenged with their work.

Success of our pupils

We maintain high aspirations and ensure our pupils are challenged with their work. As we are a special school for pupils with learning difficulties, other than those who attend Cleveland House, we recognise that our pupils will not be reaching the expected standards across the curriculum for their chronological age.

We place the emphasis on individualised learning journeys and overall progress is best represented by the percentage of pupils achieving challenging targets.

We measure our pupils’ success by the progress they make from their very different starting points. For some pupils successfully learning to communicate a choice between two things is great progress, while for others gaining GCSE qualifications is an equivalent success. All these achievements are as important as each other.

Targets are set by benchmarking their achievements with other pupils who start at the same standard at a similar age.

The proportions who achieve these targets in core subjects is high and reflects the continuing focus on pupils learning relevant skills to their starting points and taking qualifications relevant to their needs and interests.

The breadth of curriculum on offer at Dorothy Goodman School continues to support all pupils to make excellent progress and whilst some have been developing their communication skills, learning how to say no, request more or make choices, other pupils have achieved GCSEs or vocational qualifications.

When organising access to the curriculum and analysing their progress we group our pupils into four bands. The bands cover all our age groups:

  • Life choices are pupils currently working at pre subject specific standards
  • Like skills are pupils who are currently achieving equivalent standards to those expected at Pre Key Stage 1
  • Vocational pupils are currently achieving equivalent standards to those expected at Key Stage 1 and above
  • Academic pupils are working just below expected standards at Key Stage 2 and above.

The subject areas assessed within our school system are broken down as follows:

  • Life choices (only followed by our Choices band)
  • Communication (including literacy and English)
  • Logic (including numeracy and maths)
  • Inquiry (including science and humanities)
  • Creativity (including art, music, drama)
  • Physical
  • Personal and Social Development.

The content of the curriculum takes  into account the year group a pupil is currently part of chronologically. By using a trajectory approach we set expectations at the highest levels of challenge for our pupils in each of these bands. Due to the impact of Covid-19 the data for this report was taken from progress recorded up to April 2020.

Nearly all (95.5%) of our pupils across the school were making positive progress towards achieving and exceeding their targets within priority areas. This indicated that outstanding progress had been maintained while pupils were fully attending school until the end of March.

Across the seven areas assessed 90% of pupils were making expected or excellent progress, that is exceeding expectations in relation to previous learning. Of the remaining pupils all but a few were demonstrating emerging skills across the curriculum which indicated an increasing pace within their own trajectory.

Those pupils eligible for pupil premium achieved extremely well up until the end of March with more on track to achieve expected or better progress than those who were not eligible for pupil premium.

The school has 10 children who are Looked After – all of these pupils made good or better progress particularly in communication (including English) and Personal social development (PSD).

A breakdown of pupil progress by Key Stages can be found below.



There were 17 pupils from Dorothy Goodman School  (excluding Cleveland House) who moved on from the school this year. 9 pupils have moved on to study in four different colleges. The range of courses accessed include building and construction, art and design, IT and media, sport, foundation learning and animal care. Five pupils moved to Specialist College providers within the locality. Three pupils chose not to name further educational provision, with aspirations for support through social care.

Breakdown by Key Stage

Please click on the Key Stage below for the breakdown of pupil progress


Over the last year until March 2020, when there was a National Lockdown, all our pupils were making good progress in relation to their starting points and were demonstrating emerging skills across the learning areas.

As a school, all our pupils at this age have either cognition and learning or communication and interaction as their primary need. Some continued to attend school during lockdown and for those who did not, we sent work packs to help parents work at home with the children and ideas via Google.

We also contacted all parents or carers by phone at least once per week to have a discussion about their child’s welfare and to ensure we were offering as much help as possible for the pupils to access the provision identified in their EHC Plans.

Key Stage 1: (Ages 5 – 7)

By the end of March 2020 our school based assessment system TOPS (Tracking Our Pupils’ Skills) showed that all pupils had accelerated progress.

Nearly all pupils in this Key Stage made good or exceeded levels of progress with excellent outcomes for pupils in the Choices and Skills bands. Developments in Communication and PSD were key strengths for this key stage.

Of the few pupils who were not on track, one had joined the school later than the start of the academic year and the others had started with a change in approach and intervention. 

Key Stage 2: (Ages 7 – 11)

Up until the end of March most pupils made good or exceeded progress expectations. Of those who were not reaching the expected rates of progress when starting points are considered all had significant medial or health needs during the period being monitored.

Achievement in Communication (including English), Logic (including maths) and PSD were key strengths for this key stage. 

Key Stage 3:  (ages 11 – 14)

While progress made by pupils in this Key Stage is slower than in other key stages we are still pleased with the outcomes as once again most pupils were well on their way to making expected levels of progress or better.

A small group of pupils were beginning to increase the progress they were making prior to the end of March. Once again achievement in Communication and PSD were key strength.

In this Key Stage we also help pupils with the change from a primary model to a more secondary model for learning.

Key Stage 4: (ages 14 – 16)

The majority of pupils made good or better progress and a high proportion of these pupils made exceeded expectations.

Much of the work in this Key Stage for pupils within the skills, vocational and academic bands had focussed on preparing our pupils for meeting the requirements to sit accredited qualifications including entry levels, functional skills and GCSEs.

Achievement in PSD was a clear strength for the key stage and this included starting to apply social skills to a wider range of situations. 

Key Stage 5: (ages 16 – 19)

The vast majority of pupils made expected or  better progress. Once again a high proportion of this group exceeded expectations. 

Many of the Key Stage 5 students who were working towards GCSEs having taken an additional year to study the subjects and their progress is demonstrated by the accreditation they achieved more than TOPS however it is evident that achievement in PSD, Communication and Logic were well embedded across the key stage. 


This was the first time that we have used trajectories to benchmark the outcomes of pupils. The trajectories were set during the course of this academic year. 

14 pupils took accredited courses within the school this academic year. 9 of these pupils accessed qualifications at levels which were in line with their trajectories. A further five pupils completed accreditation at a stage prior to their expected trajectory. This was to assist with them learning how to sit and access examinations/tests or how to improve their completion of coursework. We do not enter for examinations and accreditation in a single year group and therefore pupils will have the opportunity to build upon their experiences this year ready for accreditation at more challenging levels.

There were initially 26 entries for Entry Level qualifications but due to the impact of Covid 19 some pupils were unable to complete the required work to gain qualifications. Work with those pupils leaving school was prioritised with others having their entries deferred to the academic year 2020/21. Four pupils achieved seven Level 1 qualifications between them in English, Maths and Drama. At Entry Level nine qualifications were achieved in English and Maths. One pupil achieved Entry Level 1 English and Maths, three pupils achieved Entry Level 2 Maths, One pupil achieved Entry Level 2 English and one pupil achieved Entry Level 3 English. 

Our 4 students who had their year long internships interrupted de to Covid still achieved their  BTEC qualifications with much being done to support their home study from March.