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What are P scales and P levels?

The P scales are a set of descriptions for recording the achievement of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) who are working towards the first level of the National Curriculum (level 1). The QCA publication Performance – P level-attainment targets includes a complete set of the latest P level descriptions for all National Curriculum subjects.

The P scales are split into eight different levels with P1 being the lowest and P8 the highest. Level P8 leads into national curriculum level 1. Levels P1 to P3 are not subject-specific, as they describe early learning and conceptual development. At these early levels, a curriculum subject offers a specific context for learning.

The P scales have undergone a number of revisions. For more detailed clarification of the latest revisions and relevant guidance see the Revisions and changes section.

Current status

From September 2007, schools are required to submit data, using the P scales, for pupils aged 5-16 with SEN who are working below level 1 of the National Curriculum. Attainment data (P levels) are needed for English, mathematics and science. Pupil data would previously have been reported as 'W' in this annual data collection process.

A P scales letter was sent to all schools, clarifying the mandatory requirements for reporting P scales.

In this section

  • What are P scales and P levels?