P scales for RE

Performance - P Scale - attainment targets for pupils with special educational needs in Religious Education

If a child has special educational needs and their EYFS attainment against the EYFS profile has not been demonstrated at the end of this stage, the school may wish to continue with an early years curriculum to support the child’s learning and development. In this case, the EYFS profile, rather than P scales, should be used for assessment, as it may be suitable in year 1 for a small number of children. 

If schools choose to assess children using P scales towards the end of Year 1, teachers should base such judgements on a review of evidence gathered from everyday teaching and learning. Professional judgment should be used to decide which P scale descriptor best fits a child’s performance.

Performance descriptors:

P1 (i) 

Pupils encounter activities and experiences 

  • They may be passive or resistant 
  • They may show simple reflex responses [for example, startling at sudden noises or movements] 
  • Any participation is fully prompted.

P1 (ii) 

Pupils show emerging awareness of activities and experiences 

  • They may have periods when they appear alert and ready to focus their attention on certain people, events, objects or parts of objects [for example, becoming still in response to silence] 
  • They may give intermittent reactions [for example, vocalising occasionally during group celebrations and acts of worship].

P2 (i) 

Pupils begin to respond consistently to familiar people, events and objects 

  • They react to new activities and experiences [for example, briefly looking around in unfamiliar natural and manmade environments]. 
  • They begin to show interest in people, events and objects [for example, leaning towards the source of a light, sound or scent] 
  • They accept and engage in coactive exploration [for example, touching a range of religious artefacts and found objects in partnership with a member of staff].

P2 (ii) 

Pupils begin to be proactive in their interactions 

  • They communicate consistent preferences and affective responses [for example, showing that they have enjoyed an experience or interaction] 
  • They recognise familiar people, events and objects [for example, becoming quiet and attentive during a certain piece of music] 
  • They perform actions, often by trial and improvement, and they remember learned responses over short periods of time [for example, repeating a simple action with an artefact] 
  • They cooperate with shared exploration and supported participation [for example, performing gestures during ritual exchanges with another person performing gestures].

P3 (i) 

Pupils begin to communicate intentionally 

  • They seek attention through eye contact, gesture or action. 
  • They request events or activities [for example, prompting a visitor to prolong an interaction] 
  • They participate in shared activities with less support. They sustain concentration for short periods. 
  • They explore materials in increasingly complex ways [for example, stroking or shaking artefacts or found objects] 
  • They observe the results of their own actions with interest [for example, when vocalising in a quiet place] 
  • They remember learned responses over more extended periods [for example, following a familiar ritual and responding appropriately].

P3 (ii) 

Pupils use emerging conventional communication 

  • They greet known people and may initiate interactions and activities [for example, prompting an adult to sing or play a favourite song] 
  • They can remember learned responses over increasing periods of time and may anticipate known events [for example, celebrating the achievements of their peers in assembly] 
  • They may respond to options and choices with actions or gestures [for example, choosing to participate in activities] 
  • They actively explore objects and events for more extended periods [for example, contemplating the flickering of a candle flame] 
  • They apply potential solutions systematically to problems [for example, passing an artefact to a peer in order to prompt participation in a group activity].


Pupils use single elements of communication (for example, words, gestures, signs or symbols, to express their feelings) 

  • They show they understand ‘yes’ and ‘no’. They begin to respond to the feelings of others [for example, matching their emotions and laughing when another pupil is laughing] 
  • They join in with activities by initiating ritual actions or sounds. They may demonstrate an appreciation of stillness and quietness.


Pupils respond appropriately to simple questions about familiar religious events or experiences and communicate simple meanings 

  • They respond to a variety of new religious experiences [for example, involving music, drama, colour, lights, food, or tactile objects] 
  • They take part in activities involving two or three other learners 
  • They may also engage in moments of individual reflection.


Pupils express and communicate their feelings in different ways 

  • They respond to others in group situations and cooperate when working in small groups 
  • Pupils listen to, and begin to respond to, familiar religious stories, poems and music, and make their own contribution to celebrations and festivals 
  • They carry out ritualised actions in familiar circumstances 
  • They show concern and sympathy for others in distress [for example, through gestures, facial expressions or by offering comfort] 
  • They start to be aware of their own influence on events and other people.


Pupils listen to and follow religious stories 

  • They communicate their ideas about religion, life events and experiences in simple phrases 
  • They evaluate their own work and behaviour in simple ways, beginning to identify some actions as right or wrong on the basis of the consequences 
  • They find out about aspects of religion through stories, music or drama, answer questions and communicate their responses 
  • They may communicate their feelings about what is special to them [for example, using role play] 
  • They begin to understand that other people have needs and to respect these 
  • They make purposeful relationships with others in group activity.


Pupils listen attentively to religious stories or to people talking about religion 

  • They begin to understand that religious and other stories carry moral and religious meaning 
  • They are increasingly able to communicate ideas, feelings or responses to experiences or to retell religious stories 
  • They communicate simple facts about religion and important people in religions 
  • They begin to realise the significance of religious artefacts, symbols and places
  • They reflect on what makes them happy, sad, excited or lonely 
  • They demonstrate a basic understanding of what is right and wrong in familiar situations 
  • They are often sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and show respect for themselves and others 
  • They treat living things and their environment with care and concern.

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