Teachers have their say on how well the Common Assessment Framework works in their school
23 July 2010
A recent survey of teachers’ views shows that a large majority now have good awareness of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), its benefits, and its use in their school.
The NFER Teacher Voice survey asked just over 1400 teachers in primary and secondary schools across England a range of questions regarding their own experiences of the CAF process and what they felt the benefits and challenges to be.
Who knows about CAF and who undertakes the lead professional role?
Nearly 90 per cent of primary school teachers and three-quarters of all secondary teachers are aware of CAF and knew who had taken the lead professional role.
In most instances, the lead professional was reported as being school based, with just over half of teachers in primary schools stating that head teachers or senior managers undertook the role and a similar number of secondary schools teachers responding that it was their head of pastoral care or SENCO. Around ten per cent of participating teachers indicated that a non-school based practitioner undertook the role.
What do teachers see as the benefits of the use of CAF?
The responses show that primary school teachers feel that the CAF is of more benefit than those at secondary schools. The primary school teachers reported the main benefits as being:
improved multi-agency communication (53 %)
enhanced communication between schools and families (52%)
providing a holistic understanding of a child’s needs (52%).
Just under twenty per cent indicated that they were not aware of any benefits of CAF, compared to around a third of teachers in secondary schools.
In secondary schools, the teachers who felt that CAF had benefits, saw these as:
helping children and young people to receive targeted support for their individual needs (45%)
improved multi-agency communication (41%)
supporting the early intervention agenda (38%).
What challenges face schools?
Whilst appreciating the benefits, teachers also felt there were a number of challenges for schools, with almost a quarter of respondents from both sectors commenting that staff had not received training.
Responses from primary school teachers show that they felt the main challenges were the time taken to complete the forms and to arrange and attend the team around the child meetings, whereas for secondary teachers the greatest challenge was engaging parents in the process.
Ten per cent of primary school respondents felt that there was a lack of support from the local authority compared to seven per cent of secondary school respondents.
Previous research for the Local Authority Research Consortium (LARC) showed that the combined elements of the CAF process can support improved outcomes for children, young people and their families. LARC is currently investigating the CAF process looking at cost effectiveness and whether early intervention, supported by CAF, can bring about cost savings.
For more information contact Gail Goodwin, NFER Media and Communications Manager, on 01753 637159 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Allie Chownsmith, Media and Editorial Assistant, on 01753 637155 / email@example.com
Notes to editors:
For more information about the Teacher Voice Omnibus survey visit: /teacher-voice/
For more information on LARC visit: www.larc-research.org.uk