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The Engagement Model and Tapestry

by stephenk on June 3

We have been contacted by many settings, asking if we will be including a new framework for ‘The Engagement Model’ in September 2020, when it becomes statutory to use the guidance when assessing children who are working below the old P Scale 5. Have a look at our Engagement Model article which provides more information on the model, as well as our thinking as to how it could be implemented.

We feel that it would not be a good idea to add a distinct framework for these assessments. The guidance clearly states that the Engagement Model ‘should not replace a school’s existing planning, assessment and reporting system’. We also feel that this model should not be used to produce ‘data’ with the intention of analysing and comparing progress to others. Our Engagement Model article goes into more detail about this.

Tapestry already has a built-in facility that we believe is ideal for organising observations and supporting monitoring progress, linked to the Engagement Model: the Hashtag feature. When creating an observation, if you add a hashtag (#) to any word, that word then becomes ‘searchable’.


Stephen explored the #MessyPlay tray with interest with some physical prompts.

In the above example, when the observation is published the hashtag #MessyPlay will become clickable. When clicked it will bring up any other observations that contain the same hashtag. You can read more about ‘tagging’ on Tapestry here.

When working with the Engagement Model, we would advocate the use of more than one hashtag in these particular observations.



Stephen explored the chimes independently for 30 seconds. #SKExploration

In this example, the initials of the child make their particular hashtags unique. If we wanted to find all the examples of Stephen ‘exploring’, we could click on one of the #SKExploration hashtags or search for it. If we wanted to find all observations linked to the Engagement Model for Stephen we could click on or search #SKEngagementModel. The actual hashtags could be much smaller if preferred (#SKEM). If we wanted to be more specific we could add more detail like a curriculum area to the hashtag.

We hope you find Tagging within Tapestry supports you as you work with the Engagement Model.

Our new Bespoke Flags feature may also lend itself to using the Engagement Model on Tapestry. You can find out more in this tutorial.



SEND Advisor and Outreach Teacher

Stephen worked in mainstream for the first four years of his career before moving to Cherry Garden School in London where he was Early Years lead and Deputy Headteacher. Cherry Garden is a school for children with severe and complex support needs, and Stephen was based there for 11 years before joining the FSF in September 2019 as our SEND Advisor. He now lives in the North East where he visits nurseries and schools to offer free support, and he shares the Branch Maps that he worked on developing at Cherry Garden. These are now part of the Tapestry assessment system. Stephen has two young children who contribute hugely to his sleep deprivation and generally ‘tired’ look.