You may start to hear your child’s teacher talk about how your child engages with their learning.  But what does this mean and why is it important?

What is engagement?

Engagement is when your child is enjoying, aware and interested in what is happening around them.  They might show this enjoyment and interest by smiling, looking or reaching out, for example.  Engagement looks different for every child and it can change over time as the child develops and grows.

We know that this can be a big challenge for our children with complex needs.  We also know that it is essential that we do everything we can to increase our children’s engagement so that they can learn and develop.

If our children are engaged then they can begin to make progress with their outcomes in their Education Health and Care Plans – outcomes that we’ve decided together are priorities for our children.

What is the Engagement Model?

This year we are moving over to using the Engagement Model for our children with complex needs who are in Years 1 to 6.  The Department for Education recognise that children with the most complex needs might not make progress in a straight line.  They know that children are all individuals and that we should only compare them to themselves.  Engagement is essential for learning.

The Engagement Model is a process we will go through at school to monitor and improve the learning opportunities for every child with complex needs.  Your child’s teacher will let you know if your child will be using the Engagement Model.

What are Engagement Profiles?

The Department for Education want every child with complex needs to have an ‘Engagement Profile’.  These profiles will include:

  • a description of what your child looks like when they are engaged,
  • tips for how to engage your child,
  • their learning opportunities and support,
  • information about what changes have been made to increase their engagement
  • videos of your child when they are highly engaged in their learning

How do we increase children’s engagement? 

In school we can make changes in many areas to give your child what they need to engage with us and with their learning.  But these can apply to all areas of your child’s life, for example:

  • Their timetable and activities
  • Support with their physical health
  • Support with their communication
  • The environment they are working in
  • Their sensory diet – how much and how often they have/get physical activity
  • Support for their behaviour
  • The resources and toys available within activities

Who is involved?

Your thoughts, ideas and knowledge about your child is absolutely vital to this.  Your child’s family, teachers and other professionals that work with the child, work together on each child’s engagement profile and therefore collaborate to increase and maintain your child’s engagement.

Please speak to your child’s class teacher about your child’s engagement – how you know they’re enjoying something and what people around your child can do to help them to engage.

Please click the following links to see examples of Engagement at Hadrian School.


Engagement Profile Example