Goal Setting Systems


Goal achievementGoals can be set within any target/goal setting systems or rating system and the process can be adapted to suit the systems used in your school.

The SEND Code of Practice for 0 to 25 years (January 2015) sets out the requirement for schools to follow an “Assess, Plan, Do Review” Framework (section 6.44). The Framework does not specify a particular target setting framework that schools must use (section 6.72). However, it notes that a school’s identification of a child’s needs should start with an expression of the desired outcomes for the child (section 6.40). Various individualised target setting approaches could be used including Individual Education Plans, an individualised Provision Map and Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS).

Here is some more information on GAS:

What is GAS?

Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) is a method for setting goals and reviewing the extent to which these goals have been achieved. It is also an evaluative tool which can be used to check the quality of the goals that we set and assess the success of the interventions that we put in place.

GAS involves:

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The scaling process is what makes GAS unique. Rather than simply showing whether a goal has been achieved or not, GAS reveals the extent to which the goal has been achieved. This is much more useful:

GAS-grading scale

Why use GAS?

Important advances in children’s development are sometimes ‘too small’ to be picked up by standardised measurement tools. However, these developments can be hugely significant for our children therefore it is important that we have a way of measuring them. Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) (Kiresuk and Sherman, 1968) is a sensitive, statistical measure that allows us to measure these small changes for a wide range of goals. It provides a robust framework for setting developmental goals and monitoring progress towards these goals. GAS fits with the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ model described in the Code of Practice 2014:

  1. Identifying a child’s area of need.
  2. Setting a SMART goal for the child that is relevant to the area of need (using the Fagus developmental guides).
  3. Making a plan to help the child achieve the goal.
  4. ‘Scaling’ the goal.
  5. Reviewing the extent to which the goal has been achieved.


In context:

  • The GAS process involves prioritising the most important area(s) of need and setting SMART goals in these areas.
  • Pupils will never have more than 5 GAS goals at any one time – we expect that 3 will be enough to work on.
  • Sometimes a child may have 3 goals relating to the same area or objective.

The GAS process encourages analysis of pupil behaviour and their attainment of goals as well as developing reflective practice amongst staff. Reviewing GAS goals encourages teaching staff to consider why a goal was/wasn’t achieved. For example, if a child performs much better than expected, the goal may have been ‘too easy’ and staff can use the Developmental Guides to set a more appropriate goal. If a child performs much worse than expected the goal may have been too difficult, set in an inappropriate domain, or external factors may have been affecting successful performance of the desired behaviour.