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Setting Goals and Monitoring Progress

Using the Fagus Developmental Resources to measure progress

Monitoring progress should be an integral part of teaching and leadership within a setting.  The progress of all pupils should be evaluated regularly through a rigorous process of data monitoring.  The effectiveness of your support should be evaluated by staff using the 'assess, plan, do, review' cycle to ensure a graduated approach.  Fagus can be implemented to baseline a pupils' initial social and emotional needs and then evaluate the impact of any intervention, to ensure you are only using interventions that work with a strong evidence base of effectiveness.  This information can be captured in a variety of systems such as Individual Provision Maps, Goal Attainment Setting (GAS) or a similar goal setting system or rating scales.

The Developmental Guides, Developmental Checklists and Developmental Profiles can be used to establish a child’s developmental progress within a particular emotional/social domain and determine whether the child is behaving in a way which is characteristic of their age.

The Developmental Profiles can be used to track the child's emotional and social progress over time by repeating some or all of the checklists.   It is recommended that the profiles and checklists are updated at least on an annual basis (e.g. before the pupil's annual review).  Save the data from your original profile and compare it to the updated profile.

You can use the Developmental Checklists to review progress when you have set a child's target and goals which relate to a specific behaviours.    You can save your answers from the 'Review Results' for individual checklists and compare it to the updated data.

If you are concentrating on a specific social and emotional domain, they you can use the Developmental Guides on their own or with the checklist tool.  By flicking through the Guides teaching staff can identify which behaviours a child is failing to demonstrate and what they would like them to improve. Using this information they can set a goal for the child based on what would be expected to happen next in typical development.

Using the Developmental Guides 

  • Think about the child's pattern of behaviour and consider which guides are the most relevant.  What are the priority areas of development you want to accelerate?  Think about this in broad terms (self-awareness, self-concept, how they cope with challenges, how they socialise, how they play, their self-esteem, how their language skills are developing).  Select the most appropriate guide and read the definition at the beginning of the introduction to familiarise yourself with the topic area.
  • Is this priority area developmentally appropriate?  For example you may struggle to promote self-esteem when a child has limited awareness and understanding of themselves (self-awareness) and a negative self-concept.  Or for a child who is struggling with socialisation you may have to develop a more age appropriate awareness and understanding of others first.
  • Once you have decided on a priority area, roughly what age is the child's behaviour equivalent to?  Turn to the age range which corresponds with the child's chronological age range, consider if the child is demonstrating those behaviours, if they are not work backwards through the guide to see where their current functioning lies.  The right age range is the one where most of the behaviours match the child's current functioning although it may not be easy to specify what age range their functioning lies because a child may show a mix of developmentally appropriate behaviours.
  • Now you need to set out your objective - make a general statement using the wording from the guide outlining what you would like the child to achieve - this could be a behaviour in the guide that the child is not demonstrating. Once you have established what behaviour you would like to progress, use the guide to help you describe what the behaviour would be like after progress.  What is the next step forward in development from the current point?  This will be your SMART goal/target.
  • Then make an intervention plan to work towards the goal.  Be specific and identify what you will do, when, where, how and when.  How will the goal be achieved?
  • Now review the goal.  You can use a goal/target setting system and the process can be adapted to suit the systems in your school.

For some working examples of SMART Targets and Objectives recently set by Beech Lodge School go to:

The goal setting process involves the following stages:

  1. Determine the emotional/social area(s) that the pupil struggles with.
  2. Prioritise the most important area(s) for development.
  3. Establish the pupil’s current level of development using the relevant Developmental Guide.
  4. Set a general objective - where do you want them to get to?
  5. Set a SMART goal - what specifically do you want them to do?
  6. Make a plan and implement it - how will you get them there?
  7. Review - Has the goal been achieved? If no, what are the reasons why not; if yes, should we consider a new goal?

When goal setting, it is important to understand what sort of experience can be provided to move the pupil's development forward in the area of need.  Therefore it is important to devise goals and interventions together. 

Example of Fagus Materials and how they can be used to monitor progress:

Example One - Developmental delay in the Coping Domain


Pupil A, aged 11, does not deal with new or challenging situations appropriately and will often ‘fly’ from the situation (i.e. fight or flight response). For example, when he finds a piece of work too difficult he runs out of the classroom, rather than asking for help.

Area of need:

Coping/self-awareness/self-control. Staff decide that Coping is the priority area.

Pupil’s current level of development:

Staff find that Pupil A's coping behaviours are at an earlier stage of development than his chronological age.


For Pupil A to take appropriate steps to help him cope when dealing with challenging situations more effectively, using more age-appropriate coping strategies for a child in Middle Childhood.

SMART goal:

Pupil A to recognise and utilise his support network to reduce negative behaviours 75% of the time.  To be achieved by the end of the academic year.


  • Whole class intervention:  For a session for the whole class on 'coping' with potentially negative situations.
  • Key worker would work with Pupil A to map out his circle of support (a 'care map') with him at the centre, surrounded by the people that are closest to him and then those less close further out.  When the task was complete Pupil A and his key worker would work together to identify people he could go to at school when he was finding things difficult.  He also has a laminated card to communicate that he needs to leave the class and have time with an adult.  The care map considered negative influences on his behaviour and inappropriate people to go to in times of need.  The care map also considers alternative endings to situations that have already happened and possible future situations, to help him see that there are different choices.  Key worker to have an open discussion about emotional experiences when handling challenging situations at the end of the day, help the pupil rationalise why they occurred and teach them strategies for managing this (e.g. scrips, managing emotional reaction etc.).

Review of Goals and Measuring Progress:

  • Goal reviewed at the end of the academic term - if the goal has been achieved progress has been captured.
  • The Developmental Checklist is repeated to see whether there has been any progress.  Progress has been captured when a some  answers to the original questions have changed from no to yes.
  • The Developmental Profile may also have changed colour, moving from red/amber to green representing more age-appropriate functioning in the domain of Coping.

Example Two - Developmental Delay in the Self-Concept Domain


Staff feel that Pupil B, aged 9, does not have a secure self-concept. He cannot identify any of his own positive personality attributes when asked to, instead he revers to visible characteristics, preferences and possessions.

Area of need:


Pupil’s current level of development:

Staff discover that in Middle Childhood children should be beginning to define themselves in terms of psychological attributes and enduring personality traits such as outgoing, funny, smart rather than physical attributes.   Pupil B only uses concrete and observable traits to define himself, which is characteristic of early childhood.


For Pupil B to recognise positive personality qualities in themselves and develop their self-concept.

SMART goal:

Pupil B identifies 5 different personality traits which he possesses when asked by staff. To be achieved by the end of term.


  • Weekly sessions with a key worker to complete 'All About Me' project across at least one term.
  • Key worker to print list of personality attributes for a pupil to refer to. They first discuss personality traits of others and ensure that pupil understands the meaning of personality traits.
  • Key worker to liaise with teachers to gather examples of positive behaviours from different lessons.
  • Teacher to brief staff about goal - staff to refer to pupil's positive behaviour and link to personality traits throughout the week.  (e.g Thank you for holding the door open - you are such a kind and thoughtful person).
  • Present project to class teacher at fortnightly intervals to give pupil a sense of pride.

Review of Goals and Measuring Progress:

  • Goal reviewed at the end of the academic year - if the goal has been achieved progress has been captured.
  • The Developmental Checklist is repeated to see whether there has been any progress.  Progress has been captured when a some  answers to the original questions have changed from no to yes.
  • The Developmental Profile may also have changed colour, moving from red/amber to green representing more age-appropriate functioning in the domain of Self-Concept.

Please note that due to the nature of attachment and the attachment guide, this guide is not suitable for setting goals for pupils. Instead it provides a theoretical overview and explains why attachment underpins so much of our emotional and social development.

The Fagus process is compatible with any goal setting system. One useful method for setting goals is Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) (Kiresuk and Sherman, 1968).

Fagus is an ideal use of Pupil Premium Plus Funding

Are you ready to get started?

Need an overview of the Fagus framework

Request a complimentary copy of a sample Developmental Guide 

Take a test drive of our online checklist tool

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