Routes for Learning materials support practitioners in assessing learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). They focus on learners' communication and social interaction skills, early cognitive development and their interaction with the environment.
The Routes for Learning materials were first published in 2006 and were well-received nationally and internationally. As part of our wider reform of curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales, a range of practitioners and academic experts have worked together to update the materials. This was done to reflect the latest research in the field, as well as our new educational context.
The Routes for Learning Advisory Group has been at the heart of updating the materials and we are especially grateful to members for their commitment to this work under challenging circumstances due to the COVID-19 outbreak. An all-Wales network of schools has also played a key role in gathering videos to exemplify the descriptors on the Routemap, helping to bring these materials alive to practitioners. These schools are listed below:
- Canolfan Addysg Y Bont
- Crownbridge School
- Ysgol Crug Glas
- Ysgol Heol Goffa
- Ysgol Heulfan – Y Canol
- Ysgol Maes Hyfryd
- Ysgol Maes y Coed
- Ysgol Pen Coch
- Queen Elizabeth High School
- St Christopher's School
- Ysgol Tir Morfa Community Special School
- Ty Coch School
- Ty Gwyn Special School
- Ysgol Y Deri.
Updating the Routes for Learning materials has been an iterative process with draft materials published and feedback gathered in April 2019 and January 2020. The feedback received from both educational and health practitioners has been invaluable in helping to finalise the updated materials.
The Routemap provides an overview of early cognitive development, communication and social interaction, and interaction with the environment, showing the most important milestones as orange boxes.
Every box on the Routemap is numbered for ease of reference, which sets out an easy way to refer to the different behaviours but they do not represent an expected sequence in which behaviours are likely to be learned or in which they should be taught. Learners should not be expected to achieve them in strict numerical order.
It is felt that every learner is likely to pass through the key milestones, although the routes they take may vary according to their physical, sensory and learning needs.
Here, you will find the Routemap along with an explanatory note which outlines the changes made during the updating process.
Routes for Learning: Assessment booklet
The assessment booklet below provides practical support on how to use the Routemap through examples of assessment activities, teaching strategies and an indication of what to look for when assessing. It is presented according to 12 themes.
Below you will find videos exemplifying 19 of the Routemap boxes and milestones. They are arranged according to themes that are reflected in the assessment booklet.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools, we have been unable to work with practitioners and learners over the last few months to complete the full suite of videos. This work will therefore continue into the autumn term.
1. Notices stimuli
3. Responds to very obvious stimulus
6. Responds to range of stimuli
9. Responds consistently to one stimulus
12. Responds differently to different stimuli
17. Anticipates within familiar social routines
30. In the context of a familiar social game, perseveres by repeating action in order to get reward
33. Initiates social game
40. Joint attention
18. Redirects attention to a second object
25. Changes behaviour in response to interesting event nearby
29. 'Looks' backwards and forwards between two objects (knows two objects are present)
31. Repeats action when first attempt unsuccessful
35. Does two different actions in sequence to get reward
38. Modifies action when repeating action does not work
42. Early problem-solving – tries new strategy when old one fails
36. Selects from two or more items
37. Communicates choice to attentive adult
41. Expresses preference for items not present via symbolic means
Routes for Learning: Guidance
The guidance below enables practitioners to assess learners with PMLD and identify how best to support them in their learning.
Summary of feedback received during spring 2020
The document below sets out the various sources of feedback received following the publication of draft materials in January 2020. It outlines the key themes arising from the feedback, and the work that has been undertaken to refine the guidance to address the feedback.
Ongoing work, next steps and how you can contribute
The glossary will provide support to practitioners in using the Routemap and wider Routes for Learning materials. Below, you will find some examples of draft definitions for your consideration.
We are continuing to develop the glossary and would like to invite you to comment on the content of the draft so far. We would also welcome suggestions of additional terms to be included in the final version. All comments should reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 October 2020.
We are continuing to gather videos to exemplify the boxes and milestones on the Routemap. Should your setting/school wish to contribute videos please contact email@example.com by 9 October 2020.
An interactive Routemap
We will be building an interactive Routemap, bringing the Routemap itself, the content of the assessment booklet and the exemplification videos together at the click of a button.
Professional learning materials
A flexible suite of professional learning materials is being developed to support individuals or groups of practitioners, as well as supporting professional dialogue within and between schools.
These materials will be finalised and published during the 2020/21 academic year.
During the course of the next academic year, research will be undertaken to further develop our understanding of the nature of the progress made by learners with PMLD in relation to the Routemap. Further information will be provided on this page in due course. Should you wish to contribute to such a study, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.