Routes for Learning

Routes for Learning is a suite of assessment materials first published by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2006. The original materials consisted of the following elements : a Routemap poster, assessment booklet, additional guidance, examples and a routemap planner.


The original pack also included a DVD of video clips illustrating behaviours featured on the Routemap.  The DVD soon became unavailable.

Also published in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland as ‘Routes for Learning’, the materials were adapted and re-titled as ‘Quest for Learning’ in Northern Ireland.  Following its publication, Routes for Learning (RfL) was adopted as a preferred assessment for learners with PMLD by many schools throughout the UK as well as in other countries.

Imray and Hinchcliffe (2014) maintain that RfL has represented a significant step forward in the assessment of learners with PMLD and suggest that it ‘should be looked upon as a significant and perhaps seminal piece of work.’  Although specific research about RfL is relatively limited, a Doctoral thesis by Heidi McDermott (2014) considers how it has been implemented in schools, using a multiple case study.  An article by McDermott and Atkinson (2016) also focuses on this.  In another journal article, Lucy Van Walwyck (2011) considers criteria for a successful system for measuring the progress of children with PMLD and the extent to which RfL meets them. More recently, Weston and Ware (2018) report on their survey of the use of Routes for Learning in England and Wales.

Over the last two years, the Welsh Government has been undertaking a revision of the Routes for Learning materials to ensure they remain up-to-date and link fully with the new curriculum in Wales (Curriculum for Wales 2022).

New edition

The new edition of Routes for Learning (July 2020), adds considerably to the original with much new material.  The elements of the new edition are summarised below:

  • A revised Routemap and an explanatory note setting out changes to the Routemap and the rationale behind them
  • A revised Assessment Booklet organised according to twelve themes, providing additional information aimed at more clearly distinguishing the behaviours represented in each box/milestone.  Two narrative examples are now provided for each behaviour.
  • Exemplification videos, currently for 19 of the Routemap boxes and milestones, (ultimately exemplification video will be available for every box/milestone).
  • Guidance, a much changed and expanded new edition.

Further materials are to be added in due course.