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Cherry Garden Branch Maps - a different approach to assessment for children with learning differences

What are the Cherry Garden Branch Maps?

A new assessment tool developed by the namesake school (an outstanding specialist school in London for children with severe and complex support needs). The maps organise key milestones that you would expect to find in a typically developing child from birth to 5 years, with additional bridging branch maps for a level expected in Year 1. The aim is to provide practitioners with a straightforward overview of a child’s current level and support them to set appropriate next steps.


What makes them different to existing assessment models?image.png

The maps are intended to be child-centred documents that allow for a flexible approach to assessment – moving away from previous models where the expectation would be that a child makes typical ‘linear’ progress. A child’s learning journey can follow its own unique path, and the straightforward organisation of milestones means that adults can see if a child has missed a key step that is holding them back from moving forward.


How can using the Branch Maps enhance parental engagement?

Cherry Garden School’s initial concept for their assessment system was for an interactive Cherry Orchard that parents/carers could explore to investigate the learning of their child. Once they had completed the writing of the developmental documents, they joined forces with Tapestry to make this idea a reality. Tapestry have brought the concept to life, creating an attractive, interactive orchard that shows multimedia evidence of a child’s learning.


How does the Cherry Orchard show progress to parents?

There are two key visualisations in the Orchard. For a child whose support needs are less complex/severe, their cherry tree grows and leaves are added as they secure understanding. A parent can click on leaves to see evidence of learning. The tool allows a user to take snapshots at any time to make comparisons in the future. A child will have their own learning tree for each main curriculum area.


What about progress for children with the most profound needs?

The second visualisation type in the Orchard is a flower. The flower’s interactive petals grow as a child gains understanding, but they also deepen in colour as a child generalises skills. It is important for learners with the most significant support needs that we celebrate this ‘lateral’ progress and help parents to understand the learning that has taken place. A parent can click on a petal to see evidence of learning.



The Cherry Garden Branch Maps from Tapestry provide schools with a child centred, flexible approach to assessing children with learning differences, which is proven to enhance parental engagement in a child’s learning. They:


·       Provide teachers/support staff with key milestones in typically developing young children.

·       Demonstrate not only linear but also lateral progress – perfect for children with complex support needs.

·       Enable parents to explore and understand their child’s learning through a unique Cherry Orchard visualisation.


If you are a setting that uses Tapestry then you can enable the Cherry Garden framework by following this tutorial

There are also tutorials on the Cherry Garden Orchard, Strand Scores, Cherry Garden Term Progress, and Cherry Garden Targets Progress

For any further tutorials, take a look at our Tutorials Page

You can download the Branch Maps free of charge from the links below: 

The branch maps must not be used for commercial purposes or included in digital software other than Tapestry. Copyright remains with Cherry Garden School and The Foundation Stage Forum.

image.pngPSED Branch Map Feb 2022.pd

CLL Branch Map Feb 22.pdf

CLL and English Bridging Map Feb 2022.pdf

MD Branch Map Feb 22.pdf

Mathematical Development Bridging Map Feb 2022.pdf

PD Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf

UW Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf

EAD Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf

Communication Book Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf

Symbol Exchange Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf

Transition Branch Map Feb 2022.pdf


This document shows how the Branch Maps correlate with the EYFS and P Scales: 

Cherry Garden Branch Map Assessments Conversions.docx

Stephen Kilgour
Stephen Kilgour worked at Cherry Garden School, an outstanding specialist school in London, for 11 years, 7 of those as Deputy Head Teacher and Early Years Lead. He is now a SEND Advisor and Outreach Teacher at Tapestry. He lives in Newcastle with his wife and two young children.

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