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Graduated Approach to Support for Children with SEND

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice makes it clear that provision for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) is a matter for the school as a whole. Every school should be continuously planning, teaching and assessing to ensure that all children and young people make progress, whatever their abilities, aptitudes and interests. All teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress of all learners in their class, including those who SEND and those who also access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.

When a school recognises that a child has SEND it must put provision in place to enable the child to participate in learning and to make progress.

Many children with SEND will make good progress with “quality first teaching”.  This means that the class/subject teacher makes changes in the way that the curriculum is delivered so that the child with SEND can be included in the lesson.

A small number of children may be identified as requiring further SEN support. This means that they need support or interventions that are “additional to and different from” the support that other children in the class require.

These children will be identified through The Graduated Approach. This is a four part cycle in which schools will:

  • Assess the child’s need
  • Plan support and intervention to meet the needs and ensure the child can make progress
  • Do – put in place the intervention and support for an agreed period of time
  • Review the progress the child has made as a result of the intervention

Graduated Approach


If a child is identified as having difficulties, parents will be fully involved throughout the graduated review process. This may include discussion with the class teacher or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) and attendance at meetings.

Teachers are continually assessing, planning, implementing and reviewing their approach to teaching all children. However, where the teacher identifies that a child has SEND, the graduated review approach is implemented specifically for that child.

For a child who may require SEN support, individual assessments will be completed to more clearly identify need. Personalised interventions will be planned and implemented to address those individual needs. Finally, the interventions will be evaluated through an individual review of progress. This process should be repeated on a regular basis and should involve the child and their parents/carers.


In the ‘Assess’ stage of the graduated approach, teachers will develop a clearer understanding of the child’s needs, so that they can plan effective teaching and additional provision, which will lead to good progress.

Information about the child’s needs may come from:

  • Teacher assessment and knowledge of the child
  • Data on the child’s progress, attainment and behaviour
  • The child’s development in comparison with their peers
  • The views and experience of parents
  • Specialist assessments


For children requiring SEN support, two areas should be considered when planning provision:

• High-quality class/subject teaching

• Targeted provision.


Teachers should consider, with the support of the SENCo:

• What they know about the child’s strengths, areas of need, barriers to and gaps in learning

• The views of the child and their parents/carers

• What changes or adaptations to day-to-day class/subject teaching they need to make.

Targeted Provision

A small number of children, who continue to struggle despite assessment and intervention, may require specific SEN targeted provision.  This is provision that is “additional to and different from” that made for the majority of children in school. It will be a specific SEN intervention program that is known to be effective by school. It could also be a programme that has been shown through research to be effective.

When school plans targeted provision there must be clear and expected outcomes linked directly to the provision.


Examples of targeted provision may include:

  • Specialist programmes or a personalised curriculum.
  • Additional resources.
  • Working in a small group – e.g. for an intervention.
  • Extra support from an adult.
  • Physical or personal care support.

Once the specific SEN support has been planned, it will be recorded and shared with parents and with everyone working with the child. The format for this information will vary from school to school.  Common formats include:

  • Child passports
  • One-page profiles
  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Individual timetables, often called pupil provision maps, which record the additional interventions a pupil will receive to support access to the full school curriculum. For an example of an individual provision map click the icon Download Document

Nottingham City Schools Provision Maps provide a framework of suggestions for SEN support provision in schools. Parents may use this as a guide to provide information about SEN support.


The SEN support provision will be put in place for an agreed period. It is important that the SEN support takes place regularly and consistently and that accurate records of that support are kept. During this time it is important that teachers work closely with teaching assistants or other specialist staff to monitor progress.  This should take place regularly.



All teachers continually review children’s progress, formally and informally, and this should be no different for children with SEN.  It is not necessary for teachers to wait for formal review meetings before reviewing and, if appropriate, making changes to teaching approaches and other provision.

However, the SEND Code of Practice states that progress towards meeting planned outcomes should be tracked and reviewed at least once a term and the outcomes of the review should feed directly into the next planning phase of the graduated approach.


The review should consider the following:

• Has the child achieved the agreed targets?

• What is the evidence from day-to-day intervention tracking?

• Are the skills acquired through targeted support transferred back into classwork?

• How have the child and parents responded to targeted provision?

• What are the views of support staff, parents and the child?

• How will the outcomes of this review inform the school about the child’s needs?

• What changes to support, provision and targets are needed?

A Continual Process

The Assess, Plan, Do, Review process is a cycle – the idea being that this process is continual. If the review shows that a child has made good progress, this may mean they no longer require the additional provision made through SEN support. If this is the case, the child will no longer be identified as needing SEN support and, instead, will be monitored to ensure progress is sustained through inclusive high-quality teaching.

For others, the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle will continue and targets, strategies and provision will be revisited and refined.

Involvement of the Child, Parents and Carers

The child, parents and carers should be involved at each stage of the graduated approach.

They should be informed if the school has concerns about progress and if the child is identified as requiring SEN support.

Child and parent/carer views should then be part of all elements of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle.

Involvement of the child and parent/carers will also enable the family to share agreed strategies in supporting the child which may also be implemented in the home.


For most children with SEND, school will make the provision they need from funding that is within their budget.  For a small number of children with exceptional needs, schools may need to request additional funding from the Local Authority. This should not affect the support that the child receives, as it is the duty of all schools to meet the needs of children with SEND. Further information about funding for children with SEND may be found at Special Educational Needs Provision and Funding processes

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessments

If, despite effective implementation of a graduated approach, the child continues to struggle to make expected progress, the school and/or parents may decide that an application for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is required.  For further details see Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessments and Plans

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