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Special Educational Needs (SEN) support in schools - the graduated response

Most pupils with special educational needs and disabilities will be educated in mainstream settings.

We expect the vast majority of pupils will be educated in their home community and have their special educational needs and disabilities met by early years settings, schools or colleges, through a graduated response.  

What extra support can be provided?

Schools can provide special educational needs (SEN) support for a child if their educational needs mean that they require additional or different support that is generally given to most children or young people of the same age.  This is referred to as the graduated response. 

SEN support has a clear cycle of assessment of progress, planning and putting in place the appropriate support, and reviewing a child or young person’s progress. This is known as 'Assess, Plan, Do, Review'.  See the form in our download section on the right hand side of this page.

In a small number of cases a child or young person may require a higher level of specialist resourcing which is different from and additional to that which is usually provided in school and it may be necessary for the local authority to complete an Education and Health Care Needs Assessment in order to determine whether it is necessary for provision to be made through an Education and Health Care Plan.

Graduated response toolkit

A graduated response toolkit has been produced which provides guidance for schools in meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities at the graduated response level. 

1. Assess

Teaching staff should work with the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) in the school to assess the child or young person’s needs, so that they give the right support.

It should draw on the views and experience of parents and the pupil’s own views. Sometimes schools will seek advice from a specialist teacher or health professional. They should talk to parents and carers about this first.

2. Plan

If the school decides that the child or young person needs SEN support it will discuss this with parents. The school should agree in consultation with parents, carers and the pupil the outcomes that will be set, what help will be provided and a date for progress to be reviewed.

3. Do

The child or young person’s class or subject teacher is usually responsible for the work that is done with the pupil, and should work closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff involved. 

4. Review

The school should review the child or young person’s progress, and the difference that the help the pupil has been given has made, on the date agreed in the plan. Parents and the pupil should be involved in the review and in planning the next step.

If the child or young person has not responded to the help they were given, the review should decide what can be done next. This may include more or different help.

How can I find out more?

Contact your local school to discuss your child’s needs.

SEND Family Partnership, Information Advice and Support Service, can also advise about support.

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