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Graduated Approach : Further Information
The following information is based on BMBC best practice. Individual schools may use different words, phrases and paperwork, you should speak to your SENCO to find out more.  It might look a bit different in different settings, but  will be designed to do the same things.
What is the graduated approach?
The graduated approach begins with your child or young person’s whole setting.

The teacher or practitioner’s job is to continually;
  • assess
  • plan
  • do and
  • review their teaching and how they meet he needs of all children and young people.
Parents and carers should be involved in decision making right through this process.


Support will use assessment information to design approaches based on the needs of the child or young person.
This support is flexible so it can meet the changing needs of children and young people. Support may increase or decrease depending on how well it meets the outcomes for each child or young person.


The SEND Code of Practice says that teachers or practitioners are accountable for all the children and young people that they teach. If children and young people are receiving support from a teaching assistant or other specialist staff, the class teacher is still responsible for their progress.





Quality first teaching (QFT)
QFT is expected for all children and young people's learning.
It is the starting point for any additional or different provision for children and young people with SEND. It must be available for all children and young people whatever their need.

QFT recognises children and young people's individual learning needs. It recognises that 'one size doesn't fit all', and teaching should be adapted to ensure inclusion of all pupils. 

It provides;

  • High quality, inclusive teaching for all.
  • Teaching and learning strategies that meet individual need
  • Engaging, creative and interactive learning which is carefully planned.
  • Lessons or sessions that have clear structures and outcomes.
Children and young people with SEND must receive QFT as well as any interventions or bespoke learning packages.




Low or rising support
If children and young people are beginning to show some signs of needing support with their learning, a needs analysis can be used to find out strengths and needs. This will help to design intervention and support.


Child and young people's, and parents and carers views and wishes are important at this early stage and throughout.


Provision Maps or Provision Planners
These record the provision needed to meet outcomes. Education settings use them to identify provision and progress towards outcomes.

They allow schools to:

  • Show where resources have been used for individual pupils
  • Understand the level and main area of need 
  • Support the education setting, parents and carers to decide if SEN Support is needed
  • Track progress over time
  • Set targets that can be measured and are timely.
  • Share progress with other professionals
Parents and carers must be involved in the assess, plan, do review cycles. They should be invited to termly meetings to look at decision making and progress towards outcomes.


SEN Support in Early Years

In Early Years, education settings will use the graduated response document to look at provision and record progress towards outcomes. 

To read the graduated response document (early years) in detail click here. 

This means that for children over 2 years old, they will get extra educational provision which is different from their peers

Parents and carers must be involved in the assess, plan, do review cycles. They should be invited to termly meetings to look at decision making and progress towards outcomes.


SEN Support in schools

School age children in mainstream educational settings, or young people in post-16 settings are seen as having SEN if they;

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age, or
  • Have a disability which stops them using facilities generally provided for others of the same age

Children and young people with SEN should be put on a setting’s SEN register.


There should be a school focused plan (SFP), or needs analysis and provision map in place.

To view BMBC's school focused plan (SFP) document click here (coming soon!) 


Regular reviews carried out by the education setting will help decide if specialist involvement is required to build on the graduated response. Children and young people and their parents & carers should be involved throughout. Their views and contributions should be included in the plan.
The plan should be reviewed with children and young people and their parents or carers, at least termly to look at assess, plan, do, review cycles as part of the graduated approach.












Services that support the graduated response

Services that support the graduated response: 


  • Educational Psychology (EP) service
  • Social Communication and Interaction (SCI) service
  • Hearing Support and Vision Support
  • Portage
  • Early Years
  • Early Help Assessment (EHA)
  • CAMHS
  • Compass 

The School Focused Plan (SFP) or SEN Support plan
The plan is part of the graduated approach and should be used for any child or young person found to need SEN Support.
Educational settings use the document to support their assess, plan, do and review cycles. It might look a bit different in different settings, but format, process and order will be designed to do the same things.


Parents and carers, children and young people should be involved throughout. Their views and contributions should be included in the plan.


The plan should be reviewed, with parents and carers, children and young people at least termly.

To view the school focused plan (SFP) document click here (coming soon!)

SEN support toolkits
Education settings can use SEN Support toolkits. They help make sure the needs of all children and young people are met by quality first teaching and SEN Support.


The toolkits offer guidance and support to make sure settings consistently meet the needs of all learners.


More information about quality first teaching and SEN Support can be found in the SEN Support Inclusion Toolkits section at the bottom of this page



Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
Most children and young people’s SEN needs will be met through quality first teaching and SEN Support.


A small number may need more support and an education, health and care needs assessment (EHCNA.) may be carried out.

This helps the local authority decide if an education, health and care plan (EHCP) is needed to support the child or young person further.


To find out more about the EHC process click the box below.




The role of the SENCO
In any educational setting the SENCO


  • Co-ordinates SEND support and provision across the education setting
  • Is there to offer advice and support on the graduated approach.
  • Helps children and young people and their parents and carers, to be involved in their special educational needs (SEN) journey.
  • Talks to people outside the setting including during transition times
  • Manages SEN policy and provision for supporting pupils with SEN.


The role of the teacher or practitioner
Teachers or practitioners are responsible for the progress and development of the children and young people in their care.

High quality differentiated teaching is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN.

Parents and carers should always raise any concerns with the teacher or practitioner first

All teachers or practitioners should track the progress of children and young people.

If they are concerned, they should work with the SENCO to begin the graduated approach.

Teachers or practitioners should hold regular meetings with parents and carers to discuss their child’s progress and co-produce outcomes and planned provision. The SENCO will help with this.






Jargon Buster : What does that mean?

Inclusionproviding equal access to opportunities and resources for all
Provisioneducation settings