Graduated approach to SEND in schools

Schools, colleges and other settings can help most children and young people to overcome the barriers that their difficulties present, quickly and easily.

What is the graduated approach?

Where a pupil is identified as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place.

This SEND support should take the form of a four-part cycle through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the pupil's needs and what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes.

This is known as the graduated approach (SEND code of practice, 2015).

Herefordshire Council has created an all-age graduated approach flowchart and one page summary of the graduated approach which shows the steps educational settings should take when supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Intervention guidance

To demonstrate the types of support that could be provided, we have produced more detailed guidance that aims to help schools and other educational settings in Herefordshire meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

It should be used as a reference to guide and inform practice and to plan individual educational programmes for children with SEND.

The document uses the categories of need and outlines the staged or graduated process of intervention described in the SEND code of practice.

It identifies the teaching and learning strategies and types of approaches useful for promoting and supporting SEND.

It provides examples of the degree of support expected at each level and outlines the plan-do-review approach to assessment, intervention and review for children and young people with SEND.

Intervention guidance for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in schools and other settings

Four levels of need

In Herefordshire, we have outlined four levels of need, which require an increasingly targeted and specialist degree of support and intervention.

This graduated approach ensures that children with SEND get the right level of support when needed.

The guidance outlines the levels that children and young people and their families may go through in this process.

Not every child will need to progress through all these levels, and only those with the most complex needs require an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Most pupils and students will receive early intervention and will have their needs identified and met by their school without the need for further input.

Schools should apply an assess-plan-do-review approach to meeting children's needs.

Statutory assessment

If, despite having used existing resources appropriately to assess-plan-do-review following a graduated approach, the child is not making progress then the local authority may need to conduct a statutory assessment.

Find out more on the statutory assessments and EHC plans in schools page.