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What to expect from your school - Inclusive Quality First Teaching and the Graduated Approach

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)


A graduated approach is a model of action and intervention in early education settings, schools and colleges to help children and young people who have special educational needs. It recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different kinds or levels of SEN. So increasingly, step by step, specialist expertise can be brought in to help with the difficulties that a child may have.

Staff in early years settings, schools and colleges must use the graduated approach four step process: Assess, Plan, Do, Review.



  • Assess - analyse the child or young person’s special educational needs
  • Plan - identify the additional and different support needed
  • Do - put the support in place and
  • Review - regularly check how well it is working so that they can change the amount or kind of support if needed

Most pupils with SEN in mainstream schools have their needs met at SEN Support. SEN Support is provided through a graduated approach. 

A very small number of children and young people may not make progress despite SEN support. In these cases an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment may be appropriate. This is a detailed assessment of a child or young person’s special educational needs and the support they may need in order to learn and progress.

Our Graduated Approach written for professionals explains in detail the provision for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) which should be available. The Graduated approach guidance also provides the threshold for access to the high needs funding block.


Services that support schools

There is a wide variety of services across education, health and social care providing advice on children with SEN or who are disabled. These are some of the services which can provide training, advice and guidance to schools:


SEN Information Report

The law says that schools must publish a SEN Information Report with more detailed information about their support. Go to a school's individual listing to see their SEN Information Report.

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