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Inclusive Quality First Teaching (IQFT) - Graduated Approach Guidance

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

The National Curriculum Inclusion Statement states that teachers should set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment.

They should plan stretching work for those whose attainment is above the expected standard and have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Lessons should be planned to ensure that there are no barriers to a child achieving. This will mean that in many cases, pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full curriculum.

The SEND Code of Practice (2015) makes clear the principle that all teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the children and young people in their class, even where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff. Teachers need to focus on outcomes rather than on hours of support to help a pupil to make progress.

A special educational need is a barrier to learning that might take a variety of forms.  The wide range of strategies that can be employed by skilled staff is usually sufficient to overcome such barriers by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to students’ diverse learning needs. 

Examples are planning appropriately-challenging work for those whose ability and understanding are in advance of their literacy skills or using positive behaviour management with a clear system of rewards and sanctions. 

The effectiveness of a school’s IQFT teaching has a direct bearing on the nature of additional help required by children with SEN, and on the point at which additional help is required.

Making higher quality teaching normally available to the whole class is likely to mean that fewer pupils will require additional and different support. Such improvements in whole-class provision tend to be more cost effective and sustainable than expensive personalised interventions.  


The Three Waves Model of Intervention

The Three Waves model of intervention is a useful management tool to support curriculum planning, inclusive teaching and personalised approaches to address diverse needs.

Wave 1: Inclusive Quality First Teaching/Universal support for all children without any additional intervention (element 1 funding); 

Wave 2: For children who are underachieving but do not have SEN and may be able to catch up with their peers, evidence based intervention (element 1 funding /school budget); 

Wave 3: Additional support for those with SEN who may have longer term needs and require individualised intervention within a setting’s SEN Support, ranging from some to a high level of support through evidence based personalised programmes of intervention (element 2 funding). Wave 3 also covers the few children requiring a high level or exceptional support and highly personalised provision through an EHC Plan (element 3 top-up funding from the LA).

3 waves of intervention


Provision Mapping

Schools and some early years settings will find an over-arching provision map including provision for all vulnerable groups a useful management tool.

“The quality of teaching for pupils with SEN, and the progress made by pupils, should be a core part of the school’s performance management arrangements and its approach to professional development for all teaching and support staff.”(SEND Code of Practice, 6.4)

3.1 The best types of provision map include children and young people who: 

  • are under-achieving and needing intervention (e.g. Wave 2 provision) but who do not have SEN
  • are identified SEN receiving SEN Support through additional funding from the early years/mainstream block funding or high needs funding through an EHC Plan
  • have English as an additional language
  • are looked after
  • are in other vulnerable groups identified by the school (those in receipt of pupil premium, young carers, persistent absentees etc.)

For a provision map to be effective, it must cross-reference provision with progress (i.e. a setting/school must have some way of assessing and recording on the provision map where a student was when he/she started the intervention and where he/she is at the end of it) to be able to evaluate whether the additional provision has worked or not. Further information on provision mapping is available from the SEN Advisory Service (SENAS)

More about the Graduated Approach:

High expectations for all - an introduction to the Graduated Approach guidance

Identification of SEN

Using the Graduated Approach Guidance

- Cognition and Learning

- Communication and Interaction

- Social, Emotional and Mental Health

- Sensory and/or Physical needs

SEND Guidance for education providers: Funding

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