The Graduated Approach and SEN Support Plan

Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective SEN provision in place. This SEN 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 of what supports the pupil in making good improvement and securing good outcomes. This is known as the graduated approach.

The Principles and Processes of the graduated approach explain how, why and when we go through the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle.

The Graduated Approach Intervention Guidance documents give examples of the journey from Tier 1 universal support through to Tier 2 early support and Tier 3 targeted continuing support via the Assess, Plan, Do, review cycle.

These are split into sections of working examples for different special education need, For example, physical impairment, hearing impairment, and also give examples of how to evaluate and review progress.

SEN Support is the category of support for children/young people with SEN but without EHC Plans. It focuses the system on the result of the support provided to that individual child/young person, rather than how children/young people access support according to the category they fit into. It places emphasis on a graduated approach (assess, plan, do and review).

  • Assess – the child/young person’s difficulties must be assessed so that the right provision can be made. This should include asking parents/carers and/or the child/young person their views, talking to any professionals involved and looking at records and other information.

  • Plan – the education setting needs to agree, with your involvement, the outcomes that SEN Support is intended to achieve – in other words, how they will benefit for any support they receive. Everyone involved will have a say in deciding what support will be provided and when it should be reviewed. 

  • Do – the education setting will put the planned support in place.  The class teacher (or equivalent) remains responsible for working with the child/young person on a daily basis, but the SENCO and any other supporting staff will work closely to monitor the effectiveness of the support.

  • Review – At the agreed time the support should be reviewed to see if it having a positive effect, whether the outcomes have been, or are being, achieved and if or how any changes should be made.

SEN Support will be implemented and after a period the effectiveness of the provision/strategies will be reviewed. If adequate progress is made changes may be required to enable continued progress. If adequate progress is not made different provision/strategies will be planned, implemented and reviewed again (see the Assess Plan, Do, Review cycle pdf on the right).

If you and the professionals who support your child believe s/he requires support which is over and above that ordinarily available from mainstream resources, a request may be made for an EHC Needs Assessment. The request will usually be made by your child’s education setting, but parents can make the request themselves.

The legal test for an EHC Needs Assessment is from section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014:

The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection (7), the authority is of the opinion that:

(a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC Plan.

An EHC Plan will set out the child/young person’s needs and provision required (over and above that ordinarily available within a mainstream school/setting).

In Buckinghamshire we have developed an SEN Support Plan document for the purpose of identifying the SEN of children/young people, monitoring their progress towards desired outcomes and tracking resources utilised within the educational setting. 

Many people will be familiar with IEPs (Individual Education Plans) or Provision Maps – this document contains the same type of information, but much more in addition.  In Buckinghamshire we recommend that schools and other educational settings use this document for children/young people who have SEN which require targeted support over an extended period and/or require support from external specialists for example, specialist teacher, educational psychologist etcetera.

Download the Buckinghamshire SEN Support Plan form.

Download the SEND Support Plan for children in the EYFS.

A toolkit of guidance, resources and links to support children and young people’s transition/transfer between educational settings. 

Transitions Toolkit