The SEND Graduated Response

The SEND Graduated Response

This guidance is intended to be used as a tool for schools and settings and those partner agencies working with parents, carers and young people with SEND.

Where a child or young person is identified as having Special Educational Needs, schools and settings should take action to remove barriers to child or young persons learning and put effective special educational provision in place.

This is called SEN support. Support should take the form of a four-part cycle involving the parent and carers and the child or young person. By taking this approach earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child or young person needs and of what support will help to secure good progress and good outcomes for them. This approach is known as the Graduated Response.

What is the SEND Graduated Response?

The SEND Graduated Response guidance is intended to be used as a tool for schools and settings and those partner agencies working with them and has been created in collaboration with SEND professionals, parents and carers and young people.

The guidance has been designed to help ensure children and young people across the County with Special Educational Needs reach their full potential. It sets out Local Authority expectations for the ways in which all schools and settings should meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

Understanding the Graduated Response

We have worked with partners, including parents and carers, to produce an Understanding the Graduated Response document, to guide and inform parents, carers and young people.

Understanding the Graduated Response (PDF)

Our Graduated Response

Download: The Full Graduated Response (PDF)

If you have any comments regarding the Graduated Response document please Email:

Post 16 Graduated Response

Post 16 education covers both formal education and formal training through study programmes and apprenticeships. This document is intended to be used as a tool for post 16 settings and those partner agencies working with them. It is also intended to be an information source for young people, their parents and carers to inform and guide in relation to the education of Young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Post 16 Graduated Response (PDF)

The graduated approach is a four part cycle

The cycle increases in detail and frequency to identify the best way of securing adequate progress for children and young people.

  1. Assess Needs: All pre-school settings, schools and colleges should monitor and review the progress and development of all children and young people
    • high quality teaching, differentiated for each child or young person is the first step in meeting the needs of pupils who have or may have SEN
    • most children and young people can make progress if they are taught in this way
  2. Plan: Where a child or young persons progress in an educational setting or school gives cause for concern trained staff should work in partnership with parents and carers to develop a plan to ensure make sure that children or young people with SEN or disability receive the support they need for their future learning and development
    • class and subject teachers, supported by the Senior Leadership Team should regularly assess progress for all children or young people
    • where a child or young person is falling behind or making inadequate progress (given their age and starting point) they should be given extra support
  3. Do: This graduated response should be led and coordinated by the SENCO (or named person at a college who has oversight of SEND)
    • they will work with and support colleagues
    • parents and carers should be included at each stage of this cycle, so that they can say what they think and make suggestions about assessment and planning
    • parents and carers should be made aware of Intended outcomes; they should be included in any review of progress in achieving these outcomes
  4. Review: A date should be agreed for reviewing the effectiveness of the support and the difference it has made to the child or young persons progress

Further information

Where a child or young person continues to make little or no progress, although support has been provided, early years providers, schools and colleges should ask outside professionals to provide help and advice. They can also help in identifying those pupils whose need for long term support is at a level where an EHC Plan might be needed.

Early Years providers, schools and colleges will need to track the difference made by any support offered to the child or young person; they will need to provide this information so that it can be used as evidence towards any EHC assessment (if needed).

These interventions are part of the support which is 'ordinarily available' through the Graduated Response. Find out what SEN support your child maybe given?

If your child or young person's school or setting can't meet their needs using the support, they usually offer to children who need extra help, the County Council may carry out a needs assessment for your child or young person. This is called an Education Health and Care Assessment or EHC assessment. When your child or young person's needs have been assessed a plan for meeting them may be drawn up. This plan is called an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

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