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The Pre-School Graduated Response Toolkit has been adapted from the Staffordshire Graduated Response Toolkit which was launched in October 2019 and has been developed in consultation with education, health and social care professionals and parents/carers.

This Toolkit has been produced in line with the SEND Code of Practice (2015), the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017) and The Equality Act (2014) and is guidance and support for early years settings in explaining the action they should take in identifying and meeting the needs of all children with SEND in their setting. 

The SEND Code of Practice (2015) provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations and applies to England. The regulations associated with the Children and Families Act 2014 are:  The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014;  The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014 and The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Detained Persons) Regulations 2015.

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017) provides a statutory framework which all early years providers in England must follow.  It includes both learning and development, and safety and welfare requirements and is used by Ofsted when inspecting the quality and standards of provision.

All early years providers have duties under the Equality Act 2010. In particular, they must not discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children, and they must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at substantial disadvantage. This duty is anticipatory – it requires thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. All publicly funded early years providers must promote equality of opportunity for disabled children.

All of these statutory documents will be referred to at relevant points throughout the toolkit.  In addition, there is a lot of useful information in the toolkit provided by Council for Disabled Children and in the NASEN mini guide Identifying and Supporting Children with SEND in the Early Years and NASEN guide The Graduated Approach (NASEN requires membership - which is free - to access these materials).


Special Educational Needs (SEN) is defined as a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age (SEND Code of Practice 2015).

Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities (The Equality Act 2014).

NASEN have produced a webcast ‘What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?' 

Mental Health is defined as "The emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment and sadness.  It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief in our own, and others, dignity and worth." (Health Education Authority, 1997)


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