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Definition and statutory responsibilities

This Graduated Response Toolkit has been produced in line with the SEND Code of Practice (2015) and is guidance and support for schools in explaining the action they should take in identifying and meeting the needs of all children with SEND in their school. 

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.


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).

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)

Statutory responsibilities

The SEND Code of Practice (Para 6.2) states that "every school is required to identify and address the SEN of the pupils that they support. Mainstream schools, which includes maintained schools and academies that are not special schools, maintained nursery schools, 16 to19 academies, alternative provision academies and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), must:

  • use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEN
  • ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • designate a teacher to be responsible for coordinating SEN provision – the SEN coordinator, or SENCO (this does not apply to 16 to 19 academies)
  • inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • prepare an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time."

For more information about the Graduated Response please see NASEN's guide SEN Support and the Graduated Response.


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