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Introduction to materials

This Graduated Response Toolkit has been produced in line with the SEN Code of Practice 2015.  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.

There are two main purposes for this Graduated Response Toolkit:

  1. To provide guidance to schools regarding meeting the needs of children/young people with SEND at the Graduated Response level of The SEND Code of Practice

  2. To provide guidance to the LA to aid decision making for Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) requests.

The materials are structured into the four broad areas of need as outlined in The SEN Code of Practice:

  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social Emotional and Mental Health
  • Communication and Interaction (divided into Speech and Language and Social Communication)
  • Physical and Sensory (divided into Physical and Medical; Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment)

The guidance in each area of need is divided into different sections:

  • Whole School responsibilities (the responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team)
  • Quality First Teaching (the responsibility of the individual class or subject teachers)
  • SEND support in school (the responsibility of the SENCo in school)
  • Guidelines for using Specialist Support Services (the responsibility of the SENCo in school)

1. Whole school responsibilities

This section provides information about the responsibilities of the senior leadership team in schools in meeting the needs of the children/young people in each area of need.  A whole school audit is provided for the school to use to self-assess the provision in school in that specific area.  The audit is made up of guidance statements and the school can rate their provision on an Emerging, Developing and Embedded scale.  This self-assessment allows schools to identify areas to develop that can be recorded on the Action Plan.

There is also a Teacher Self-Audit in each area that the senior leadership team could use to audit the skills of teachers in the school to inform any whole school training/CPD needs.

Schools may choose to use other audit materials, such as those included on the NASEN website.

2. Quality first teaching

This section sets out the responsibilities of the class/subject teacher in meeting the needs of children with SEND in their class(es).  It includes guidance statements and also the Teacher Self-Audit that individual teachers can use to assess their skills and knowledge in specific areas which is particularly useful if there are children with SEND that are challenging teacher's professional skills.

There are different areas in this section that look at assessment, curriculum content, curriculum delivery and the physical environment that can be adapted to meet the needs of the children with SEND.

3. SEND support in schools

This section outlines guidance about assessment and intervention that can be put into place for individual children/young people with SEND who need more support than is available in class.

SEND provision in mainstream schools needs to focus on both ensuring curriculum access (adjustments needed in class to improve access to the curriculum) and improving individual's skills (in the specific area of need). 

Support for individual children/young people needs to be structured in an Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle involving parents and the children/young people, whenever possible.   

4. Using specialist support services

This section includes guidance about using specialist support services in school to improve whole school practice and also for assessment and intervention of individual children/young people.

Included will be referral routes to local and national services in the specific area of need.

Further information 

For more information about the Graduated Response please see NASEN's guide SEN Support and the Graduated Response and also SEN support: research evidence on effective approaches and examples of current practice in good and outstanding schools and colleges produced by ASK Research and Coventry University, and funded by the Department for Education.



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