The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years, provides guidance to

  • all educational settings
  • the local authority
  • other relevant professionals who help to identify, assess and provide support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

It sets out the processes and procedures that settings should follow to meet the needs of children and young people.

The code of practice describes how support for children and young people with SEND should be made by a step by step or a “graduated approach”. This may be for a varying length of time and is described as “SEN support” (paragraphs 6.44 to 6.56 of the code of practice). Most children will receive the extra help they need for them to make expected progress from their education setting through such SEN support.

Schools and post-16 colleges receive funding through their funding formula to allow them to provide support for children and young people to have their needs met as flexibly as possible, within the setting’s arrangements to support inclusion. The local authority also provides funding to early years settings where appropriate.

All children and young people are individuals. They make progress at different rates and learn in different ways. Teachers are expected to take this into account when they organise their lessons and choose materials and activities to help each pupil learn. This is known as “differentiation” of teaching and learning materials.

There is a clear expectations that class and subject teachers should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. This can be described as progress which:

  • is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • fails to match or better the child or young person’s previous rate of progress
  • fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
  • widens the attainment gap between the child and their peers

Some children and young people may need more specialist help. This may include:

  • the Brighton and Hove Inclusion Support Service which includes support such as the Pre-school Team, educational psychologists, specialist teachers for autism, language, literacy and hearing or visual impairment, together with mental health workers
  • the Speech and Language Therapy Service
  • the Occupational Therapy Service
  • the Physiotherapy Service
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHs)
  • outreach teams from a special school for children in mainstream schools with severe learning difficulties or physical/medical needs
  • Child Development and Disability Social Work Team
  • agencies from the voluntary sector

In summary a graduated approach to meeting special educational needs involves:

  • Assess to identify the child/young person’s special educational needs
  • Plan to provide a child/young person with support, ensuring that parents are fully involved in this process
  • Do ensure that appropriate intervention and support is in place for the child/young person
  • Review to consider the effectiveness of the programme and impact on the child/young person
  • Involve outside agencies to provide or guide specialist support where it is clear that the child/young person, despite evidence based support have made less than expected progress.

A small number of children and young people with more significant additional needs may require a statutory assessment of the special educational needs which may lead to them receiving an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. This plan would specify in detail the needs a child or young person has, the learning outcomes that the child or young person should work towards and the provision and support that should enable the outcomes to be achieved by the child or young person over a set timeframe.

Setting Based graduated approach to support the SEN of children/young people

Please note: Most needs will be met at an early stage of this model. The pathway for most pupils/students will be the one where needs are met early and they need not progress further along it. Only a few pupils/students will require and Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to meet their needs.

Assess Plan Do Review Signpost
Child or young person's need/s identified by school/educational setting School/educational setting involves parent/carer and child/young person to plan and agree programme and provision Initiate programme/provision to meet the identified special educational needs Plan reviewed Refer to external agencies
School/educational setting identifies special educational need Agree desired outcome to be achieved through support with parent/carer, child/young person:
This will:
- clarify issues/strengths
- look to the outcomes desired
- agree a plan for interventions/provision
- Local Offer information shared with parent/carer.
Programme/provision initiated and implemented Intervention/provision reviewed with parent/carer, child/young person. In most cases the interventions will either cease, due to the progress made, or another plan will be put in place. As a minimum, the review period will normally be over at least two terms.
Ensure decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with growing understanding of the child/young person's needs and the type of support required.
Following the review, the school/educational setting may:
- BHISS or other specialist services as required
- continue with support through the child/young person/family approach
- agree desired outcomes to be achieved through support with parent/carer, child/young person
Assess Plan Do Evaluate Request EHC assessment?
Child/young person/family approach Multi-agency support meeting Continue implementation of actions Evaluate impact and outcome of intervention High level unmet needs - decide to request EHC assessment
School/educational setting/professionals continue to plan programme/provision.
Ensure views of the child/young person are included
      Child/young person/family approach with all involved to agree a request for EHC needs assessment
  Information collated.
Evaluate the impact and the quality of the support and interventions, including the views of the parent/carer and child/young person.
SEN support should be adapted or replaced depending on its effectiveness in achieving outcomes.
Graduated response and implementation of agreed action Consideration of outcomes and outstanding unmet need.
Most children/young people will have needs met or will need to have another 'Asess, Plan, Do, Review' cycle.
Where, following at least two cycles of the 'Assess, Plan, Do, Review' cycle, the child/young person has not made sufficient progress, the school/educational setting/parents should consider requesting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment from the Local Authority.
Discuss known needs, actions implemented and outcomes.
Discuss eligibility criteria.
Note views of all and decide whether to request/not request an EHC assessment.
To inform its decision, the local authority will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school/educational setting as part of SEN support.