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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Devon’s graduated response

The ‘graduated response’ approach is a way of meeting needs through effective implementation of support before moving a child or young person onto higher levels of support by following the assess, plan, do and review cycles.

A diagram illustrating the assess, plan, do and review cycle - leading to a desired outcome.

The Devon graduated response tool

The Devon graduated response to SEN support is an electronic tool to support teachers and SENCOs to identify, assess, record and meet the needs of children and young people requiring special educational provision.

It supports the planning and recording of appropriate provision and provides guidance for reviewing progress.

It has been designed to help educational settings meet their duties as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years.

There are graduated response tools available for EYFS to key stage 4, and a universal provision checklist. The checklist has been designed to be used as an audit tool for school practice, so that staff can check that they are providing appropriate and purposeful support for pupils at the universal level for their area of need.

Please note: we are aware that some of the documents listed below may not be fully accessible to everyone. If you would like to receive any of the documents in a different format, please contact Jeanette Savage, Service Lead for SEND Support Services at

When to use it

It should be used when you feel a child may have SEN. It could also be used for children who need support for a shorter period of time, for example, if they have:

  • suffered a bereavement
  • medical needs, for example, diabetes or asthma
  • changes or problems at home, for example, divorce
  • language problems – for example, if English isn’t their first language
  • moved into a new school or area

How it can be used

For parents, the tool can help you to:

  • get ideas to support your child at school and at home
  • understand what schools could be doing to support your child
  • prepare for conversations with your school
  • understand the range and different levels of support

For class teachers, the tool can help you to:

  • observe children while they are learning
  • identify barriers to learning
  • check that you are providing quality first teaching
  • discuss with parents
  • collaborate with colleagues
  • monitor and review progress
  • support your planning and differentiation
  • identify a range of strategies and support to meet a child’s needs
  • review and monitor to ensure the support is working

For SENDCos, the tool can help you to:

  • ensure SEN Support is in place
  • inform and contribute to your SEN information report
  • support and upskill teaching staff to meet children’s needs – a SENCo should help to
  • identify training, support and knowledge that teaching staff need to implement the provision required.
  • monitor whole-school SEND provision
  • identify gaps in provision or new ways of working with students
  • provide clarity and transparency when explaining the provision that school provides for individual students
  • monitor individual pupils’ SEND provision
  • identify gaps in resource
  • inform decision-making to decide whether it is appropriate to apply for a statutory assessment

For governors and school leaders, the tool can help you to:

  • ensure that the graduated response school is used by all teaching staff in your school
  • cross-reference against the school SEND policy
  • ensure governor training is in place about the graduated response
  • ensure that you use the tool to inform decision-making – for example, where governors are required to ratify a permanent exclusion of a child with SEN
  • prepare for monitoring visits at school
  • manage performance
  • investigate complaints about SEN provision
  • understand how funding is being used in school when used alongside the SEN funding evaluation tool

For local authorities and advisory services, the tool can help to:

  • inform statutory decision-making – whether to assess (six weeks) and whether to issue a plan (16 weeks).
  • support early help.
  • request review of the graduated response (to inform the content of an EHCP, if required).
  • inform assessments as part of professional advice
  • monitor gaps in knowledge and direct appropriate support
  • support informed conversations with parents
  • support informed conversations with multi-agency practitioners, particularly in health and care

For health and care, the tool can help to:

  • identify how you can support schools
  • understand what provision looks like in schools
  • inform single-agency plans, such as individual health plans and continuing health care plans