Skip to content

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

The graduated response

What is the graduated response?

The graduated response (or graduated approach) is a model of action that recognises there is a continuum of special educational needs and that where necessary, increasing specialist expertise should be brought to bear on the difficulties that a child may be experiencing. The graduated response is available 4:9 – 4:13 of the SEN Code of Practice 2001.

What does this mean?

It is the settings’ response that changes; the child remains the same child.

It shows the steps a setting goes through before any decision is made to seek outside agency advice.

All children are individuals. Practitioners need to build a sound knowledge of the child through ongoing observation and assessment in order to offer differentiated learning opportunities which are carefully planned to meet the child’s needs.

With careful planning, practitioners can develop effective interventions without specialist expertise in most cases.

Regular monitoring of individual progress is essential for all children

When a child appears not to be making progress, then it may be necessary to offer different opportunities or use alternative approaches to learning. The child may simply need time and support to develop – rather than having SEN. This is known as making reasonable adjustments.

If the child is still not making adequate progress and is identified as having additional needs, the setting should intervene through early years action.

If, following this intervention, the child is still not making adequate progress, the setting should consider whether it is necessary to respond by providing additional or different interventions through Early Years Action Plus, such as advice and support are sought from external agencies.

There is an expectation that settings will be the key leaders in ‘action’ to support children’s learning and development to ensure that they achieve their potential.

The early years consultant (a SENCo role) can advise and support settings to develop a graduated response within their setting to support all children’s development needs.

Four step process

  1. Identifying need
  2. Providing intervention
  3. Monitoring progress
  4. Planning next steps
    (Indicative Draft: SEN (0-25) Code of Practice March 2013) April 2013