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The Graduated Approach

A guide to the graduated Approach for Schools

According to the Special Educational Needs and disability Code of Practice, schools and settings should support pupils with SEND using an Assess, Plan, Do, Review process.

Settings should initially give regard to :

  • Implementation of quality first teaching, including differentiation for individual pupils
  • Consideration of progress, including high quality and accurate formative assessment, using effective tools and early assessment materials
  • Early discussion with pupil and parents to develop a good understanding of pupil’s areas of strength and difficulties, identifying outcomes sought for the child and the next steps
  • A record should be kept of these discussions with a copy given to parents. Settings should also inform parents of the local authority’s information, advice and support service (Halton SEND Partnership) and give advice how to access the Local Offer
  • A date for reviewing progress should be agreed and the parent, pupil and teaching staff should each be clear about how they will help the pupil reach the expected outcomes. If it is decided that a pupil does have SEN, the decision should be recorded in school records and the pupil’s parents must be formally informed that special educational provision is being made.

The Graduated Approach can be considered as a process where increasing levels of support are implemented, and referrals are made to advisory services as appropriate.

This can be demonstrated as

First Cycle

Quality First Teaching targeted at the area of need

Assessment of all pupils in the class at the beginning of the year, to form a baseline. The class teacher identifies those pupils who may be under performing, and considers the concerns of parents about their child’s lack of progress.

The class teacher plans how to meet the needs of those identified pupils who are not at the same level as their peers, eg. using differentiation targeted at the area of need, whole class strategies, small group teaching.

The class teacher implements the strategies for a fixed period of time, eg 6 weeks, half a term, completion of a module of teaching.
The class teacher reviews how effective the strategies have been and what impact they have had on the pupil’s progress. The views of the pupil and parent are taken into account.

The class teacher works with the SENCO to consider whether to revise the support, agreeing any changes to the support and outcomes in consultation with the parent and pupil. If the school now decide that the child has special educational needs, this should be shared formally with the parent.

Second Cycle

More specific intervention and provision in the classroom

The class teacher, in consultation with the SENCO, will undertake school based specialist assessment, eg,for speech and language, cognition and learning, Boxall Profile etc.

In consultation with parents, and in response to the additional assessment, new plans will be made to meet the needs of the pupils, using more specialised interventions and resources. A date is agreed with parents for review. A Support Plan should be drawn up, recording the expected outcomes and provision.

Evidenced based, high quality interventions may be delivered by the class teacher, or by a Teaching Assistant under the guidance of the class teacher, using the resources available within schools from the High Needs Budget. This funding could also be used to pay for services and resources which would target the child’s special educational needs.

After the agreed period of time, the class teacher reviews how effective the strategies have been and what impact they have had on the pupil’s progress. The views of the pupil and parent are taken into account.

If the pupil continues to make little or no progress, the class teacher, in discussion with the SENCO and parent, may decide to make a referral to an appropriate agency, eg Educational Psychology Service, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Therapy Services at Woodview Child Development Clinic etc.

Third & Fourth Cycle

Schools seek additional specialist advice

Specialist assessment will be carried out by the specialist service. If the Educational Psychology service is involved they will carry out a consultation with relevant school staff.

School will develop a SEN Support plan in consultation with the parent and the advisory services involved, implementing the strategies and interventions which have been suggested. The plan will show how provision will be used to achieve desired outcomes.
Interventions will be in place for an agreed period of time, delivered by the class teacher, or by a teaching assistant under the direction of the class teacher.

Reviews will be carried out in consultation with the parents and the specialist service to consider what impact the interventions have had and what progress has been made. The Education Psychology Service would recommend that 2 cycles of Assess, Plan, Do, Review are completed before schools consider next steps.

For the majority of children, these 4 cycles would be sufficient; the strategies and interventions will have had an impact and enabled the child to make sufficient progress. For a very small number of children with significant needs, further support may be needed.

In this instance, schools would have to demonstrate, that despite sustained, appropriate, high quality interventions, the child continues to work at a level significantly behind their peers.

Fifth Cycle

If a child fails to make significant progress despite following advice, school may apply for enhanced provision funding

It may be considered that each of these cycles would last for approx. 6 weeks or half a term. If, after 4 completed cycles, the child has still not made appropriate progress, it may be appropriate to apply for Enhanced Provision funding.

Schools should discuss this with their Educational Psychologist as part of the consultation process, and take advice from a member of the SEN Service before making an application for Enhanced Provision.

Sixth Cycle

If a child fails to make significant progress despite having enhanced provision funding, school may apply for an Education, Health and Care Plan

If a child has had enhanced provision for a period of time and school can demonstrate that they are still failing to make progress, despite following recommendations from professionals and use of appropriate strategies and resources, then they may wish to apply for an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Schools should again discuss with their Educational Psychologist and speak to an Assessment Coordinator before making an application.