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SEN Support and the graduated approach

Graduated approach

The definition of special educational needs: In the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (2014) the definition of SEN remains the same:

‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.’

Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, to enable the pupil to participate, learn and make progress schools should take action to:

  • remove barriers to learning
  • put effective special educational provision in place.

SEN support should arise from a fourpart cycle, known as the graduated approach, through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised, leading to a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes. The four stages of the cycle are:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Review.

For further details about the graduated approach, please see the download document "The Graduated Approach Guide - by Nasen" on this page. This is a quick guide to ensuring that every child or young person gets the support they require to meet their needs.

The guide aims to: 

  • introduce school staff to the graduated approach to SEN support, with the child and family at its heart 
  • emphasise the role of class/subject teachers as teachers of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/ or disabilities 
  • look in detail at each aspect of the Assess-Plan-Do-Review cycle - explore ways of involving parents and carers throughout the support process


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Page last reviewed: 05/06/2023

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