What is the graduated approach?

The Code specifies that high quality teaching with differentiation and personalised support needs to be the first reaction to possible SEN, if there continues to be concerns then the graduated approach must be followed. For this process to be effective there needs to be a clear understanding of the child’s strengths, challenges and needs and the caregivers and the child must be at the heart of the process. The response will only be effective in achieving good outcomes for the child if teachers have high aspirations for them and if the plan of action is specific to their needs. The Code has a strong emphasis on early identification for SEN it is anticipated that, in many cases assessment takes place in the early years, though in reality this is not the case as children are identified throughout their school years. The Code outlines the graduated approach cycle (sometimes referred to as the graduated response), through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised, leading to a growing understanding of the child’s needs and what supports them in making progress and securing good outcomes (DfE, 2015). There are four distinct stages to the graduated response, assess, plan do and review.

(Martin-Denham and Watts, 2019)