Chapter 4 - A Graduated Approach to SEND

4.1 Effective Inclusive Settings; Quality First Teaching for all Learners

All children and young people in Wigan settings have an entitlement to high-quality everyday personalised teaching. This is teaching that is carefully planned and takes prior learning into account.  Lessons have a clear structure and include objectives that are shared and revisited during the lesson. Teachers use lively, dynamic, interactive teaching methods that ensure high quality teaching and learning taking different learning styles into account.

  • Inclusive Quality First Teaching focuses on making learning purposeful and enjoyable
  • Inclusive Quality First Teaching is learner-centred
  • Personalisation is paramount.

What does Inclusive Quality First Teaching look like?

  • High achievement for all through explicit high expectations and high aspirations
  • The learning needs of all children and young people are considered, ensuring support and challenge for learners
  • Lesson planning, involving everyone working with the children and young people, takes account of prior learning based on assessment. This enables learning objectives to specific, focused and differentiated appropriately with clear success criteria
  • A purposeful, organised and well-resourced classroom environment which encourages independence 
  • A planned range of teaching skills, strategies and approaches are deployed to engage all learners
  • Teaching considers the use of language ensuring it is matched to the needs and circumstances of the learner
  • Adults model good practice by working together
  • Teachers provide clear explanations of teaching points and use appropriate questioning to develop understanding and to set challenges
  • Special Educational Needs provision and resources are provided using an “Assess, Plan, Do, Review” approach
  • Motivated learners who are fully engaged in learning, having opportunities to work both independently and collaboratively 
  • Focused praise and effective feedback (i e: positive praise and reward, modelling, instructing, scaffolding, explanation, questioning and recording and marking, which needs to be timely and specific) 
  • Everyone involved in teaching is deployed appropriately and knows how to support learning.

How can Inclusive Quality First Teaching promote achievement?

  • By creating a safe and happy environment for learning
  • By sharing clear expectations
  • By engaging and motivating learners
  • By empowering learners to take responsibility for their own progress
  • By promoting independent learning
  • By developing resilience through supported risk taking
  • By having high expectations for all.

4.2 The Graduated Approach

Throughout this chapter we refer to the provision needed to support children and young people to achieve their learning outcomes.

  • No additional support
  • Some additional support 
  • Lots of additional support
  • Exceptional support
Diagram shows process needed to support children and young people to achieve their learning outcomes.

This flowchart demonstrates the Graduated Response taken to SEND.

This is a graduated approach in which the provision at each level includes that described in the preceding level.  Each level is defined as follows:

No Support


Children/young people achieve the learning outcomes, appropriate to their age and ability, through Inclusive Quality First Teaching.

Social Care 

Children/young people are able to access universal services without any additional support.

Some Support


Children/young people are beginning to show some signs of emerging needs.  Timely intervention would ensure that they move back to the ‘No Support’ category in the majority of cases.  This support would be funded through Elements 1 and/or 2 of the school budget.  For some children there may be a period of time when the support gradually intensifies, until ‘Lots of Support’ is considered. 

Social Care

Children/young people are able to access universal support but may need some support from the adults present on occasions.  They will not need an identified person for this support.

Lots of Support


Children/young people have identified learning needs and are described in the Code of Practice at SEN Support. They will require a lot of support but a Costed Provision Map (CPM) would indicate this provision to be below the £6000 threshold and thus would be funded through Element 2 funding. They are likely to be children/young people for whom there may be the possibility of an EHC Referral and therefore the setting would ensure that the process of evidence gathering is implemented in an increasingly robust fashion.

Social Care

Children/young people are not able to access community facilities or universal services without designated support. This may not be continual support but the person would need to be available to them as necessary. They may, following an assessment of need by a social worker, be eligible for specialist support services.

Exceptional Support


Children/young people who have complex and long-term needs and who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or who will be referred for an EHC assessment in the near future, i.e. a well-founded referral is underway.  A CPM would indicate levels of support above the £6000 threshold with a need for additional top-up funding.  

Social Care

Children/young people who are unable to access any community or universal service without a minimum of 1:1 support at all times.  They are likely, following a social worker assessment of need, to be eligible for specialist support services.

Once a child or young person, who does not have an EHC Plan, reaches the exceptional support stage, then they may begin to follow the EHC Pathway. An EHC assessment and plan will only be initiated if the child/young person has educational needs. If there are no educational needs a social care assessment can still be undertaken.

The nature of the assessment pathway would depend upon the age and/or needs of the child. For example:

4.3 Voice of the Child

The SEND Code of Practice makes it clear that the views of children and young people are paramount at every stage of the SEND graduated approach.

Specifically, local authorities must:

  • Ensure the child’s parents or the young person are fully included in the EHC needs assessment process from the start, are fully aware of their opportunities to offer views and information, and are consulted about the content of the plan.

Similarly the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states:

  • Children have a right to receive and impart information, to express an opinion and to have that opinion taken into account in any matters affecting them from the early years. Their views should be given due weight according to their age, maturity and capability (Articles 12 and 13). 

There are a range of ways to elicit the views of children and young people and schools will be best placed to offer opportunities for their pupils to express their views. TESS and the Educational Psychology Service (EPS) have offered training to SENCOs, schools and settings and have a range of resources available. Guidance from the EPS: Voice of the Child.


Rate the information on this page

green smiley (good) orange smiley (average) red smiley (poor)

© Wigan Council