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THE GRADUATED RESPONSE

You may have heard of the Graduated Response from your child’s school and wondered what it really means and how it applies to your child at this time.


In 2014, the Government published the SEN Code of Practice. This is the guidance that all schools and educational settings must adhere to when identifying and supporting children who may have special educational needs and/or disability (SEND). The Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) of the school/ nursery is responsible for supporting staff and identifying and co-ordinating support but not directly for your child’s progress. The Code of Practice places this responsibility on your child’s teachers as they are in daily contact with your child.


In your child’s school, teaching staff will be regularly looking to identify children whose progress might have slowed down and to identify children who appear to be learning at a slower rate than or in a different way to other children. If teaching staff have concerns about your child’s progress, they might talk to you to gather more information and/ or include your child in a focused intervention, for example a language enrichment group to develop their language and interaction skills. This is known as Quality First Teaching.


Through ongoing assessment and intervention, a better picture will emerge of the barriers to and the gaps in your child’s learning and how your child responds to intervention. This is the beginning of the Assess, Plan, Do and Review Cycle, also known as the Graduated Response. Sometimes, a plan will be agreed (perhaps called an Individual Education Plan) following a meeting with you, your child’s teacher and the Special Needs Co-ordinator. The IEP will capture information about your child’s strengths and challenges, identify desired outcomes and detail the steps that need to be taken in order that your child is able to reach these outcomes. These steps may include strategies and interventions that will take place at school as well as suggestions that you might do at home. The IEP will also detail when you will meet again to review your child’s progress towards the agreed outcomes and to review the effectiveness of the interventions. Should your child not be making the desired progress when the plan is reviewed, the interventions may become more intensive and more personalised.


If your child’s progress continues to cause concern, you may decide to seek, or school staff may suggest, that your child might benefit from a more specialised assessment, for example from an Educational Psychologist. Sometimes, these can be secured by the school but you may wish to secure these assessments privately. It is beneficial that the outcomes of any professional assessments, including the EP assessment are fed back into the Graduated Response cycle to help inform future planning for your child and to ensure that your child’s needs are met.


Should your child require a very personalised approach that is different from and additional to his/ her peers, then you (with the School Senco) might consider making an application to the Local Authority for an assessment of your child’s Special Educational Needs. This, if agreed, may lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan being issued.