Graduated Response

Where a child is identified as having special educational needs, the SEND Code of Practice is clear that settings should take action to remove any barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place – this is called SEN support.

This support should take the form of a four-part “Assess, Plan, Do, Review” cycle; where actions are tried, reviewed and revised as necessary in line with the pupil’s needs. In education settings, this is known as the graduated approach and in Suffolk, we have set up a process to support this approach called the graduated response:

The SEND Journey: A Graduated Approach 

Supporting children with SEND in the Early Years 

Regularly planning for, implementing, and reviewing the support and interventions to improve outcomes for all children.

Stage 1: Initial or emerging concerns

Initiate APDR Cycle (Assess, Plan, Do, Review)


  • Discussion with key staff in the educational setting to build a profile of need and strengths – what is the child interested in?
  • Capture views through Parent Consent Form and Parent/Carers views document.
  • Gather and analyse information and assessments, based on observations, current attainment, formal and informal assessments. Consider how you will do this. (Progress check at age 2, WellComm Tool)
  • Are there any external agencies involved with the family?



  • Put in place the agreed adjustments, support, and interventions, with the SENDCo supporting staff with implementation.
  • Discuss with parents aiming for a consistent approach in the home environment.
  • Consider provision mapping in your setting.
  • Agree date of review.


  • Review together with everyone what is working well, by the agreed date on the plan.
  • Review effectiveness of interventions and provision in place.
  • Signpost parent/carer to access information, support, and advice – for example Suffolk Local Offer website.       

Stage 2: making less than expected progress

APDR cycle of action then starts again with the updated information

Stage 3: CYP requires a higher level of support and intervention

APDR cycle then starts again with the updated information and monitored more frequently.

  • Review the impact of provision and SEND funding in place, amend and adjust where needed.
  • Share information and seek the views of everyone involved with the child.
  • Consider a request for an Education Health Care Needs Assessment which can identify the SEND and the additional educational provision which may be required to meet individual needs.
  • Implement recommendations from the child’s EHCP.
  • Carry out an EHCP Annual Review

The APDR cycle then starts again with the updated information

A printed version of this information is provided below

Graduated Response (print version)