Assess, Plan, Do, Review

The graduated approach towards the identification of children who may have SEND.

Assess | Plan | Do | Review

The SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 2015 identified the need for a graduated approach towards the identification of children who may have SEND. This is a circular model using assess, plan, do, review.

5.38 All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review.

5.4 Providers must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities. These arrangements should include a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN. The benefits of early identification are widely recognised – identifying need at the earliest point, and then making effective provision, improves long-term outcomes for children.

Identifying and supporting children in the Early Years

We have developed a guide to explain what SEND is, the legislations surrounding it and how to identify children with additional needs. The guide also looks at strategies to help you to support children with SEND and explains the graduated approach and how it can be applied to the children that are in your setting/that you mind. There are two guides, one aimed at childminders and one aimed at providers.


Universally all children will be assessed in the early stages. The Integrated Health Check should be used to provide developmental levels for Early Assessment Review.

Assessment includes considering all the information about the child’s learning and development both within and beyond the setting, working with the setting SENCO and the child’s parents.

This initial assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure that support is matched to need.

Where a child continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidence-based support and interventions that are matched to the child’s area of need, practitioners should consider involving appropriate specialists, the decision to be taken with the child’s parents.

Every Child a Talker (ECAT)


The practitioner and the SENCO should agree, in consultation with the parent, the outcomes they are seeking, the interventions and support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, and a clear date for review. Plans should take into account the views of the child.


The early years practitioner, usually the child's key person, remains responsible for working with the child on a daily basis. With support from the SENCO, they should oversee the implementation of the interventions or programmes agreed as part of SEN support.


Early years practitioners must review progress and provide parents with a short written summary of their child’s development, identifying the child’s strengths and any areas where their progress is slower than expected.


Concerns around speech and language

If you have concerns around a child's speech and language, these health links will be able to support you.

Requesting Statutory Assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

EHCPs identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

Requesting Statutory Assessment for an EHCP should follow extensive discussions with both parents/carers and other professionals involved.

A question to ask yourselves is, what an EHCP will give the child over and above Intervention Funding (Top Up Funding), when a child starts school. 

Majority of children’s needs with SEND can be met through additional funding and do not require an EHCP. 

It is vital to consider the ‘Graduated Approach’ cycle and what you have done to support the child through the continuation of Assess, Plan, Do, Review.

Bitesize to help providers complete the paperwork.

For more information, please see Assessment of SEN SENA.