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Professional Resources

Assess, Plan, Do, Review

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

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.

Continual assessment diagram5.38 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.

Identifying and supporting children with SEND - guide for childminders  Opens new window

Identifying and supporting children with SEND - guide for providers  Opens new window

SEND Graduated Approach booklet  Opens new window

Considerations before you contact your area Senco  Opens new window


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.


Early Years - Small Steps guidance  Opens new window

Early Years - Small Steps tracker   Opens new window

Early Years Sensory Processing Resource Pack    Opens new window

Social Communiction Group booklet    Opens new window

Early Communication Observation Profile    Opens new window

Play based assessment 1-2 years    Opens new window

Play based assessment 2+ years   

Opens new windowSupporting Children with Physical and Medical Needs in Early Years Settings Opens new windowEvery Child a Talker (ECAT) Opens new window


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.

Behaviour plan examples  Opens new window

Behaviour plan blank master  Opens new window

ABC Chart  Opens new window

ABC Chart example  Opens new window

Target plan blank  Opens new window

Target plan example 1  Opens new window

Target plan example 2  Opens new window

Target plan example 3  Opens new window

Target plan and tracker  Opens new window


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.


Creating an enabling environment for a child with SEND

Tips to support the developmentally young child

Tips to support the development of inclusive play

Using pictures and symbols in early years settings

Positive behaviour pictures

Ten top tips for positive behaviour

Top tips for sharing progress


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.


Guidelines for running a SEND Support Plan meeting

Review Meeting letter

Guidance for completing a SEND Support Plan

SEND Support Plan - early years


Transition to school 2020 Opens new window   

Transition into school form

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.

Request for Statutory Assessment 

Request for Statutory Assessment – a guide for EY providers 

Request for Statutory Assessment – a guide for parents/carers  Opens new window

Bitesize to help providers complete the paperwork. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

SEN Intervention Funding or EHCP 

For more information, please see Assessment of SEN SENA.

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