Key factors which underpin SEND support

Culture, leadership and management 

  • Strong commitment to SEND as school/setting  ‘high priority’, reflected in inclusion and meeting pupils’ and students’ needs to achieve positive outcomes
  • All young children, pupils and students valued and positively reflected
  • Heads, Principals, and senior leaders leading by example
  • The early years setting/school/college ethos and vision based around commitment to inclusion
  • Robust staffing structures, delivery model and staff deployment
  • Transparent and appropriate resource allocation, including allocated time for planning, reviewing, thinking and sharing ideas 

High quality teaching 

School/setting staff who: 

  • Are knowledgeable and well informed about supporting individual needs (i.e. who can identify barriers to learning, match needs to appropriate support and effectively monitor and review progress)
  • Are adept at adapting and differentiating whole class teaching to meet individual needs
  • Use the graduated approach across the entire SEND cohort, that ensures the ‘right’ pupils and students are on SEND support, and receive appropriately tailored support
  • Can propose, implement and oversee interventions to ensure they have the desired impacts
  • Take responsibility for all pupils’ progress including those with SEND

Use of expertise 

  • A range of staff across teams who are knowledgeable about SEND so that capacity is not just concentrated amongst a few staff
  • Staff delivering and overseeing support (teaching, pastoral, leaders and assistants) who are trained so they are skilled and equipped to do so
  • Professional development that is continuous, comes from various sources, and covers theory as well as practice
  • High quality expertise that is readily available and reactive to need
  • Clear processes (and the appropriate knowledge) for how and when to work with specialists, both those within the school/setting and external
  • A SENCO and SEND or Learning Support team who are being used as consultants, to advise and support all staff


  • Individually tailored packages of high-quality support that address the whole range of a child/young person’s needs
  • Staff who have developed a thorough understanding of their children’s, pupils’ and students’ needs
  • High expectations for pupils and students in terms of progress, achievements and outcomes
  • Young child / pupils and students supported to develop independence and transition smoothly between settings and into adulthood
  • Understanding and celebration of pupils’ and students’ strengths, abilities and successes rather than just their needs and barriers
  • Pupils and families who are treated as partners, with their contribution to the development and implementation of support respected and valued and the role of the wider family unit in pupils’ and students’ success appreciated

Flexible use of evidence-based strategies 

  • Practitioners implementing the graduated approach
  • Strategies chosen for a specific purpose (linked to assessed needs, outcomes and agreed measures of success)
  • Support packages based on barriers to learning being developed, reviewed and revised at an individual level
  • Delivery by trained staff with need, focus, delivery and desired outcomes all being clearly understood
  • Strong processes for monitoring progress and impact
  • Minimal withdrawal from and disruption to mainstream learning

Progress tracking 

  • Data regularly being collected to facilitate the early identification of need
  • Assessments providing a full rounded picture of a specific child’s needs
  • Progress being appropriately collated, monitored and used to underpin decisions
  • Clear systems of accountability for progress of young childs, pupils and students with SEND
  • Classroom teachers being accountable for the attainment and support of pupils on SEND support
  • Robust systems in place for: using data to identify, assess and review impact/progress; detailing all the strategies being used (from individual to cohort to whole school level); and accountability for providing and using these data and strategies
  • Find out more about Provision Mapping here.

Communication and collaboration 

  • All staff (internal and external), other agencies, children and young people , and families sharing information and forming trusted and supportive relationships
  • Everyone who is working with the child or young person focused on the same goals

Preparing for Adulthood

All those who work with children and young people with SEND or disabilities, should support them to prepare for adult life from their earliest years, so they achieve the best outcomes in:

  • Employment
  • Independent living
  • Health, and
  • Community participation

Preparation for adult life should be a more explicit element of the support and planning for teenagers.

For those children and young people with an ENC plan, from Year 9 onwards, EHC Plan Reviews must focus on preparing for adulthood outcomes - (SEND Code of Practice para 8.10).  However, we encourage earlier consideration of this as part of the review processes. 

Independent careers guidance is provided to all students between 13 and 25 years of age, including colleges of further education and sixth forms. 

Assessment and identification of need 

The SEND Code of Practice (2015) identifies four broad areas of need and support: 

  1. Communication and Interaction
  2. Cognition and Learning 
  3. Social, Emotional and Mental Difficulties
  4. Sensory and / or Physical Needs

It is important to remember not to define a child or young person by any category of SEND, as they will often have needs that fall into two or more of the areas. However, the categories can be helpful for thinking about some general areas of special needs when planning support within classes. 


29/06/2021, 12:14:25