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The Graduated Approach

The graduated approach is a system of Assess, Plan, Do Review (APDR) with the child at the centre.


Stage 1: Universal Provision (all children)

 In class, staff working directly with children will constantly engage in a process of APDR at a universal level for all children. This will include high quality teaching, differentiation of activities or approaches as part of good practice in understanding that children learn at different rates and in different ways. 


As part of class assessments some children may be identified as underachieving in certain areas. Provision for these children is made within stage 1 and highlighted on class action plans by key workers.


Identification of need may be made through progress grids (using development matters to assess), Leuven scales for wellbeing and involvement, parental concerns, observations on tapestry, information from other settings or professionals.


Stage 2 : SEN Support

Interventions are different from or additional to those provided through quality first teaching in stage 1.


Staff fill out a SEND concern form to highlight concerns to SENDCO. Key workers will explain what has been tried so far and what they want to achieve.  The SENDCO will observe and assess and make recommendations.


Some children enter nursery with complex needs identified and outside professionals already involved.  We work together with parents and professionals to support a transition into the setting.


Children identified in stage 2 are supported using an “Individual Education Plan” (IEP).

An IEP is a working document that supports planning, teaching and reviewing of children with additional needs.

It is not a statutory document.


It uses “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound” (SMART) targets with an aim of addressing the particular needs of the child that fall over and above those met in stage 1 of the graduated approach.

There are no more than 3 targets set and these are reviewed at least once each full term.


Parents, key workers and SENDCO (and professionals as appropriate) meet to review and assess the IEP each full term (3 a year) but they are designed to be constantly monitored and evaluated.  Parents are encouraged to add tapestry observations to highlight progress at home where possible.


Stage 3: Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP)

An Education and Health Care plan is considered for children who need the highest levels of support.  Some children and young people may not make expected progress, despite efforts to identify, assess and meet the special educational need, in which case an application may be sent to the Local Authority and they will decide whether to proceed with an EHCP.


An application for an EHCP can be made by the school SENDCO, Parents or other professionals. Each local Authority has their own suggested procedures.

An EHCP is a legal document and the contents of the plan are legally binding. The Plan sets out a child’s special educational, health and care needs. Outlining the provision to meet those needs and suggesting how it will support the child or young person to achieve their desired outcomes.

The Graduated Approach - Diagram
The Graduated Approach.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [235.2 KB]

Nursery School

Tel: 0118 937 5577



Waterside Day Care

Tel: 0118 937 5677



Postal Address

82 Lyndhurst Road



RG30 6UB