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Identifying needs

What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

A child has a special educational need or disability (SEND) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

a) have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or

b) have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

SEND Code of Practice

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 (updated January 2015) sets out four broad areas of special educational need that include a range of difficulties and conditions:

The SEND Code of Practice states that:

Many children and young people have difficulties that fit clearly into one of these areas; some have needs that span two or more areas; for others the precise nature of their need may not be clear at the outset.

It provides statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

You can read the SEND Code of Practice here.

Identification and Assessment of Children with SEND

As set out in the SEND Code of Practice, the school follows the Graduated Approach to Assessment, which follows the four stages of Assess, Plan, Do and Review. This allows for a more personalised approach to the identification, planning and assessment of SEND.

Image showing graduated approach to SEND assessment


The school will use a variety of methods to assess the emerging SEND need.

  • Teacher assessment
  • Internal data on attainment, progress, behaviour, attendance and Work samples
  • Parent and student views
  • Advice from external agencies
  • Information collected from primary school
  • Banding documents consulted


The school will create a support plan for the student in partnership with parents/carers, the student and teachers. This will include some of the following:

  • Reasonable adjustments teachers should make to provide high quality teaching
  • The development of a ‘Pupil Inclusion Plan’
  • What additional provision/intervention is needed to ensure they make progress
  • SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) targets are set. In York we use the councils ‘Banding Documents’ to identify thresholds of need – you can see these here.

The banding documents describe good practice and entitlement across all areas of need. They aim to ensure clarity, consistency and transparency for schools, parents, practitioners, the Education, Health and Care Plan Panel, and the equitable use of finite resources.


The plan will then be implemented for a period of time before it is reviewed again. 


The plan will be reviewed by parents/carers, the student and teachers. The review will be looking at:

  • Has the student met/on track to meet expected targets?
  • What evidence is there?
  • Has there been any improvement on their rate of progress?
  • How is the pupil responding to the targeted provision?
  • Are there changes to the SEND? At this stage it is hoped that a fuller understanding of the need has been established and from this it will be decided to either:
  1. Continue with the current plan since it is proving to be successful
  2. Try different strategies that might prove to be more successful This is known as a graduated response.
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