Early identification of SEND in schools

Helping schools and settings decide on first steps in response to SEND.

When additional needs are first suspected we suggest using the At a Glance Pupil Profile from our Cognition and Learning Toolkit to gather together what you know about the child. These are available here:



As these documents- it is important to consider all areas of development, even when need appears to be focused in one area.

This is the first step in what is known as the Assess, Plan, Do, Review (APDR) cycle:

Assess - a clear analysis is made of needs based on:

  • views of the child/young person and their parents / carers
  • teacher assessments and observations
  • pupil’s current attainment
  • pupil’s previous progress and attainment
  • tracking of progress and comparisons with national data
  • assessments by external agencies if appropriate.

Plan - the teacher, SENCO, parent / carers and pupil, agree on a plan of action to include:

  • time limited outcomes for the pupil
  • the adjustments, support and interventions to be put in place

Do - all the pupil’s teachers and support staff are made aware of the plan and implement the adjustments, support and interventions.  Teachers are responsible for:

  • differentiating and personalising the curriculum within the classroom
  • planning and evaluation of any group or one-to-one interventions which may be delivered by support staff
  • making links between interventions and classroom teaching explicit and ensuring transfer of skills

The SENCO supports teachers in the effective implementation of provision.

Review - the quality, effectiveness and impact of provision is evaluated by the review date, which should be set at the Plan stage.

This includes seeking the views of the pupil and their family.

The Early ID toolkit

outlines how to progress through the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle and links to tools and resources to support you.

It is then important to ensure that any additional interventions are based on a foundation of QFT- this is defined here:

# add - Quality First Teaching Document

It is then important to ensure that any additional interventions are based on a foundation of QFT- this is defined here:

This is a useful poster to promote principles of QFT across the four areas of SEND

Inclusive Education Infograph

Respective responsibilities

Governing bodies must:

  • Appoint an SEN Governor to have oversight of the arrangements for SEN
  • Know how many pupils in the school have SEND
  • Know how much money the school gets for SEND and ensure an appropriate budget arrangement is in place to discharge its duties to arrange provision for pupils with SEND and/or disabilities
  • Review and approve the SEND policy and any other relevant policies
  • Monitor the progress of pupils with SEND and ensure that the provisions specified in Education, Health and Care plans are made
  • Ensure that SEND provision is integrated into the school improvement plan
  • Publish on a school website the school SEND policy and The SEND Information Report which provides a description of the arrangements and specialist provisions made for children with SEND
  • That to the best of their endeavours, the necessary provision is made for any pupil/student who has SEND.
  • That where the headteacher or a nominated governor has been informed by a Local Authority that a pupil has SEN, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach or support that pupil.
  • That a pupil with SEN and/or a disability joins in the activities of the school together with other pupils, so far as is reasonably practical and compatible with the child receiving the special educational provision their learning needs call for, the efficient education of the pupils with whom they are educated and the efficient use of resources.

Schools must:

  • Publish a School SEND Information report
  • Identify children with SEND and ensure provision is made in accordance with the SEN/D Code of Practice (2015)
  • Appoint a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)
  • Invest in whole school and targeted training for staff
  • Ensure inclusive teaching and support practice is embedded throughout the school and that all teachers understand that they are ‘Teachers of SEND’
  • Provide information on school arrangements for SEND to parents and governors
  • Consider pre-emptive arrangements for pupils present and future with a disability

Local authority responsibilities

The Local Authority must:

  • Ensure a sufficiency of provision for pupils with SEND and review it annually
  • Make arrangements for the Education, Health and Care Needs assessments of pupils/students who may need special educational provision to be met
  • Publish information on SEND funding and provision
  • Monitor the progress of children with SEND
  • Provide a statutory information, advice and support (IAS) service to parents of pupils/students with SEN/D  (lhttp://sendiassnorthyorkshire.co.uk/ink)

When a CYP’s difficulties are showing that they do not make progress despite differentiated Quality First teaching, and after two cycles of Assess, Plan, Do, Review, schools should consider a referral to the SEND hubs with parental consent.  Informal advice can be sought at any time in this process.  (link to contact)
It is not anticipated that all children and young people with SEND will need to be referred to the hubs, the majority of children requiring additional/different provision can be supported by their school/setting, and within the delegated SEND budget allocated to school (Element 2).

Statutory guidance

SEN Code of Practice

Contact for more information