Halton Graduated Approach and Strategy Toolkit

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What is the Graduated Approach?

Where a child or young person is identified as having SEN, educational settings should take action to enable the child or young person to participate in learning and to make progress. The educational setting should put special educational support or strategies in place through the use of a Graduated Approach.

The Graduated Approach is a four-part continuous cycle made up of the following steps:

  • Assess – An initial assessment of the child or young person needs are discussed to identify the specific support needed, it creates the starting point from which to work.
  • Plan – From the assessment a support plan is written, it is co-produced and details the support/strategies to be put in place, it will have clear targets and deadlines of the expected progress.
  • Do – This is where the plan is implemented, the agreed actions identified in the plan are put in place.
  • Review – Is the monitoring of the child or young person’s progress, it evaluates the success and impact of the Plan and the support given. There is no specific timeline for how frequently the reviews are carried out.

Through the Graduated Approach earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised, this leads to a growing understanding of the child and young person’s needs and what supports them to make good progress and secure good outcomes, we learn what works for that child or young person. Sometimes if the plan is not working or something new occurs, we need to rethink and begin the process again. This is why it is referred to as a continuous cycle. If the child or young person has made good progress then this may mean that they no longer require the additional support in which case the child will no longer be identified as needing SEN Support.

Strategy Toolkit and Writing SEND Support Plans

Information for schools and settings:

  • The Strategy Toolkit provides support strategies across the different SEND areas of identified need. 
  • The Writing SEND Support Plans presentation includes recorded advice and support to help you to produce support plans for children and young people.

Graduated Approach Strategy Toolkit (Excel Spreadsheet)

Writing SEND Support Plans presentation and recording

Early Years (0-5)



Details can be found in the boxes below for Discretionary Top-up Funding (DTUF) for Early Years and Disability Access Fund (DAF) Early Years

Sources of Support
  • As part of the graduated approach, schools, colleges and settings can access support from a range of Educational, Health and Care Services for children and young people with SEND.
  • Support can be accessed for varying levels of need, not just for those who are undergoing an EHC assessment or have an EHC Plan.
  • Halton has developed a multi-agency Partnership Group, involving representatives of Education, Health and Social Care to make joint decisions about the allocation of SEND provision, services in Halton work together to support families.
  • Halton has adopted the ‘tell us once’ approach through multi-agency person-centred planning meetings which are undertaken as part of the EHC assessment process.
  • Education Support
  • Health Support
  • Halton CAMHS involvement within the Graduated Approach
  • Halton CAMHS – Current Link Workers for schools
  • Care Support
  • Halton Local Offer
Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment Process

Preparing for Adulthood
Disability Access Fund (DAF) Early Years

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is for early years childcare providers to support children with disabilities or special educational needs, from 1 April 2024 the amount is £910.

DAF is to support access to early years childcare provision by supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and/or help build inclusive capacity (this may be for the child in question or to benefit children as a whole attending the setting).

Detailed information about the DAF eligibility criteria, entitlement, documentary evidence required, procedure, payment and application process can be found in the:

Discretionary Top-up Funding (DTUF) application paperwork (CARE SCHEDULE)

Helps to support children with SEND can include blocks of specialist teaching, Outreach, advice and recommendations from specialist teachers and short-term Discretionary Top-up Funding (DTUF) for those with increased need.  DTUF funding is accessed through a panel based process chaired by school staff alongside officers of the LA.

Requests for DTUF should be made using the appropriate School Behaviour Toolkit and Checklist (SBTandC) documents below:

SEND Areas of Need and Resources

Each SEND Area of Need has it’s own dedicated page, you can access all of these by clicking on the individual boxes below  

Each dedicated page provides lots of helpful resources, documents, information, signposting links to useful websites and contact details for the relevant area

Communication and Interaction

Deafness and hearing loss (Sensory and Physical)

Cognition and Learning Difficulties

Vision Impairment (Sensory and Physical)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

Physical and Medical

A Revised Approach to SEND in the Early Years 

Click image below to download the presentation

Graduated Approach for schools

Click image below to download the presentation

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