Skip to content ↓

Supporting Children in Kent with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Following The Graduated Response

Before accessing support from the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service, schools are expected to have followed the Graduated Response (Assess, Plan, Do, Review) and established that, despite good quality teaching and targeted support, the child or young person has still not made progress. Schools should also follow the Sevenoaks Inclusion Flowchart and Inclusion Guidance which follows the Graduated Response. 

This may then indicate that despite good quality teaching and targeted support, the child or young person appears to have longer lasting social, emotional or mental health difficulties which may indicate that they have special educational needs.


Where there are concerns, there should be an assessment to determine whether there are any causal factors such as undiagnosed learning difficulties, difficulties with communication or mental health issues.

Initially, schools are required to identify possible social, emotional or mental health difficulties through their usual assessment processes, seeking to identify children and young people making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. Discussions should take place with others who know the child or young person i.e. parents/carers/school staff to understand the history of the difficulty, what helps and what doesn’t help to resolve issues and to plan resolutions together. This will include looking at home issues, the school environment, whole school policies and practices, assessing and reviewing the quality of teaching and support in the child or young person’s class using guidance materials issued by KCC.

School staff may engage in further assessments/observations and screenings to clarify the nature of the concern. A Risk assessment should be carried out if appropriate. Additional staff training may be required (e.g. de-escalation techniques or Mental Health First Aid).


The information gained through assessment and discussion will be documented by the school and may be recorded on a Pastoral Support Plan to show what everyone will do to improve things for the child or young person.

Class teachers need to plan for any adaptations which need to be put in place to support their behaviour and learning, to enable them to access the curriculum and make progress at school.

Plans might involve:

  • Changing things at home and school i.e. teaching strategies that calm the child/young person and encouraging them to do this increasingly independently across a range of situations
  • Offering opportunity to work/play away from peers if difficulty managing interaction with them i.e. workstation, structured play, additional adult supervision 
  • Offering opportunities to develop successful relationship with peers i.e. adult mentoring, setting roles in group work, managing seating plan to encourage successful interactions

This could be helped by additional targeted support, such as anger management sessions or a course in social skills. This should be recorded on a Provision Map or Personalised Plan. If the child or young person is considered a risk of harm to themselves or to others, the school would normally also complete a Risk Assessment to clarify ways of reducing the risk. 

We have provided links to useful resources and recommended websites to help you to put appropriate support plans in place.


Schools should allow time for new strategies to be carried out over a period of at least a term. This is the responsibility of the class teacher with support from the SENCO and Senior Leadership as appropriate. Staff trained in de-escalation techniques or Mental Health First Aid may need to support the child or young person.


The class teacher with the SENCO, child or young person and parents should regularly review the Pastoral Support / Personalised Plans and Risk Assessments. The impact and quality of the support and interventions should be evaluated, along with the views of the child or young person and their parents. This should feed back into the analysis of their needs. The class or subject teacher, working with the SENCO, should revise the support in light of the child or young person’s progress and development, deciding on any changes to the support and outcomes. This should be done in consultation with the parent and child or young person.

At this stage it may be decided that it would be appropriate to refer to a Drop-In, Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT) meeting or to other professionals for further support.

If it is thought housing, family or other domestic circumstances may be contributing to the presenting behaviour, a multi-agency approach may be appropriate, supported by the use of approaches such as the Early Help Assessment.