Part of
Somerset’s Graduated Response Tool

The purpose of this pathway is to ensure every child and young person in a Somerset school receives the support they are entitled to

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Part of
Somerset’s Graduated Response Tool

The purpose of this pathway is to ensure every child and young person in a Somerset school receives the support they are entitled to


Statutory Special Educational Needs (SEN) information

Statutory Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) information

Expectations for Whole School Inclusion

Expectations for Whole School Inclusion

Inclusion for each Broad Area of Need

Information about the four areas of need set out in the Code of Practice

Inclusion for each Broad Area of Need

Graduated Response Tool – Complex Medical Needs

Graduated Response Tool – Complex Medical Needs

Supporting tools, documents and signposting

Supporting tools, documents and signposting

SEND Code of Practice

‘Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), and severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children and young people are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children and young people are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment. Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.’ Code of Practice, 6.30 and 6.31.

Children and young people say:

I would look at pictures and pretend I was reading.

It feels like something is pushing me down.

Embrace our difference.

I have a really hard time lining up numbers in my head.

General - What barrier you will see

Many children and young people show slower progress than their peers. This could be due to a range of factors for example developmental delay or the impact of life events. Often their rate of progress will increase over time through high-quality teaching and in-class support at a universal level.

It is important to check hearing and vision before consideration of an assessment for cognition and learning barriers.

Tools for identification of need

Somerset Inclusion Tool pupil profile

General – what can help

  • The view of the children and young person around how they feel has been sought in a child friendly way
  • Close home/setting/parent carer links/relationship (not just ICT based) so that staff are aware of any changes in home circumstances and environmental factors that might impact on progress. Also to ensure that information is shared appropriately.

Phonological awareness skills

Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • identifying syllables, alliteration, rhyme
  • blending sounds and segmenting sounds orally
  • identifying and recalling individual phonemes (sounds)
Tools for identification of need

Phonological awareness skills – what can help

  • Sound Linkage – a cumulative multisensory phonological awareness programme.  Activities to support identification of words and syllables; identification and supply of rhyming words; identification and discrimination of phonemes – blending, segmentation, deletion, substitution and transposition of phonemes within words. For any age, at a cost
  • Hertfordshire SpLD Phonological Awareness Pack – a range of teacher strategies and activities with handouts to develop syllable detection, rhyme, alliteration, phoneme blending and segmentation, phonological awareness for secondary pupils, free to access
  • Hertfordshire Phonological Skills and Games – list of syllable, rhyme initial sound/alliteration and initial middle and final phoneme game– based activities for the classroom, free to access


Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • engaging with reading independently or with some adult support
  • making progress in their reading skills such as reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension
  • reading words outside of their vocabulary
  • blending sounds – for example, t-i-n

They may appear:

  • anxious or refuse when asked to read aloud
  • to have over reliance on adults or peers and to avoid reading
  • to overly rely on images and contextual clues when reading
  • to dislike or avoid reading at home
  • to predict a word using the first sound rather than segmenting or using phonics to read a word
  • to misread words
Tools for identification

Reading – what can help

  • Hertfordshire Co-operative word games list – game-based reading activities, free to access
  • Opportunities for success in reading – reading books with over 95% accuracy and reading familiar books
  • Paired Reading with an adult
  • Paired Reading with a peer
  • Explicit teaching of fluency including re-reading for speed, intonation and response to punctuation
  • Explicit teaching of reading skills such as inference, scanning and summarising
  • Being read to and talking about text, developing comprehension skills such as summarising, predicting and inference
  • Sound mats, key words, phonics games, plastic letters, ability and interest appropriate reading books
  • Text-to-speech functions in Microsoft, Google, Ipad, Mac
  • Use of audio books, reading software such as ClaroRead and reading pens,
  • Use of abridged versions of texts to support access to more challenging material
  • Reading wall, personal reading poster or book, containing words that are known, partly know and new words – words could be ticked when they are read correctly


Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • accurately spelling high frequency words and spelling rules such as root words, prefixes are not secure
  • recalling and/or knowing graphemes
  • spelling accurately using the correct grapheme (letter) choice – spelling phonetically
  • breaking down words into syllables and sounds
  • a slow speed of writing due to slow spelling fluency
Tools for identification of need

Spelling – what can help

  • Look, Say, Cover, Write – this can be adapted to suit learners’ needs such as: additional stages for tracing over the words, air writing, writing in sand, verbalising the word using letter names
  • Mnemonics – use visuals, colour, pictures, words within words, sounds or rhymes to help remember letters within words, or ‘mental hooks’.
  • Rainbow writing – multisensory sight word method for learning spellings with opportunities to then write the word in a chosen colour on a fresh page without any visual prompt
  • Teach ‘etymology’ the roots, suffixes, and prefixes of words using multisensory techniques such pictures, sounds and videos to learn the meaning of the roots, suffixes and prefixes
  • Use of ‘boxes’ font when introducing words – supporting children and young people to see the physical structure of a word, using visual clues as well as spelling strategies
  • Precision Teaching – Somerset Educational Psychology Service E-learning, at a cost
    • See the videos below for more information on Precision Teaching
  • Key word mats with picture clues, phonic mat, vocabulary lists, glossaries
  • Personal spelling book in alphabetical order that can be added to
  • Mini Whiteboard to test out spellings before putting pen or pencil to paper
  • Phoneme frames to support segmenting for spelling
  • ‘Ask Siri’ on an iPad if a child or young person does not know where to start with a spelling
  • Use of spelling apps such as: A+ Spelling, Mt Thorne Spelling with Dragons, DDs Dictionary,
  • Free online spelling games, for key stage 1 and key stage 2, free to access

Recognising common high frequency words

Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • remembering letter-sound relationships for reading and spelling
  • remembering high-frequency words for reading and spelling
  • accurate and/or fluent reading
  • matching the quality of their written work with their language skills
  • understanding (comprehending) text
  • inferring meaning from and/or answering questions about text
  • reading words outside of their vocabulary
Tools for identification of need

Recognising common high frequency words – what can help

  • Unlocking Letters and Sounds (ULS) – a Department for Education validated programme for assessing and teaching phonics – foundation to end of year 2, at a cost


Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • the pace or quality of their handwriting and/or letter formation, and do not competently use an alternate method of recording
  • accurately using punctuation and grammar
  • difficulty forming or remembering sentences
  • sequencing thoughts
  • word finding
  • demonstrating their underlying ability and knowledge when writing
  • starting written work or laying out work on the page
Tools for identification of need

Writing/Recording – what can help

  • Opportunities to talk before writing and to ‘talk like an expert’
  • Writing support such as pen grips, writing slopes, alternative methods of recording using technology, word spacers
  • Dictate functions in: Microsoft, Google, Ipad, Mac with training on their use
  • Provide an example of the finished product
  • Write on alternative lines to leave space for editing
  • Coloured paper or exercise books
  • Teacher modelling the writing or examples of a ‘good one’
  • South Warwickshire School Skills Classroom Strategies list of classroom strategies to support writing/recording, all ages, free to access
  • Magpie books for word finding and word mats related to the topic
  • Model the thinking process around language choice, grammar and live mark when writing
  • Allow additional thinking and writing time, give print outs of text, sit close to and facing the board
  • Word banks and scaffolding materials such as sentence starters, graphic organisers, pictures, labels, images, writing frames, story boards or story maps, key words on post-its that can be moved around, learning how to mind map
  • Support writing with colour, mages, actions, sensory experiences and drama

Numeracy - General

Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • remaining focused or motivated when learning in maths
  • learning new mathematical skills
  • making progress in their maths learning
  • sharing their thinking around maths tasks with peers or adults
  • using or applying mathematical concepts
  • sense of number and estimation
  • keeping up with the pace of learning
  • high levels of anxiety within the maths classroom
  • mental arithmetic skills
  • basic understanding of quantity
  • understanding Base-10
  • the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • recording operations using written methods
  • difficulty understanding specific concepts such as fractions, ratios, percentages, time and money
Tools for identification of need

Numeracy – what can help

  • Know starting point and begin by visiting prior learning with low stakes and high success activities to build confidence and engage children and young people
  • Use of recap of skills required before teaching new material
  • Understand the numeracy specific barriers and strengths of learners
  • Access to worked examples and real world examples such as shopping, train/bus timetables, money management
  • Allow the child and young person to talk through their learning and thinking
  • Reinforce understanding of maths using ‘hands-on’ diagrams and models
  • Follow Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract sequence of learning to introduce new concepts
  • Use Thinking Aloud teaching to scaffold problem solving – narrate the thought process
  • Other specific classroom strategies are listed in Identifying and Supporting Pupils with maths difficulties tracking document – pages 12 to 21, free to access
  • Opportunities to consolidate learning through use of concrete resources such as manipulatives, place value grids, pictorial supports such as pizzas/cakes
  • Provide visuals such as times table grids, number lines, and number square

Cognitive barriers to learning - (Executive Function) Working Memory

Working memory is crucial for developing fluent literacy and numeracy skills, organisation and following instructions.

Children and young people may have difficulty with:

  • remaining focused on the task and/or appear not to listen effectively
  • keeping up with the pace of whole class teaching and learning
  • remembering instructions
  • managing multi-step tasks and problem solving
  • copying from a worksheet or the board
  • understanding and/or retaining verbal information
  • understanding and/or retaining written information
  • organising tasks such as time keeping, homework, equipment
  • making academic progress
  • keeping their place in tasks
  • being motivated to learn
Tools for identification of need

Working memory – what can help

  • Recognise, repeat, reduce. Recognise the pressure on working memory, repeat key information in the same way, reduce pressure on working memory
  • Pre-teaching and revisiting of key information and new topics
  • Make explicit links to prior learning by ‘thinking aloud’ and modelling how to ‘open the right box’ in the working memory
  • Hands on practical learning opportunities movement and rhyme, discussion and structured talk
  • Practical demonstrations rather than explanations
  • Visual aids such as colour, highlighting, pictures, videos, checklists, flow charts, boxes,  ask steps, now and next boards, white boards, post-its with key words, key word and sentence starter key rings, print outs of information on the board

Cognitive barriers to learning - speed of processing

Processing speed is the pace at which you take in information, make sense of it and begin to respond. This information can be visual, such as letters and numbers. It can also be auditory, such as spoken language.

Children and young people may:

  • take significantly longer than peers to start and complete tasks
  • appear to forget information or instructions
  • seem easily distracted
  • give up easily and appear frustrated with learning and lack confidence
Tools for identification of need

Hertfordshire Processing Speed Checklist – all ages, free to access

Speed of Processing – what can help

  • A calm quiet environment when giving instruction
  • Give time to process any information that is given either orally or in written form
  • Give extra time to complete tasks – this may include to think and recall to answer a question, formulate a sentence, recall sounds for spelling, retrieve sounds for reading. It is also important to be aware that the children and young people may find tasks more tiring than other pupils
  • Chunk information
  • Accompany talk with demonstration where possible

More information

See our Cognition and Learning – How can I find out more? page for assessments, learning strategies, provisions and suggested training.

Last reviewed: April 10, 2024 by Sophie

Next review due: October 10, 2024

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