Download an example of a SEND support plan template

What a SEND Support Plan is

A support plan:

  • involves parents and the child or young person at the earliest stage
  • has information about a child's needs
  • sets out the support they're getting 
  • describes the outcomes that are expected as a result of the support
  • reflects the four-stage cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review (see section two)

You can use a support plan for children and young people who have identified special educational needs or disabilities, and get SEN Support in their education setting. It helps to coordinate support if there are a number of professionals involved. 

What's in a Support Plan

The support plan has four sections. Parents, the child or young person, school staff and other professionals can all add information to it. 

Depending on the child's needs, age and stage they're at in education, a support plan can be personalised. What's included and the formats used in a support plan will be different across schools and colleges. 

Usually, the plan will include:

  • the pupil's strengths
  • the pupil's identified special educational needs
  • the agreed outcomes that the SEND support should achieve for the pupil
  • actions towards achieving those outcomes
  • who's accountable 
  • when the plan will be reviewed
What SEND support is

Special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) support is help for pupils with SEND that's different to or in addition to what's offered to all the pupils.

The school will:

  • identify that the pupil has a special educational need or disability
  • note the special educational need or disability in their records
  • tell parents or carers that their child will get SEND support
  • check that they've put the right support in place

To do this, the school uses the Graduated Approach.

The Graduated Approach

The Graduated Approach has four parts.


The school:

  • finds out what the child's needs are
  • listens to the child's views 
  • listens to the parents' or carers' views
  • may ask for advice from other specialist support services


The teacher and special educational needs coordinator (SENCO):

  • plan how to support the child
  • consider what outcomes they want to achieve
  • involve the child and their parents
  • agree a review date



  • helps the class teacher support the child
  • makes sure the planned support is in place
  • assesses how helpful the support is 


Schools should meet with parents or carers of children with SEND support at least three times a year. In a review, everybody talks about how effective they think the support has been. 

Then the school:

  • may change the support to match the child's needs. 
  • updates the SEN Support plan 
If the child isn't making good progress

The school may:

  • contact a specialist 
  • make sure parents or carers are involved in the decision to contact a specialist

If the child doesn't make progress with SEND support, the school and parents may consider asking for a needs assessment for an EHC plan.

Provision maps

Schools sometimes use 'Provision maps' to give an overview of any support that's different to or in addition to what's offered to all the pupils.


  • maps out what interventions or support systems the school has in place to meet the needs of pupils with SEND
  • helps the SENCO monitor the range of support on offer across the school
  • shows what an individual pupil gets

Paragraph 6.76 of the SEND Code of Practice recommends using a provision map to give an overview of the interventions used for different groups of pupils. 

Template provision maps

We've made template provision maps for schools and individuals:

Relationship and belonging approach

The relationship and belonging approach is intended to support education settings. It aims to help education settings:

  • develop relationship-based approaches to behaviour
  • use best practice to make sure all children and young people feel that they belong in education

The pdf relationship and belonging document (2.16 MB)  explores some models and inclusive approaches that look at the impacts of trauma, and work towards addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can affect life chances.

Assessing SEND in Bristol Schools

The pdf assessing SEND in Bristol Schools guidance (391 KB)  can be used by teachers and SENDCOs. It explains assessment tools which can be used with pupils with SEND: 

  • to identify their needs 
  • to monitor their progress over time  

It's designed to complement the assessment systems that education settings already have for all pupils. 

The guidance includes: 

  • education settings' responsibilities to identify and assess SEND
  • different types of assessment and when they should be used
  • assessment tools that can be used for the 4 areas of SEND  as well as Preparation for Adulthood 
Supporting children and young people from Black and Minoritised Communities

The  pdf SEND Guidance: Supporting children and young people from Black and Minoritised Communities (1.14 MB) aims to support educational settings in Bristol to understand what they need to consider when working with children and young people (CYP) from Black and Minoritised Communities with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The guidance is based on discussions with parent carers of CYP with SEND from Black and Minoritised Communities in the city and includes:

  • statistics about SEND in Black and Minoritised Communities in Bristol
  • the experiences of families from Black and Minoritised Communities
  • implementing the graduated response
  • effective communication with parent carers
  • inclusive settings which understand and welcome CYP and families from Black and Minoritised Communities
  • support for parent carers

The guidance also includes a document setting self-evaluation form (20 KB) .