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Frequently asked questions - Graduated approach to Inclusion - SENCO Guide


  • GATI - Graduated response to Inclusion documents
  • Part 1 - The assess document
  • Part 2 - The plan and review document
  • Pupil - child or young person of primary or secondary age


1. Do all schools have to use the GATI?

The GATI is guidance that supports the ongoing implantation of the Code of Practice in our local area.

The responsibility of all schools is to pay regard to the GATI. This means that school staff must be aware of each document and be prepared to use them where necessary.

The GATI documents are designed to facilitate planning with the pupil at the centre and it is anticipated that schools will use the aspects of the guidance that are most relevant for each individual pupil.

2. Are families entitled to each aspect outlined in a given provision bank?

The GATI is designed to assess needs at an individual level (person-centred), the 'Assess' document will help define needs which can be matched with elements of a provision in the 'Plan and Review' document. Because pupils' needs are different not every element of the provision will be applicable to every pupil.

It is not expected that the GATI documents will be used as either a passport or barrier to specific provision but rather a tool to support appropriate assessment and planning.

Pilot work has shown that good communication links from the earliest stage with families helps to develop an understanding of this person-centred approach.

3. Why is the GATI not a more accessible document?

This point is addressed in the 'Assess' document under the section 'Introduction for Parents and Carers'.

As a result of feedback, information for parents and carers will be developed in phase two of the development process. This will be a partnership piece of work which will be informed by the experience of those using the documents.

5. When is this document best used with a family?

Please see question 2.

6. How will the documents be published?

These documents will be published in Word and as PDF files on the local offer.

7. Is this document just another layer of paperwork?

Please see question 1. The GATI documents are tools to be used to support schools' current systems for assessment, planning and review. Through an ongoing cycle of practice review, the intention is that these documents reduce paperwork.

The GATI documents also form part of our statutory duty as a local area (4.32).

8. Will this document become a threshold for or barrier to accessing a service?

Please see question 2.

However, services may well refer schools to the document should a request for involvement not sufficiently evidence a graduated approach.

9. When will this document be reviewed?

Comments will be collected on an ongoing basis, the evaluation form used for Joint SENCO briefings will be amended to facilitate this. A formal review scheduled for the 2022/2023 academic year.

10, Can it be clearer when a referral to an outside agency would be appropriate?

The GATI documents will support a referral to an outside agency by providing evidence of a graduated approach. However, the decision to make such a request will be made based on individual needs.

Feedback from schools indicates that triage at the termly planning and consultation meeting is helpful to SENCOs in making decisions regarding potential requests for involvement. The GATI documents would support decision making at this forum.

11. The code of practice sections in the 'Plan and Review' document refer to the involvement of outside agencies at different stages of the graduated approach. Why is this?

Each section makes reference to the different multi-agency framework relevant to the specific area of need. Because the professionals involved vary according to the area of need, the point at which services may become involved also varies.

12. Who should complete the GATI the first instance? Can it be the class teacher or does it have to be the SENCO?

It is up to the SENCO to decide the most appropriate member of staff to complete the document. This can be the SENCO, the class teacher or another appropriate member of staff. However, the SENCO must retain oversight of the process.

13. Can the checklists be used in meetings with other agencies?

Yes. The purpose of the checklists is to support and structure conversations. This can be as part of a wider meeting, directly with a family or as guidance for planning CPD for staff.

14. What is the purpose of the 'Record Assessments' section?

The 'Record Assessments' section provides an opportunity for any work done with a pupil to be captured 'at a glance' in one place. This should support the identification of gaps in involvement.

15. Is the 'Record Assessments' section to be used as a chronology?

A key function of the 'Record Assessments' section is to capture a chronology of involvement 'at a glance'.

16. Where did the "statements" for a specific area of needs (SEND INDICATOR SECTION) come from?

Statements in each 'SEND Indicator' section were initially written by professionals in Devon County Council. Specialist teams relating to each area of the Code in Plymouth City Council have updated them further. Through consultation, SENCOs and other professionals across health and care have continued the process of refinement.

17. How often should the SEND indicators section be completed?

The SENCO will use their professional judgement. Updating the SEND indicators section should be done in line with an assess, plan, do, review cycle. For some pupils updates will be more regular than others, it will depend on individual needs and circumstances.

18. How is specialist defined?

Provision over and above that outlined in the targeted.

'Specialist provision' describes the provision that would not normally be met from within a school's delegated resources for SEND. However, 'Specialist provision' is not just limited to children with an EHCP and also cross-references groups including pupils with statutory plans who are also classed as a 'child in need' or subject to a 'child protection plan' or who are LAC.

An example of specialist provision includes resourcing from providers to meet specific needs off-site for a fixed period of time.

19. Do the documents need to be completed for every student?

The SENCO will use their professional judgement. The document does not need to be completed for all students. The documents are designed to support assess, plan, do review cycles where a clear pathway is not apparent. In addition, the documents are also designed to support situations where communication with a family may benefit from additional structure.

20. To what extent is the targeted intervention for the same need, different/additional? Is this different between Primary and Secondary phases?

Provision outlined in the targeted section is different from the universal section because it requires individual planning in greater detail.

There will be operational differences between primary and secondary schools, however, this will match the developmental levels of individual children.

21. How relevant are the SEND indicators for cognition and learning (p23 & 24) for older children, e.g. a Year 6 child would quite easily tick "frequently" but still be at least 3 years below ARE.

The SEND indicators are designed to support an assessment of a pupil's skills at a particular point in time. The relevance of each SEND indicator will depend on both the pupil's age and their developmental needs.

22, SEN Indicators - Cognition and Learning. This would not apply to all children, as the statements could be too high for EYFS, or too low for Y5/Y6 and KS3.

There is a separate EYFS document which contains SEND indicators which are relevant to the EYFS phase.

Mainstream schools are expected to provide support for pupils working significantly below age-related expectations meaning that the descriptions could be relevant to pupils in KS2, 3 or 4 depending on the developmental stage of a pupil.

23. There will be disparities - one school's targeted response will be another's specialist provision.

Practice across Plymouth schools should be consistent. Whilst support may be designed differently, a pupil should not be disadvantaged as a result of attending a particular school. Systems, such as the SEN Audit, are in place to evaluate city-wide provision on an on-going basis.

24. Which children are the documents meant for? Universal provision suggests all children who are giving cause for concern, but then it later suggests children who "will" be working with additional agencies.

See question 19.

25. Access to standardised testing is not across all schools. It would be good to have specific recommended tests/screens we should be doing so it is consistent and fair.

This is not within the scope of the document. SENCOs will need to use their professional judgement and access relevant support networks.


Suggested amendments

1. Can the documents be combined?

The documents will be located on the SENCO guide and structured in such a way that they are easy to access. The consensus at consultation meetings was to continue with two documents subject to review based on user feedback.

2. It would be useful to have exemplars to show what is expected at each level, e.g. is "explicit modelling of rules of social interaction" the occasional advice from a class teacher about how to interact?

SENCOs will use their professional judgement when implementing strategies from the provision banks in the 'Plan and Review' document; this will include seeking further advice in order to ensure that strategies are implemented in a way that meets the needs of individual pupils.

3. In the Quick Checker - letters could be added against each concern, so the Quick Checker summary would be easier to fill e.g. concern CL around a, c, e etc.

Individual practitioners are able to adapt the functionality of aspects of the document should they see fit to do so. All aspects of the document will be subject to review based on user feedback.

4. Can there be a step to record what has been tried so far in class (strategies and length of time)?

This information should be held as part of the assess, plan, do, review cycle. SENCOs will use their professional judgement as to how and where this is recorded.

5. The quick checker would be better with a numerical scale or a RAG rating

Individual practitioners are able to adapt the functionality of aspects of the document should they see fit to do so. All aspects of the document will be subject to review based on user feedback.

6. Can a summary report be generated once the document is completed?

This is not currently within the functionality of the document. However, this could be considered as future development.


Systems integration

1. How will the GATI documents support an EHC proposal?

The GATI documents will demonstrate the impact of assessment through intervention over time. This will provide evidence of the level and enduring quality of the pupil's need.

2. Can the GATI documents be used to support a referral to external agencies?

Yes. The documents can be provided as supporting evidence.

3. How do the GATI documents link with the EHAT process?

The GATI document will contribute to the assessment of the pupil within the context of their family and educational setting.

4. Are these 'school-based' documents or will they also replace some of the external paperwork for referral, for example, CIT/CDC/EP?

The GATI documents should be in use prior to a referral or request for involvement. The GATI will form part of the evidence gathering. The GATI can be used as an information-sharing tool when an external agency becomes involved. Therefore the GATI documents do not replace referral forms for specific agencies.

5. How do the checklists fit in with the checklists we already have to complete for speech and language and CIT referrals?

See question 4.

The CIT checklist was compiled with the CDC and CAMHS, all services use this format and this provision is at the 'specialist' level.

The GATI will form part of the evidence gathering at targeted and universal levels. The GATI document can be submitted as part of a request for involvement.

6. Could the documents be on the Portal to feed into EHATs/EHCP requests etc?

See question 6 in the 'questions' section. The GATI documents can be uploaded to the portal if required.



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