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What is universal, targeted and specialist support?

Universal, targeted, and specialist are terms applied to services available for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Universal support

These are services that all families can expect to access without needing any extra SEND resources. Universal services are expected to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate children/young people with SEND.

Examples include developing vocabulary, supporting behavioural feeding difficulties, and providing advice and promotion of environments required to support education and health needs.

Targeted support

Targeted support is additional, focused support for students who need more help meeting learning objectives. It may include small group intervention, extra staff assistance, assistive technology, social skills groups, and other tailored provisions based on the child's needs.

Specialist support:

Specialist support is intensive, individualised support for students with more complex learning needs. It involves assessments and direct work with specialists like educational psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and others. Specialist support also includes the creation of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which outlines learning objectives and appropriate provisions.

Specialist services are those that families may require following individual assessments and referrals by specialists. Typically, they will be long-term and for children with complex needs.



Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:

 Plymouth Local Offer homepage



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