Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

I am worried about my child’s learning and development (Graduated Response)

We have been working hard to improve information about the Graduated Response on the SEND Local OfferLocal OfferA local authority website resource that holds information on services and provision for children and young people with SEN and disabilities across education, health and social care and leisure., and to support its implementation across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. In the summer of 2022 and 2023, we conducted surveys on the Graduated Response, to better understand the experiences of our local families, and we have used the results to carry out positive changes. We are pleased to report that parents and carers feel that the delivery of the “assess, plan, do and review” cycle has improved since 2022.

Find out more about the improvements we have made.

What to do first

All children and young people learn at different rates and are better at some things than they are at others, but if you have any worries about your child at nursery, school or college, the first step is to talk to your child’s teacher or key worker.

0 to 5 years

Where a baby or toddler appears to be behind expected levels, or where progress is causing you concern, then parents should access support and advice from their health visitor. Health visitors can be accessed through the baby or toddler’s GP surgery, or by phoning or dropping in at the baby or toddler’s health centre or clinic, or by contacting your local health visiting team.

School age children and post 16

If you are still concerned after talking to your child's teacher, you may also like to talk to the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO), who is the person responsible in a school or setting for helping to make sure that the needs of children and young people with SEND are met. Sometimes a SENCOSENCOThe SENCO is responsible for coordinating provision for pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Those are children or young people who need more help than is normally available to pupils of the same age. is called a SENDCO or Inclusion Lead. They are not responsible for teaching your child, but will discuss any concerns with you about your child and what support is already in place and advise what should happen next. Most children can get the help they need at the ‘universal level’ of support, through high quality teaching and by making ‘reasonable adjustments’. This is sometimes called ordinarily available provision.

If you wish to view  SEND local offer information for your child's school please visit the individual school record.

If your child is 14 years and above you can find further information on the preparing for adulthood pages.


Children not in a setting, or school environment

If your child is not in a setting you may wish to talk to SENDisass4BCP, or one of our local parent carer groups.

For further areas of support please  see 'Where can I go for further information'

If your child is home educated (EHE) and you have concerns about their learning and development please email: They will advise on what the next steps might be and can offer a home visit to discuss your individual circumstances, working with you to identify the best route forward for your child's specific educational needs. While the team are very experienced in working with EHE families, they are not specialists in each type and manifestation of special educational need so it is  recommended that you seek appropriate medical, or paediatric advice and guidance.

To help you with any terminology or abbreviation please see our SEND abbreviations and terms page.

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