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Whole system perspective

Within the 2014 special educational needs/disability framework, there is a whole-system orientation around aspirations and outcomes, including:

Outcomes at different levels

Outcomes can benefit an individual as a result of an intervention at three levels:

  • Individual outcomes (eg listed in an individual’s EHC Plan);
  • Service level outcomes (eg outcomes for groups of local service users);
  • Strategic outcomes (eg local authority/national outcomes that can impact on policy).

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2015 (CoP), section 3.31)


'Partners should use their joint understanding to determine the shared outcomes they seek to achieve, drawing on national and local priorities. The local community should be aware both of what the shared outcomes are and the plan to achieve them (eg through the Local Offer).'

(CoP, section 3.33)


Strategies and provision should be reviewed at all levels with partners and service-users, and where necessary realigned, to ensure they enable children/young people with special educational needs/disabilities to achieve their desired outcomes.

People-centred planning

'Local authorities must place children, young people and families at the centre of their planning, and work with them to develop co-ordinated approaches to securing better outcomes, as should clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).


They should develop a shared vision and strategy which focuses on aspirations and outcomes, using information from EHC Plans and other planning to anticipate the needs of children/young people with special educational needs and ensure there are pathways into employment, independent living, participation in society and good health.


Where pathways need further development, local authorities and CCGs should set out clear responsibilities, timescales and funding arrangements for that work. 

This strategic planning will contribute to their:

  • Joint commissioning
  • Local offer, which must include support in preparing for adulthood (see paragraphs 4.52 to 4.56 in Chapter 4)
  • Preparation of EHC Plans and support for children and young people to achieve the outcomes in their plan.'

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2015, section 8.1)

Realising aspirations and outcomes

The local authority and service provider facilitation for children/young people with special educational needs/disabilities and their parents may take the following forms:

  • Confidential and impartial information, advice and support (eg through the local authority’s Information, Advice and Support Service);
  • Support in exercising choice and control;
  • Full participation in decisions about their desired outcomes;
  • Partnership working with young people;
  • Personal control (eg Personal Budgets);
  • Young person’s voice;
  • Advocacy support (eg for meetings, assessments, reviews, etc);
  • Support to access additional public and voluntary sector services;
  • Personal Budgets/Direct Payments where possible;
  • Help when things go wrong (eg disagreement resolution, mediation, appeals to the First Tier Tribunal);
  • Empowerment through parent carer support groups, local special educational needs youth forums or disability groups, or training events.

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice 2015, sections 2.15, 2.19; Care Act 2014, section 67)

Pathways for success

High aspirations are crucial to success.


Discussions about longer term goals should start early and ideally well before Year 9 (age 13-14) at school.


They should focus on the child's or young person’s strengths and capabilities and the outcomes they want to achieve.

To enable this:

  • Agencies and services should plan strategically for the support children/young people will need to prepare for adult life;
  • Early years providers, schools and colleges should enable children/young people to have the information and skills they need to help them gain independence and prepare for adult life;
  • Agencies, services and professionals can support children/young people and their families to plan to meet aspirations for the next stage of transition, especially post-16/post-18;
  • Post-16 institutions can design study programmes, pathways to employment;
  • Young people should be supported to make decisions for themselves;
  • Local authorities and Health Services should plan suitable packages of provision for children/young people with EHC Plans.

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2015, Chapter 8)

'Stretch' and progression

These quotes taken from Chapter 7 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice (2015) include representative principles which are also applicable to early years and other education providers:


'All students aged 16-19 (and students up to the age of 25 where they have an EHC Plan) should follow a coherent study programme which provides stretch and progression and enables them to achieve the best possible outcomes in adult life.'

'The effectiveness of the [SEN] support and its impact on the student's progress should be reviewed regularly, taking into account the student's progress and any changes to the student's own ambitions and aspirations, which may lead to changes in the type and level of their support.'


'The college and the student together should plan any changes in support. Colleges should revisit this cycle of action, refining and revising their decisions about support as they gain a richer understanding of the student, and what is most effective in helping them secure good outcomes. Support for all students with SEN should be kept under review, whether or not a student has an EHC Plan.'

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2015, sections 7.6, 7.19)

Entitlement and fulfilment

'All children and young people are entitled to an appropriate education, one that is appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards and the fulfilment of potential. This should enable them to:

  • 'Achieve their best;
  • 'Become confident individuals living fulfilling lives; and
  • 'Make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training.'

(0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2015 (CoP),
section 6.1)

All pupils should be enabled to make and maintain progress. However severe a pupil's difficulties, using the 'graduated approach' (CoP, sections 5.38, 6.44, 7.14) teachers can identify and trial evidence-based strategies and approaches linked to broad areas of need (CoP, sections 6.28-6.35).


The emphasis is upon enabling a pupil's progress towards what could be called '3-D' outcomes (short, medium and long term dimensions) by removing learning barriers and building learning bridges through 'SEN support' from the earliest years.


Reflect on this as you read Chapter 8 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice (2015).

Activity: 3-D outcomes

Consider the Council for Disabled Children's outcomes pyramid (2014).


Taking the idea of '3-D outcomes', consider the Education, Health and Care Plan outcomes relating to a child whom you work with. How could you increase the dimensionality of these outcomes? What implications could they have across the curriculum? How might the wording of the outcomes be tweaked to make them more creative in terms of the child's/young person's mid-term and long term aspirations?


Dip into Leading for Outcomes: Children and young people (Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services, 2012).

Find out more
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Legislation and guidance

Other publications

  • Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (2012) Leading for Outcomes: Children and young people. Glasgow: IRISS