Why map provision?

Since September 2012 there has been a legal requirement for schools to publish information about their pupil premium spending:

” The amount of the school’s allocation from the Pupil Premium grant in respect of the current academic year; details of how it is intended that the allocation will be spent; details of how the previous academic year’s allocation was spent, and the effect of this expenditure on the educational attainment of those pupils at the school in respect of whom grant funding was allocated.”  The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

Provision mapping provides an ideal tool to collate exactly how the Pupil Premium has been spent in intervention areas, the pupils & staff involved and the outcome of the expenditure.

provision mapping diagram

In response to the revised  Ofsted’s framework and the renewed focus on teaching, schools need to be in a position to demonstrate  a broad range of strategies, interventions or approaches by which all students receive their entitlement to a broad, balanced differentiated curriculum. The White Paper (2009) – Your child, your school, our future reminds us ‘that having Special Educational Needs Difficulties and or Disabilities remains strongly linked to poor outcomes and low educational achievement.’ It is vitally important that schools then moderate and evaluate the processes they identify to raise attainment and improve outcomes of this cohort of students.

Under the Education Act there is also a requirement to “Ensure that where a pupil has special educational needs, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach him”, this can be achieved through the use of IEPs or provision maps.

During 2013 – 2014 it is anticipated that the national policy context within which SENCos carry out their roles will change to reflect Government priorities outlined in Support and Aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability (Green Paper March 2011). Possible future legislation may require schools to publish their provision for students with SEND including the curriculum on offer, the role of teacher assessment, and pastoral support for students and their families. There continues to be an acknowledgement that in many settings the identifying and tracking the progress of students with SEND to date has been underdeveloped. Provision planning and management have key roles therefore in ensuring that all children have equal access to appropriate provisions and intervention programmes. It is a process which fundamentally provides evidence of a school’s capacity to critically analyse and respond to the diverse and changing needs of its most vulnerable groups and as a model can be adapted to analyse the impact of provision on other key co horts e.g. for those with EAL (English as an Additional Language), LAC  (Looked – after Children ) and those who are more able (Gifted  & Talented ).

Lack of literature and research in this field however and the pace of change with regards to these processes has meant that schools have often found undertaking a commitment to Provision Mapping daunting however ‘in house systems’ or comprehensive ICT based software can deliver so that SENCos are supported in their role in monitoring, tracking, evaluating inclusive practice and making key judgements about the effectiveness of provision. The impact of e versions of Provision Mapping, one could also argue, may prove more attractive, relevant, motivational and accessible to some of our 21 st Century, but essentially ‘harder to reach’ learners.

Provision Management demonstrates the school’s response to how the needs of a particular co hort / group of students is addressed, monitored and reviewed and is a clear communication system for enabling all key stakeholders access to important information in a transparent, up to date, fit for purpose format. Consider this alongside The Department for Education plans to implement the requirements of the Lamb Enquiry: Special educational needs and parental confidence which identified the drive for a more consumer focused and more personalised approach to the provision, emphasising ‘parents should be able to access the information that they need, when they need it, in ways that are convenient to them’ (2009: 3). Settings which invest in a user friendly Provision Management system may witness parents/ carers / guardians of students with SEND who more readily engage with the work of the school so they are  valued partners with a genuine role to play in evaluating support mechanisms / interventions, commenting on and /or contributing to next steps.

In ‘personalising learning’ the role of the staff and school leaders is to balance the demands of the curriculum, the work of the teacher and the role of the individual learner. The aim is to ensure a programme where each student experiences success and is able to progress. With a strong, accessible, workable Provision Mapping system in place the SENCO is ideally placed to advise on the purposes, principles and possibilities surrounding the curriculum and effect change so that the student’s curriculum experience is upgraded if you will from the ‘set meal ‘to the ‘a la carte menu. ‘

Consider good practice advocated by the ‘Achievement for Allpilot schools where ‘in depth’ teacher – parent discussions focus on how to maximise learning whilst the ensuing dialogue actively promotes and effectively captures ‘student voice’. In this context then Provision Maps can be perceived as being a good ‘starter activity’ in stimulating and developing conversations about learning.

If we are serious about delivering improved attainment for such students then adopting this way of working is key to school improvement and self evaluation in determining not what the school does for SEND but what SEND does for the school. When the process is effective and undertaken on a regular basis on a parallel with school improvement planning it enables schools to optimise the use of their SEND budgets and human resources

As with any ‘journey’ there are a number of factors which will facilitate ‘safe passage’ or leave you ‘on the road to nowhere’! – this is also true when we consider our approach to mapping provision. So we have a:

  • Starting Point – these are those students who are not making progress in spite of their being recipients of the Quality First Teaching Model / Ordinary Differentiated Curriculum
  • A Route – which will  identify an economical range of ‘time limited’ interventions as we need to be mindful of cost and accountability.
  • A Destination – which we can interpret as success or impact criteria. We have identified in advance where we want to be for so we know when we have arrived!

Equally importantly is to stress what it is not i.e. it is not a grid or a table with information in it, it is not a narrative or a script, it is not  a list of interventions with personnel attached.

Provision Mapping is an essential tool in demonstrating the effectiveness and flexibility of what the school is doing to accommodate the diverse needs of its students. It is vital as a mechanism for promoting a wide range of teaching and learning strategies. Schools therefore, need, as a priority to ensure that their interpretation of the quality first teaching model is understood and executed by all staff (teaching and support). Crucially, as this model is funded by all stakeholders it must be seen to be cost effective to be successful whilst the information generated can, at a glance and in a variety of ways be made accessible to a range of audiences e.g. trainees, newly qualified teachers, supply staff, and cover supervisors and scrutinised by Senior Management Teams, Local Authority Advisors, Governors and Ofsted Inspectors- as the school identifies what it offers students with SEND and how successful ( or not ) it is in raising their achievements.

Our Provision Mapping Software can facilitate schools in showcasing the provision on offer & Pupil Premium spending & effectiveness. It can better facilitate cross phase Key Stage 2 / 3 transition and generate reports which are readily accessible, consistent and streamlined. It has a role supporting schools in pinpointing individual underachievement in curriculum areas and can sit comfortably alongside any setting’s routine assessment and reporting and recording schedule. Such a system can be both versatile and flexible in providing an at glance ‘snapshot’ or more detailed’ running record of students’ achievements and areas for development. Provision Mapping addresses whole school strategic mechanisms which link to and build on the existing cycle of school improvement. It is the ultimate accountability measure in effectively identifying, shaping and evaluating the effectiveness and appropriateness of a range of interventions which are transparent, equitable and personalised to celebrate progress and champion the achievement of all.


More information

Humphrey, N., & Squires, G. (2011) Achievement for All- National Evaluation. Report No. DfE RR 123 London: Department of Education.

Ofsted – the framework for school inspection from September 2012

The Lamb Enquiry  (2009) Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence. Nottingham : DCSF Publications

DfES (2009) Your Child, Your Schools, Our Futurebuilding a 21st century school’s system .Cm  7588 .Norwich: TSO.

Support and Aspiration: A new approach to Special Educational Needs  March 2011

DFES Provision Mapping Guidance