Crick Software blog

Katie Fitch

The ‘five-a-day’ principle

22nd March 2022

The Education Endowment Foundation’s SEND Specialist Gary Aubin explores how teachers can support pupils with SEND in their daily practice.

Meeting the range of needs presented by a class of children is undoubtedly a challenging task. However, research suggests that there are approaches which teachers can employ to support learning and improve outcomes for all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs.

The evidence which informed the EEF’s ‘Special Education Needs in Mainstream Schools’ guidance report indicated that there are five particular approaches that can be integrated into day-to-day teaching. These practices aim to raise attainment among children with additional needs, as well as their classmates.

Best of all, this ‘five-a-day’ is already part of most teachers’ practice (or can be relatively easily added), meaning that small tweaks could make a significant positive difference for the pupils you teach:


SENDCos have a specialised knowledge of the steps practitioners can take to support pupils with additional needs. They know the areas where their school excels in this regard, as well as what the evidence suggests in terms of making purposeful improvements. But how can SENDCos take their own knowledge and ensure it meaningfully impacts teachers’ practice in classrooms?

More so than ever, teachers are juggling numerous competing priorities – some old and some brought on by the pandemic. As a result, exploring evidence relating to supporting students with SEND might understandably fall down their lengthy to-do lists.

Fortunately, the best available research indicates that gains can be made for pupils with SEND without an overhaul of existing practice. The ‘five-a-day’ strategies highlighted by the EEF are likely to be familiar to teachers already and are particularly well-evidenced as having a positive impact.

The EEF recommends that teachers develop a repertoire of these strategies, which they can use daily and flexibly in response to individual needs, using them as the starting point for classroom teaching for all pupils, including those with SEND.

Here’s what the five strategies involve:


More information

  • Share the EEF’s ‘five-a-day’ poster with staff to ensure there is a shared understanding of these strategies and what they entail.

  • Visit the EEF blog for an overview of the ‘five-a-day’ approach.

  • Explore the guidance report in full, including case studies and implementation examples for each of the ‘five-a-day’ strategies.
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