Skip to main content

Identification of need and inclusive provision

Identification of needs descriptors in educational settings (INDES)

INDES are a framework of standardised terms, co-produced and facilitated by the Inclusion and SEND team, breaking down the broad areas of SEND into seven specific sections which describe need:

  • Physical disability (including physical and neurological impairment, medical, independence and sensory)
  • Deafness
  • Visual impairment
  • Speech and language
  • Social communication and interaction
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Learning and cognition difficulties (including behaviour for learning)

When identifying a child or young person's needs as part of the assess, plan, do, review process (SEND Code of Practice, 2015), professionals use statements within the above that best describe presentation of need from typically developing to complex. Inclusion and SEND have produced an INDES implementation guide to support settings in its use.

The INDES web form is available online.

An INDES data collation tool has been created to aid settings to collate information about a cohort of children and young people from a variety of sources before completing a web form.

See also the INDES guide to complete SLCN section, a table showing the four different factors considered within the speech language and communication needs (SLCN) descriptors.

The benefits for education settings:

The use of INDES means educational settings and all other SEND professionals in Norfolk use a common language and terms of reference which give an "at-a-glance" high context presentation of need.

This helps to quickly and clearly identify a child's needs so provision, Element 3 funding and services can be put in place more swiftly and all professionals have a clear view of the profile of need. The INDES also aid communications with parents and carers, and provide detail to aid census returns.

INDES also support education, health and care plan (EHCP) referrals and reviews for children and young people and can be used to support phase transfer or transitions as well as document a child's progress over time.

The benefits of INDES for county council:

Educational settings should use the INDES alongside the Inclusion and Provision SEF (IPSEF) so we can create a reliable and high-quality standardised set of data to help us:

  • Better plan the deployment of our services
  • Make effective and efficient budgetary decisions
  • Identify gaps in our services and in setting provision
  • Correctly contrast and compare areas
  • More quickly process funding requests to support educational settings
  • Help us measure our impact

It is recommended that INDES be reviewed at least annually for each child or young person with SEND on an educational setting's roll. The best time for this to take place is at review stages for those with EHCPs or on SEN Support lists at the discretion of education settings in agreement with children and their families.


We would recommend that education settings conduct their own internal and external moderation to ensure consistency across an organisation, trust or cluster. The Inclusion and SEND team will conduct moderation exercises throughout an academic year through an INDES Moderation Panel (IMP).

The INDES moderation panel is made up of professionals from education settings and NCC SEND and Inclusion teams. Please see the INDES Implementation guide for further detail regarding the INDES Moderation Panel.

Expressions of interest in joining the moderation panel will be considered - please contact the Inclusion and SEND team via the mailbox.