Provision Maps: A teacher's guide

Paul Main

How can schools use a provision map to ensure they deliver an accessible curriculum for everyone?

What is a provision map?

A provision map is a way to show and document the types of interventions, support and additional staffing offered to the learners at an educational setting that is different from and additional to the ones offered via the school’s differentiated curriculum. These tools offer key staff an insight into the provision and an overview of the children who need extra support. It is a challenge for senior staff to keep tabs on what interventions are being facilitated to ensure inclusion across the curriculum. These devices don't need to be complex, a simple provision map template similar to a timetable can ensure suitable levels of provision across the school. 

Provision maps allow schools to look strategically at their pupils' needs, including inclusive education for those belonging to underprivileged groups, to identify their needs and strengths. Then it can be made possible to plan provisions to fulfil their needs and to track individual pupils progress to enhance learning outcomes. Any additional funding coming into school has to be accounted for and these types of mechanisms can also act as an accountability measure.

A provision map ensures the entitlement of each student and increases standards and achievement. An effective provision of resources shows a clear connection between current provision and student progress. Provision maps may also involve each of the key staff and can be vital to the whole-school planning and development process.

What are the uses of provision maps?

Schools can use provision maps in several ways to support and inform their improvement plan. Usually, in the form of a piece of software, they provide teachers with a way of managing the key resources. Their uses can include:

  • Storing key information about pupils in multiple formats including detailed reports or one-page-profiles;
  • Examining how successfully current provision (skills, intervention and resources) matches needs;
  • Accurate delivery of provision;
  • Assessment of gaps in provision;
  • Pointing out inappropriate or repetitive use of/ overlaps in provision;
  • Evaluating value for money and school effectiveness in terms of students outcomes;
  • Ensuring age-appropriate interventions and progression;
  • Planning integral developments to fulfil students’ identified needs;
  • Setting yearly criteria for success for the school’s special educational needs and disabilities policy;
  • Demonstrating accountability;
  • Documenting any change in provision;
  • For creating individual plans;
  • Highlighting whole-school issues of learning and teaching; and
  • Informing external agencies and parents of children about the children's progress.
Provision Map in a Nursery


What are the different types of provision maps?

Provision maps can document the variety of additional support, staffing and provision. They can be drawn up according to:

  • Key Stage, Year group or Class base;
  • SEND, Whole-school inclusion or Additional needs;
  • Cost per provision or cost per child, either annually or termly;
  • Four main areas of need or the SEN code of practice;
  • Additional interventions to support an individual child to fulfil age-related expectations or beyond;
  • Other personalised interventions;
  • A mixture of any of the above.

Provision mapping includes the full spectrum of provision, taking into account a superior whole class teaching, supervised and group work and personalized interventions to identify and remove potential difficulties in learning and meeting the needs of all children inside and beyond the school setting.


What are the steps of creating a provision map?

An effective provision map includes the following six steps:

Step 1. Investigate the projected needs of the school: At this stage, the school will audit and document the current provision and identify the allocated range of resources. This can be done for a specific vulnerable cohort, for a specific group or each child under a class base, key stage or year group. The school will collect information from students, teachers, parents and other supporting entities to identify and evaluate the target groups. Their requirements can be categorized on a must/could/ should help basis.

Step 2. Comparison of the school's current provision with the projected needs and identification of staff development needs: Comparison of current provision with the projected needs might highlight specific areas of concern; for instance, a specific class or group of students at special schools. Also, it may raise awareness of a specific group that is not as well supported as others. After identifying specific areas or groups of concern, it is possible to address the specific staff training needs: Staff development planning will involve:

  • Training for teachers or teaching assistants or both;
  • Training needs identification from the provision map;
  • Tailoring the whole school continuing professional development in presence of adequate funding resources;
  • Year group, key stage or class requirements.

Individual provision map
Individual provision map

Step 3. Identification of the available resources: Assessment of the available catch-up funding to check whether the school may use funding streams to supply provision to the entire school.

Step 4. Planning the provision map for the upcoming year after reviewing the evidence of what worked: Review effectiveness of interventions.

Step 5. Identification of the processes and criteria for monitoring and tracking pupils’ progress:

Analyzing the current provision in place and whether the tracking protocol measures both large and small steps in provision management progress.

Step 6. Creating systems to analyze the effectiveness of provision: It is suggested to consider questions like:

  • How did you check the effectiveness of the provision you have planned?
  • How did you assess the quality of current provision for primary/ secondary/ pre school children?
  • How do you carry out the evaluation of the additional funding for provision from the beginning?
  • How did you involve a team of teachers / pupils/ carers of children/ parents of children in the evaluation of additional provision?

Provision Mapping Software
Provision Mapping Software

What can be done to increase the effectiveness of a provision map?

To increase the effectiveness of provision map writer, a school needs to:

  1. Audit the provision involving each intervention that is different from and additional to the differentiated curriculum within the school. It is beneficial to cover the following four levels of provision for pupils for the specific areas of need in an individual provision map:
  • Learning and Cognition;
  • Interaction and Communication;
  • Social, Mental and Emotional Health; and
  • Physical & Sensory.
  1. A provision map writer must set targets and obtain baseline data to track the progress of provision management;
  2. Deciding on the most useful way to arrange interventions such as training for teachers and to measure the progress; and
  3. A provision map writer must analyze outcomes and take strategic decisions on the appropriateness and effectiveness of funding streams/ additional provision/ intervention.

A provision map provides a great way to express and document the types of interventions, support and additional staffing offered to the pupils at an educational setting, that is different from and additional to the ones already delivered via the school’s differentiated curriculum. Provision maps helps schools to look strategically at their learners' specific needs, including inclusive education for those belonging to underprivileged groups, to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Schools may create a new provision map document or they may use a provision mapping tool such as an online/ free /paid provision map template designed to help provision map writers with the provision management in an educational setting. Considering the school staff workload, schools may decide to use a blank provision map / template provision map / provision mapping software for schools, that would be used by the independent education consultant or a key staff to show what has been done and what is still needs to be done at an educational setting.