Outcomes, outputs and impact: Understanding the difference in the SEND system

These resources have been produced to help practitioners and parent carers to have a shared understanding of outcomes, outputs, and impact.

Outcomes Explainers for professionals and parent carers

The Children and Families Act 2014 recognises that an explicit focus on outcomes is needed to ensure that children and young people with SEND live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. However, there is still some confusion around the use of the word outcome by both professionals and parent carers. We intend these documents to shed light on the importance of outcomes and how well written outcomes can impact the lives of children and young people with SEND positively.

There are two different explainers included on this page. One is intended aimed at professionals who need clarification on the differences between outcomes, outputs and impact at the strategic level. The other document is aimed specifically at parent carers who might be confused about the word "outcome" as it can be used in different ways and this resource is to help them understand what we mean when we talk about outcomes, and what good ones look like. 


For professionals

The outcomes explainer for professionals aimed more at understanding the strategic level than the individual and covers differences between outcomes, outputs and impacts; strategic, operational and individual outcomes and; explaines the relationship between them through real-life examples.


For parent carers

The outcomes explainer for parent carers on the other hand highlights the importance of outcomes while defining them using case studies. In addition, the explainer touches on the transition from aspirations to outcomes and how professionals (should) use holistic approaches the achieve the outcomes.