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Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS)

The Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS) include Specialist Teachers and Outreach from Special Schools. The STLS provide advice and training to support settings and schools in improving the outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The STLS is responsive and flexible to local needs through the opportunities for discussion and the decision making at the Local Inclusion Forum Team meetings. Specialist assessment for children and young people can be provided and interventions modelled at the targeted and individualised levels of support.

Our vision is to:

  • raise standards
  • close attainment gaps and improve children's progress
  • prevent exclusion
  • build Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) capacity in Early Years (EY) settings and schools
  • reduce the need for statutory assessment and Education, Health and Care Plans
  • ensure full access to learning for all the children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in our EY settings and schools.

Services to Children in Early Years
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STLS support for children with SEND within this age range is carried out through home visits or visits to Day Nurseries and Pre-school provisions. Referrals are received via the EY Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT) Meeting .

Requests for Specialist Teacher advice and intervention are made via the EY LIFT Meetings that are held every two weeks. Each setting has been allocated to an EY LIFT group which meets termly. The EY LIFT will allocate appropriate support.

To request STLS support, please use the EY LIFT Referral form (DOCX, 132.9 KB) along with the Agreement to engage form EY LIFT (DOC, 73.0 KB)

There should be evidence that Learning and Development activities have been appropriately differentiated to include children with SEND.

For children with more complex needs who are receiving Portage home visits, teachers will liaise at point of transition and support the Early Years Practitioner to ensure that the move to an Early Years setting meets the needs of the child.

For children who are receiving Early Support, the Specialist Teacher is invited to attend Team Around the Child meetings when a transition to setting or school is being considered. At this time, there is close working between Specialist Nurse Advisors, Health teams and the Early Support Keyworker.

For information on the Special Education Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) for Early Years, please refer to the SENIF page.

For sensory impairment, requests for specialist intervention should be made direct to the County Coordinators for hearing impairment or visual impairment using the PCI 1S and 2S form (DOCX, 145.3 KB).

STLS Services to Schools
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The main route for schools to access SEND support is the District LIFT meetings. Support at the LIFT meeting is provided by a range of professionals including the Educational Psychology Service, District Coordinator, Special School Outreach Managers and Specialist Teachers. Schools are required to attend the LIFT meetings to discuss a range of support, including schools supporting each other and sharing good practice.

LIFT meetings are held on a regular basis, typically 6 times a year but Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO) can attend at any time if the issue is urgent. The LIFT meetings discuss pupil's learning needs, support schools to meet the Mainstream Core Standards for All Learners; and agree the best ways forward to support the school and the pupils to make better progress. The LIFT meeting provides the opportunity to request specialist intervention and supports the statutory assessment processes.

Specialist Training
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The Specialist Teaching and Learning Services provide a consistent and equitable core training offer to pre-school settings and schools covering:

  • support and advice around individual children and young people
  • training packages that arise from LIFT
  • STLS core training offer (DOC, 89.5 KB) to support the universal level
  • training Courses at the Targeted or Personalised level
  • bespoke training for low incidence SEND
  • training provided with national framework.

Strategies for Special Education Needs and Disability
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High quality teaching is fundamentally important to the achievement and life chances of every child.

It is the responsibility of schools to provide good teaching for all pupils. It is particularly important that pupils that have most difficulty with their learning are taught by good quality teachers.

The Best Practice Guidance for the Early Years outlines approaches and strategies that will support the inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The links on this page will give more information to support settings and schools.

Support and advice for parents can be found on the Kent County Council website