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Local Inclusion Forum Teams (LIFT)

Accessing support from specialist teachers, school outreach staff and educational psychologists.

Early Years LIFT
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When pre-school settings identify concerns about learning issues in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), for an individual child or a group of children, they should first use the Best Practice Guidance to identify what can be done to support the child’s access to the Early Years curriculum from within the settings own resources.

If it is considered that additional advice, training or support is needed then the Early Years Local Inclusion Forum Team Request Form (DOCX, 135.4 KB) should be completed. Pre-school settings should discuss the referral with parents, which can be evidenced by completing an EY LIFT Agreement to Engage form (DOC, 207.5 KB).

For further information on Early Years LIFT roles and responsibilities, please view the EY LIFT Process Guidance (PPTX, 636.0 KB).

Further parental guidance on Early Years LIFT is available below:

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  1. When schools identify concerns about teaching and learning issues in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), for an individual pupil or a group of pupils, they should first use the Mainstream Core Standards to identify what can be done to support the pupils access to the curriculum and ability to make progress from within the schools own resources.
  2. If it is considered that additional advice, training or support is needed then the Local Inclusion Forum Team Request Form (DOCX, 107.9 KB) should be completed and a request made for the issues to be discussed at the next LIFT meeting. Schools should discuss the referral with parents, show what is written in the school’s section on the referral form and ask them to complete and sign the Agreement to Engage section at the end of the form. It is very important that parents and carers are encouraged to contribute with their own views on the form. LIFT meetings are held every week in each District. Schools will be allocated a group to attend each term.
  3. At the LIFT, the school will have the opportunity to discuss the issue or case in more detail with colleagues from other schools, an Educational Psychologist and representatives from district based specialist outreach providers, including specialist teachers. The aim of the discussion is to find solutions to problems, drawing on the knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in the group so that schools can make better provision from within their existing resources.
  4. Schools can request the presence of a practitioner from the Early Help and Preventative Services to be at the LIFT meeting if they feel their input may be required. The chair of the meeting may also invite them if they feel that their attendance could provide useful to any discussions. View Process Map for Early Help and LIFT (DOCX, 42.9 KB).
  5. The most common outcomes from a LIFT discussion are:
    • Advice, support and ideas from the discussion at the meeting to take back and try
    • Access to training programmes or the opportunity for bespoke training
    • Support from another school
    • Specialist Intervention from a specialist teacher, special school outreach teacher, Educational Psychologist (through the core discretionary offer or commissioning) or other district based SEND provider
    • A recommendation that the school should consider a referral to Early Help
    • A recommendation that the school consider seeking advice from appropriate health professionals.
  6. This meeting will consider all requests for support for learning (C&L), communication and interaction (C&I), social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and physical (PD) / sensory impairment (HI/VI/MSI) needs.
  7. When a district professional is allocated to a case, there is an expectation that initial contact will be made with the school within five working days. This is to ensure a minimum amount of time between the meeting and intervention beginning.
  8. If there is an unexpected and/or urgent issue that occurs between LIFT meetings (for example, where a child or young person with complex needs joins the school, or a change in circumstances puts a pupil at high risk of exclusion) then schools can request to attend the next available LIFT meeting in their district.

Next Steps

  1. Once schools feel that they have implemented and reviewed the impact of all the recommendations made by specialists over an appropriate period of time, they will need to return to LIFT to discuss the next steps.
  2. Services that have made recommendations will want to discuss their impact on the progress of the pupil and any potential additional adaptations that could be implemented.
  3. If it is felt that there are no more recommendations that can be made or any other specialists that can be accessed through LIFT, the chair will complete a Summary of District LIFT Intervention Sheet (DOC, 95.5 KB)

The school may then wish to consider two options:

  • If the school has to provide provision at a sustained level over and above that which is usually provided through the school's SEN support to achieve the identified outcomes. They may wish to consider whether they meet the £6,000 threshold and are entitled to high needs funding
  • Or the school may wish to consider a request for Statutory Assessment. However, they will needs to be aware that if they decide to make a request for Statutory Assessment they will be required to provide evidence in accordance with the duties of the SEN Code of Practice 2015. Omission of evidence can result in a refusal to assess or a delay in an assessment.
  • View LIFT Process Map (DOCX, 68.8 KB)

Guidance on evidence needed from schools is available below:


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