Access to STLS

How to Access Support from Specialist Teachers and other Outreach Staff in Swale District


When schools identify concerns about teaching and learning issues in relation to SEN and Disability, for an individual pupil or a group of pupils, they should first use the Core Standards Criteria 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.

If it is considered that general advice or support is needed in addition to this schools SENCos are advised to contact the specialist teacher (1) in the first instance.

If it is considered that additional advice, training or support is needed then the Local Inclusion Forum Team [LIFT] request form (including the parental permission form) should be completed and a request made for the issues to be discussed at your next allocated LIFT date. These meetings will be held every week at The Orchards MASH (2) on Wednesday mornings. Each group of schools will have access to six LIFT meetings per year.

At the LIFT, the school representative (usually your SENCo) will have an 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.

There are four main outcomes from a LIFT discussion:

  • 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, outreach teacher, Educational Psychologist [through the core discretionary offer] or other district based specialist SEND provider

There are two further possible outcomes:

A recommendation that the school should consider completing a full Common Assessment Form (CAF) which will then be discussed at the Single Point of Access (SPA, multi agency forum).
An opportunity for the school to commission advice and support from KEPS through a Service Level Agreement or other trading arrangements.

The LIFT meeting will consider all requests for support for learning, communication and interaction, social, emotional, mental health, behavioural and physical impairment needs. Where appropriate, a local professional will be allocated to the case, to minimise the time between the meeting and intervention beginning.
NB: If there is an unexpected and / or urgent issue that occurs between LIFT's that cannot wait until the next one, then schools should contact the Inclusion and Outreach Manager to discuss a way forward.

(1) For contact details please see the Specialist Teaching Team leaflet.

(2) The Orchards MASH, Attlee way, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, ME10 4HE (01795 514430)


When settings identify concerns in relation to SEN and Disability for an individual child or a group of children, they should first use the Best Practice Guidance for SEND in Early Years to identify what can be done to support engagement and well being, access to the EYFS curriculum and ability to make progress from within the settings own resources and experience. This may include advice that is available through their Teaching and Learning Advisor / SIP. Every setting will also be linked to a District Specialist Teacher who has expertise in SEN in early Years.

If it is considered that additional advice, support and/or training is needed then the Early Years LIFT form and parental agreement form should be completed and forwarded to Martin Harrison (Business Support Manager), The Orchards MASH, Attlee Way, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, ME10 4HE.
Early Years LIFT meetings take place on Thursday afternoons at The Orchard MASH. Settings and Nurseries are invited to present their concerns and discuss ways forward. The outcome of such meetings could be:

  • Setting to Setting support and advice
  • Support from the Equality and Inclusion Service eg training for Setting staff
  • Support from the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service
  • Support and advice from Specialist Nursery/Setting


Over 90% of requests for support for these children and young people come directly from health professionals and many from outside of Kent through the hospital system. Most children are known to our Specialist Teachers before they enter an early years setting or school.

If settings or schools have a concern about a child or young person with one of these impairments, or require training for staff, requests should be made direct to the County Co-ordinators for HI or VI / MSI.


Swale District LIFT will be accountable to the LIFT Executive, which will be a Head Teacher Group, led by the Principal of the lead SpecialSchool for the District (Meadowfield). This role will, in part, be determined by the needs of the Swale District and will include:

  • Quality Assurance and oversight of processes, practices and outcomes
  • Allocating resources to Teams around the School
  • Complex case decisions
  • Project development

It is envisaged that in the future, dependent on the final outcomes of the SEN Strategy review, that this group may also be responsible, at a district level for the allocation and monitoring of pre school severe and complex funding, Individually Assigned Resources, and provision and placement decisions.