A Typical STLS Visit
On an initial visit the Specialist Teacher will spend the whole morning in the school. The Specialist Teacher will meet first with the SENCO to review the child or young person’s assessment data, read any assessment reports carried out by external professionals and discuss any developments since the LIFT meeting. The Specialist Teacher will usually carry out a classroom observation to see how the child or young person accesses whole class lessons. The Specialist Teacher will also work with the child or young person individually outside the classroom, assessing their learning needs using a range of standardised and informal assessments. The focus of this assessment depends on the information provided at LIFT by the school – but generally tends to be literacy and/or numeracy skills. As well as identifying individual barriers to learning, the Specialist Teacher looks for strengths that will support their learning such as good attention and listening skills, motivation and positive engagement with learning.
Once the Specialist Teacher has met with the child or young person and explored what their barriers to learning are, they like to work closely with the teaching team to ensure that despite these difficulties, the child or young person is able to access the same curriculum as their peers. They will explore ways of adapting the curriculum or learning environment and together agree some individualised targets. This may include putting additional resources in place or increasing one to one support. Sometimes the Specialist Teacher will advise that the child or young person needs a targeted intervention outside of the classroom to develop specific skills and will discuss with the school how this can be done with minimal disruption to their time in class. If needed the Specialist Teacher will offer training for a particular intervention or recommend external training. Often teachers will use suggested strategies with other learners in their class.
Within two weeks the Specialist Teacher will send a detailed Record of Visit which includes an individualised intervention plan to the SENCO. The SENCO will then send home a hard copy to the child or young person’s parent/s and also adapt their personalised provision plan to reflect these new targets.
The Specialist Teacher will carry out a review visit usually after a term to see whether the child or young person is making progress with the targets that have been set and address any issues that have arisen. If the school feel that the plan is going well, and the pupil is making progress, the Specialist Teacher will close the case. Sometimes the Specialist Teacher will carry out more than one review visit, depending on the complexity of needs.
In some cases, the Specialist Teacher will carry out a collaborative planning session to support the learning of the child or young person within a typical whole class lesson. This involves meeting with the class teacher and SENCO at school and adapting the lesson plan so that the child or young person can learn more independently alongside their peers. This approach has been welcomed by schools and has proven very successful at supporting the child or young person’s inclusion and reducing dependence on adult support within the lesson.