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Supporting Children in Kent with Special Educational Needs and Disability

How To Access Support

When and how to access support from the Sevenoaks Specialist Teacher for Cognition and Learning?

Schools can access support at a Cognition and Learning Drop-In session or at a Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT) meeting.

Parental Agreement to Engage is required before these sessions can take place.

Before accessing support, schools are expected to have followed the Graduated Response (Assess, Plan, Do, Review) and established that, despite good quality teaching and targeted support, the child or young person has still not made progress. Schools will also need to provide evidence of what they have put in place with an evaluation of impact on a Personalised Plan.


Three types of advice sessions are run for children and young people with Cognition and Learning (C and L) difficulties. These discussions usually take place at Valence School. These are available to SENCOs who are concerned about the learning of children and young people who usually have not been through the LIFT process.

The Joint SaLT & STLS Advice Session (Speech, Language & Learning) is an opportunity to discuss pupils with moderate/severe speech and language needs with a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Specialist Teacher for Communication & Interaction and Specialist Teacher for Cognition & Learning. Advice will focus on possible targeted interventions and supporting the child or young person's inclusion within the school curriculum. These sessions will be offered every other term.

Cognition and Learning Drop-In - For those with C and L difficulties, it is an opportunity for SENCOs and/or class teachers to discuss the needs of struggling learners who are working 1 year or more below their current year group in English and Maths. Candidates would be children or young people who are not responding to typical classroom adaptations or tartgeted interventions. School assessment data, strategies for inclusion within the school curriculum and alternative targeted interventions will be discussed. A recommendation at this session might be that the school bring a child or young person to LIFT for STLS to become directly involved. These sessions are every other term.

The Dyslexia Drop-In is an opportunity for SENCOs  and/or class teachers to discuss children or young people who may be showing traits of dyslexia. School assessment dates will be discussed in relation to the Kent definition of Dyslexia for a possible identification. Targeted interventions and strategies for inclusion within the school curriculum will be discussed. These sessions are every other term.

Please email the STLS Business Support Assistant if you are a SENCO or class teacher and would like to book a Drop-In session.

Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT) Meetings

LIFT meetings are held weekly during term time. SENCOs (with the agreement of parents) can refer children and young people for discussion and access advice and strategies to the LIFT forum, chaired by the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service Lead. Participants may include an Educational Psychologist, a Specialist Teacher, a Speech and Language Therapist, an Attendance and Inclusion Advisor, Early Help and SENCOs.  

Discussion at a Drop-In session or LIFT meeting will help the school to:

ASSESS           gather ideas for further strategies

PLAN                 write or revise the child or young person's personalised support plan                                                                     with new outcomes or targets

DO                      try out the suggested strategies

REVIEW           review the plan after a period of time with the child or young person and                                                             parents and decide whether it is appropriate to return to LIFT for                                                                           further support.

Following a LIFT discussion, it may be decided that it would be helpful for the Specialist Teacher for Cognition and Learning to visit the child or young person in their school. The Specialist Teacher for Cognition and Learning is:

Jo Johnson - Specialist Teacher for C and L based at Valence School in Westerham

Once allocated to a child or young person, the Specialist Teacher usually contacts the school SENCO by email to arrange a visit date within 2 weeks. Parents are invited to meet with the Specialist Teacher at the visit if they wish to - the school will arrange this directly with parents.