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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 Specialist Teacher for Communication and Interaction?

Schools can access support at a Communication and Interaction 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.


Two types of advice sessions are run for children and young people with Communication and Interaction (C and I) difficulties. These discussions usually take place at Valence School. These are available to help SENCOs identify and support children and young people with possible communication and interaction difficulties, who have not usually 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.

The Communication and Interaction Drop-In - For those with Communication and Interaction difficulties, it is an opportunity for SENCOs to discuss the needs of those children and young people who are not responding to typical differentiation in lessons. They may be experiencing difficulties communicating with adults or their peers. Advice is given on appropriate interventions and helpful classroom strategies. SENCOs can also discuss whether it would be appropriate to bring a child or young person’s case for further discussion at LIFT.

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                      evaluate the best ways of carrying out the suggested strategies

REVIEW           review progress to date and decide whether it is appropriate to refer to                                                                 other agencies or for statutory assessment

Following the LIFT discussion, it may be decided that it would be helpful for a Specialist Teacher for    Communication and Interaction to visit the child or young person in their school. We currently have 2 part-time Specialist Teachers for Communication and Interaction on the team. They are:

Gemma Elliott – Specialist Teacher for C and I based at Valence School in Westerham

Julia Hadaway – Specialist Teacher for C and I based at Milestone Academy in New Ash Green

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. The Specialist Teacher will advise the school whether parent/s should also be invited to meet with the Specialist Teacher to discuss their concerns and to agree on ways forward.