Access to STLS

Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS) Swale District

The Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS) were devolved to Meadowfield School in September 2012. Following a TUPE process, the STLS staff are all now Meadowfield employees.

Rebecca Kenny, Inclusion and Outreach Manager, leads the team of specialist teachers and manages the Midas Training and Development Centre. Outreach support and training delivery are co-ordinated to provide a continuous level of provision.

The Specialist Teaching and Learning Team for the Swale District aim to advise and support Early Years’ settings and schools to build capacity and confidence to deliver high quality provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to improve pupil progress and outcomes.

A collaborative problem-solving approach, using the skills and experience of specialist teachers together with the expertise of schools and other professionals, lies at the heart of the service delivery.

STLS are part of a wider network of services from Education, Health and Social Care bringing children’s services together to ensure seamless provision for children and young people with SEND.

Referral to the Service

Full details of the Local Inclusion Forum Team Request (LIFT) process can be found on the Kelsi website

In the first instance, settings should refer to the Early Years Best Practice Guidance and schools should refer to 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 school’s own resources.

If it is considered that additional advice, training or support is needed then the LIFT referral form should be completed and a request made for the issues to be discussed at the next LIFT meeting.

Referral requests are made via the weekly LIFT meetings. SENCOs, STLS team, KEPs and Early Help attend LIFT meetings.

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, Educational Psychologist (through the core discretionary offer or commissioning), Early Help involvement or other district based SEND provider.

There are two further possible outcomes:

  • A recommendation that the school should consider a referral to Early Help.
  • A recommendation that the school consider seeking advice from appropriate health professionals.

Support is provided across all phases, pre-school, primary and secondary. The team provides specialist advice and support for Cognition and Learning (C and L), Communication and Interaction (C and I) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH). The Swale team also has a Speech and Language Therapist providing advice and support in the areas of speech, language and communication. Teachers are broadly dimension specific (C and L, C and I, SEMH) however the current focus is on ensuring that where possible teachers support across more than one dimension so that cases do not have to be passed from one specialist teacher to another when needs are fully identified. In a team where specialist teachers have a varied background and a range of expertise, this is possible and effective.

What can we do?

The STLS team offers a high degree of shared knowledge, skills, expertise and information through:

  • Establishing a clear mutual understanding of the support needs and agreeing realistic goals within a given timescale
  • Sharing a range of resources and flexible intervention
  • Helping with the assessment process in order to establish a clearer understanding of need (observations and assessment where appropriate)
  • Working directly with CYP, families, school and setting staff to support the inclusion process
  • Providing records of visits and, where appropriate, reports
  • Delivering a range of SEND training workshops for parents, carers and professionals at The Midas Centre
  • Delivering bespoke training for settings and schools as appropriate when requested through the LIFT process
  • Increasing settings and school’s capacity to successfully include and manage the needs of CYP after the STLS intervention is completed