SEND teams and their roles

There are many teams and services that can support you and your family. Below are our main teams within the SEND service and our partners.

We also understand that the language of special educational needs can be difficult to understand, we try and explain any terms as we use them to help you. Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) have put together a jargon buster so you can see all the common words and abbreviations you may come across in one place and refer back to it when you need to.

Our area SEND teams are responsible for creating and updating the relevant documents that support children and young people with SEND. They also:

Contact your area SEND team.

An Assessment and Placement Officer is assigned to you during the education health and care (EHC) needs assessment request and are your main point of call for any enquiries.

They will make a decision on whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary.

You can contact your Assessment and Placement Officer using the details they have provided you directly.

The Early Help Service provide a range of services to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of children, young people and families in Kent. For example, they can offer support if:

  • you are worried about your child’s behaviour
  • you are struggling to cope
  • you are worried about your family finances
  • your child is struggling to cope with bereavement
  • your child is being bullied
  • your child refuses to go to school or college
  • you or your child want to develop new friendships and have new experiences
  • you are having difficulties with family relationships.

Find out more about the early help support we can offer to families.

An Educational Psychologist (EP) is a qualified practitioner who has had training in psychology to understand more about how children learn, think and behave.

They have an important role in assessing your child or young person's special education needs and giving advice to education settings.

The initial enquiry team (Front Door) will contact you to let you know a decision to carry out an education health and care (EHC) needs assessment is being made.

They will identify any needs where your child may require support. Depending on the needs identified you may be signposted to community support. For example, this could be from a local children’s centre or parent support programmes.

If your child's needs are greater, they will start the referral process to our social care team.

Health Co-ordinators are part of the Kent and Medway Integrated Care System. They work closely with us to make sure that your child or young person's health needs are met.

If we agree to start the process of an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment approximately 6 weeks after your request, a Health Co-ordinator (HCO) will then contact you directly within a week of this decision.

The aim of the discussion is to make sure that during the needs assessment, relevant information is gathered from the right people in the NHS at the earliest opportunity. The SEND code of practice states that the process of assessing should be co-produced with you or you and your young person about their health history.

Throughout the discussion, the HCO asks a series of questions relating to your child or young person's health and will follow a guide to make sure that nothing is missed. To help, you can inform them of your child or young person's medical history, and to have any reports and letters available.

You will also be asked to provide an informed consent to ensure you are aware of who will be contacted and what information is being shared. This is not a legal requirement, but they want to make sure that you and your child or young person are well informed of the health information being shared with other professionals.

Download the Health Co-ordinators within the education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment process guide leaflet.

IASK support families of children and young people (0 to 25 years) with special educational needs or disabilities.

They hope to empower children, young people and their parents to make informed choices about their education, outcomes and help to communicate views and opinions confidently.

Find out more about IASK.

Kent PACT is a parent carer forum set up for parents of children and young adults with disabilities and additional needs.

They offer a way for you to have your say and influence us, local health services and other organisations in improving local services. Some of the parents on the forum are also key members of the joint KCC/NHS SEND Improvement Board.

Find out more about Kent PACT.

LIFT is a group of experienced teachers and educational professionals from outside the early years setting or school. The aim of the group is to find solutions to problems and offer advice, so nurseries and schools can make better provision within their resources.

Find out how LIFT can help you at your child's early years setting or school.

Our Local Offer Team are here to support you in making sure that you can find all of the information you need on our SEND information hub and community directory.

If you could not find the information you were looking for and would like to leave feedback, email and a member of our improvement team will contact you back.

Your child or young person may be supported by a variety of NHS team member depending on their needs.

Read more about:

The Kent Portage Team supports pre-school children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). They work with families, focusing on planned play activities to help each child’s development.

If there are concerns about your child's development and they are not meeting key milestones they may be able to offer some additional help.

Find out more about the Kent Portage Team.

A SENCO is a qualified teacher who is responsible for assessing, planning, monitoring the progress of children or young people with SEND.

They help with the development and implementation of the education's SEND policy and provision. They will also:

  • support in identifying children who may have special educational needs
  • co-ordinate the support and provision for the child or young person
  • ensure all information is up to date of the child or young person
  • be the main point of call for parent(s)
  • communicate with health professionals.

Find out how a SENCO can support your child.

Our Provision Evaluation Officers are now called SEN Inclusion Advisers. They are all qualified teachers with SEN experience who work with schools and post 16 education settings, including colleges, to:

  • make sure your child or young person is receiving the highest standard of support and provision for their SEN
  • monitor and evaluate the provision of those children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan, and make sure that any student the school/setting are receiving high needs funding for, is making progress towards their EHC plan outcomes
  • support with a successful move to the next phase of education.

If you have any concerns about the SEN support in place at school or post 16 education setting, please email who will pass on your information and contact details to the Area SEN Inclusion Coordinators.

We may let the school and post 16 education setting know that you have concerns with the SEN support in place.

Find out more about how SEN IAs can support you and your child.

Our SEN Therapies Team provide support relating to the education section of the education health and care (EHC) plan.

The team consists of:

  • specialist teachers
  • speech and language therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • co-ordinators.

They are responsible for assisting with the commissioning and coordination of specialist integrated therapy services, by working alongside:

  • independent therapy providers
  • local NHS therapy providers
  • education settings.

They're also leading on improvement plans for joint commissioning to build a whole system approach to support speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) in educational settings.

The team can provide support directly to parents and education settings on a case-by-case basis, according to the child or young person's EHC plan requirements.

Our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS) team provides a service for children and young people (0 to 19 years) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

They offer advice and training for pre-schools, mainstream schools and academies on how to meet the needs of children with SEND.

Find out more about our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services.

A Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) helps those with speech, language and communication difficulties (and associated difficulties with eating and swallowing) to reach their maximum communication potential and achieve independence in all aspects of life.