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.

Contact the SEND service

To get in touch with a member of our SEND team contact the SEND Enquiries Hub.

Our teams

Our area SEND teams create and update documents that support children and young people with SEND. They also:

You can contact the SEND enquiries hub who can put you in touch with the relevant area team.

During the education health and care (EHC) needs assessment request, you'll be assigned an Assessment Officer.

They'll prepare your child's information and present it to a multidisciplinary panel of experts who'll decide whether to assess. Where assessment isn't agreed, they'll share their reasons and any other useful information with you.

If an EHC needs assessment is needed, you'll find out about the timetable and next steps. A further panel will review your child's assessment information to decide whether or not an EHC plan is needed to provide any support outlined. The panel will tell you what support is available if they don't think an EHC plan is appropriate.

You can contact the SEND enquiries hub to ask any questions you may have around assessments.

A final EHC Plan will be issued once a named education setting is identified, then your child's records will be sent to the Casework Team. They will be responsible for maintaining the Plan, working closely with schools and families to support Annual Reviews, changes to the Plan, and transfers at different stages of your child's education.

You can contact the SEND enquiries hub who can put you in touch with the right caseworker if needed.

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.

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:

Once a decision to issue an EHC Plan has been made, your child’s information will then be passed to our Placement Team, who will consult potential schools to identify an appropriate placement for your child. Your views will be sought and considered as part of this process.

Any queries around this process can again be directed to the SEND enquiries hub in the first instance.

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 SEND enquiries hub team are there to help with questions about:

  • SEND support
  • assessments
  • placements
  • education health and care (EHC) plans.

Alternatively, they put you in touch with the right caseworker if needed. The SEND enquiries hub is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Contact the SEND enquiries hub team:

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 or 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.

In the past the PEO team have shared information about their role in providing direct support for parents or carers where there are concerns about the SEN provision in place for their child. They have ensured this support is easily and directly accessible to parents or carers and available in a number of different ways.

Support for your child's SEN will still be available in schools and post 16 education, even though how it's provided is changing.

The SEN IA team will receive any referrals from our SEN area teams or any direct contacts. If you have any worries or concerns about the SEN support for your child or young person we suggest you:

  • speak to your child or young person’s teacher first and ask if the SENCO can be involved
  • listen to the suggestions and advice from our SEN IA managers so you are more confident to speak with the staff in schools and post 16 education settings. The SEN IA might let the school know you need to talk to them about your child or young person’s SEN
  • attend meetings arranged by school in response to information we have shared about your concerns with the SEN provision for your child or young person.

SEN IAs make sure the school or post-16 setting understands your concerns.

Together with you, they'll make sure your child or young person makes progress and achieves his or her potential.

It's important for them to know if your child or young person feels included in their school, so they know what he or she will do next.

If you have any concerns about the SEN support in place at a school or post 16 education setting email who will pass your information and contact details to the area SEN inclusion coordinators.

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

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.

The Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) is part of our early years special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) offer, to enable early years settings to support young children with SEND to secure positive outcomes.

The SENIF practitioners are employed by us and work in conjunction with the specialist teachers and other professionals who may be involved with your child, these may include:

  • Portage practitioners
  • Speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. They are all qualified and experienced SEN Practitioners. They will support the setting in carrying out strategies suggested by these professionals.

Find out more about the SENIF team and the support they offer.

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.