The Specialist Support Team has the key role in promoting, developing and delivering the Local Authority's service for children with physical and medical difficulties attending mainstream schools
The Specialist Support Team is integral in ensuring the Local Authority Charter, "Every Disabled Child Matters" is met.
- It is a service for children and young people who may have difficulty accessing the curriculum due to their physical and/or medical needs
- The team is based at Oxclose Community Academy in Washington, however it supports schools/settings throughout Sunderland Local Authority
- The team works to support schools/settings in partnership with parents/carers and a wide range of agencies to enable children and young people who have physical and/or medical needs, who may have associated learning difficulties, to effectively access education in mainstream schools
- The team aims to give the child/young person and school staff the advice and support required to eliminate barriers within the educational setting enabling them to access the curriculum and their environment for learning
- The team works with a wide range of children and young people; some have physical difficulties such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy whilst others have medical conditions such as heart conditions or are recovering from operations, accidents or illness
Criteria for access
Most children, especially those with more complex needs, are referred to the team by their Paediatrician in order that the team can monitor their progress and provide advice, especially at times of transition between schools/settings.
The Specialist Support Team will accept referrals from all schools/settings/agencies involved in the education and care of children and young people with physical and/or medical needs in mainstream provision, where their diagnosis and/or condition significantly affects their ability to effectively access the curriculum and/or the school environment independently.
Schools/settings should initially telephone/email the team to discuss the issues/concerns relating to the child or young person, then:
- if appropriate, a fully completed written referral must be completed and returned in order to access the support of the team
- on receipt of the completed referral form, a member of the Specialist Support Team will contact the school/setting directly to discuss the referral and next steps
- where there is an urgent need for support/advice please contact the team directly by telephone or email
The Specialist Support Team also offers a variety of services to stakeholders.
Universal services include:
- Consultation with staff in schools around inclusion and curriculum access, including advice regarding appropriate specialist resources and their use, e.g. assistive technology, PT equipment and resources
- Supporting schools/settings in relation to the implementation of the SEND Code of Practice (2014) for children and young people with physical and medical needs
- Supporting transition, across all settings (0-15) e.g. nursery to primary, primary to secondary or secondary to post 16
- Liaison with key professionals from other agencies involved in the education, health and care of children and young people with physical and medical needs to develop ways of working together effectively through a multi-disciplinary approach
- Promoting equality of opportunity for children and young people with physical and/or medical needs
- Continued Professional Development opportunities and information sharing to increase staff confidence/skills in support children and young people with physical and medical difficulties in mainstream provision.
Targeted services include:
- Supporting schools/settings in relation to policy, provision and practice for pupils with physical and medical needs
- Contributing to EHC Plan process, including transfer reviews
- Attending SEND Code of Practice review meetings
- Supporting the process for the correct/appropriate placement of children and young people with SEND
- Consultation with parents/carers of children and young people with physical and medical needs
- Training for professionals e.g. Moving & Assisting Training
- Develop and manage the physical and medical database