SEND Teaching Support Team

Promoting inclusion through specialist support for teaching and learning

What does the SEND Teaching Support Team Do?

The SEND Teaching Support Team (TST) provides a service to support inclusion and raise the educational attainments and achievements of children and young people with special or additional needs. We normally work with schools to support children from Year One upwards. The two sensory teams who work with children who are Blind/Visually Impaired or Deaf/Hearing Impaired work with those children and their families from birth.

There are small specialist teams within the wider team focussed on the following areas of Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND):

  • Autism Spectrum Conditions
  • Blind/Visual Impairment
  • Deaf/Hearing Impairment
  • Physical/Medical Needs
  • Severe Learning Difficulties
  • Specific Learning Difficulties (Literacy)
  • Speech and Language Difficulties

We offer support and constructive challenge to schools and settings always with the aim of improving the outcomes of children and young people. When support from the team is written into Statements or Education Health and Care Plans, then the SEND TST forms part of the range of provision that Cumbria LA offers to meet SEND needs.

How Does the Team Work?

The SEND Teaching Support Team:

  • Provide coherent, co-ordinated, integrated and focussed support to settings, schools and families to help improve outcomes for children with SEND.
  • Work with schools, settings, families and other services to enable increased curriculum access for children. This may be through the provision of support and advice or written reports to staff, work with individuals or groups or by the provision of inset/training.
  • Support leadership teams, teachers, teaching assistants and other school staff, offering coaching and modelling as appropriate.
  • Advise on specialist programmes and interventions, offering coaching, modelling or mentoring as appropriate, plus support with evaluation.
  • Raise standards of teaching and learning by increasing capacity in schools.
  • Help embed the principles of inclusive education and share good practice in assessment and intervention.

What are the Benefits of Using the Service?

The SEND Teaching Support Team comprises mainly Specialist Teachers but also Specialist Higher Level Teaching Assistants. Staff have significant experience, are obliged to maintain high levels of specialist knowledge, and hold or are pursuing additional specialist qualifications in at least one particular area of SEN. We are skilled in the assessment of individuals and also knowledgeable about a variety of educational contexts and interventions. We have a sound knowledge of the Cumbrian context, understand relevant legislation and local policies, and have well established networking links, for example to other SEND staff such as Assessment Officers and EPs. We also have strong links with local Health staff.

Staff can offer support that is tailored to meet the needs of individual children and young people with SEND. We can advise on appropriate strategies, specialist programmes, interventions and resources. We can also offer training and mentoring that is targeted at building a school’s capacity to improve the outcomes of groups of children with SEN. We are skilled at supporting SENCOs with individuals and in strategic planning around SEND. We are accessible and can follow up on advice and support.

How Do Schools and Settings Access the SEND TST?

All schools including maintained schools, free schools, academies and independent schools are entitled to access The SEND TST when children and young people are subject to a Statutory Assessment of their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities under the terms of the 2014 Children & Families Act, and when our input has been commissioned by SEND Assessment Officers in relation to statutory processes, including inputs to Annual Reviews.

Direct work with children and families (more detailed assessment) is also available for maintained schools, free schools and academies without charge as part of the Graduated Response to needs.  This will be charged for in independent schools and post-19 settings. However, there is only a very limited amount of such time available and schools and settings are encouraged to seek advice and consultation first.

Requests for SEND TST involvement at SEND Early Help stage require:

  • The SEND Early Help Assessment Form.
  • Evidence that the parent(s)/carer(s) and, where appropriate, young person have given permission for the referral.
  • Any current Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Early Years equivalent e.g. Family File (Early Support) or Learning Journey (Cumbria Early Years Foundation Stage IEP) plus previous, reviewed versions of these.
  • Any available, relevant reports from other agencies, e.g. Health.
  • School or curriculum-based assessments if available.

Is Any Extra Time Available from the SEND Teaching Support Team?

Programmes of training, either centrally delivered or tailored to the needs of individual schools or clusters, will be available for a charge. Some of these will be offered through the Traded Services brochure and are available via SLA Online, whilst others can be negotiated with the service or through your named first point of contact.

Time can also be purchased from the SEND TST for supporting school development work through negotiated projects, for example mentoring support for Teaching Assistants or Teachers, or support in the use of specialist interventions.

All input is time limited because of demands on SEND TST resources.

What are the Costs for Extra SEND TST Input?

Individual consultancy support to LA maintained schools, free schools, academies over and above the core service will be provided at a charge of £325 per half day, or £110 per hour. The same charges apply for any time offered to independent schools or post-19 settings.

How Can Parents and Carers Access SEND TST Input?

We encourage parents and carers who have concerns about their children to go first of all to the school or setting and contact someone with a responsibility for addressing needs. In a school this would typically be the class teacher or Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

When the Specialist Advisory Teacher or Higher Level Support Assistant already has a working relationship with the parent or carer of a student with whom they are involved, then contact can be made directly.

How to Contact Us?

There is a professional lead for each area of SEND and it is often helpful to negotiate contacts and referrals. For schools, requests for involvement are via the SEND Early Help Assessment Form.

The professional leads for different areas of SEND are:


Autism Spectrum Conditions

Caroline Pollard

T: 07810 504603



Blind/Visual Impairment

Ruth Humpage

T: 07798 588768



Deaf/Hearing Impairment

Ruth Humpage

T: 07798 588768



Physical/Medical Needs

Elaine Ellar

T: 07920 500765



Severe Learning Difficulties

Elaine Ellar

T: 07920 500765



Specific Learning Difficulties (Literacy)

Elaine Ellar

T: 07920 500765



Speech, Language and Communication Needs

Jane Nicholson

T: 07796 178641




Ruth Willey

Principal Educational Psychologist

T: 07825 340512











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