Five Lanes Primary SchoolA Caring Place To Learn And Grow


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What are the roles of the different professionals my child may be involved with?

If your child has a special educational need or disability, there could be a range of professionals involved in supporting them in school. Each has expertise in an area which is used to have as complete an approach to your child's needs as possible. Often, only a small number of professionals are involved and your child's class teacher or SENDCo will explain who they are and what they do.


The process of assessment and support for a child with more complex SEND needs can be confusing and complicated. There could be many different specialists involved in different aspects of your child's needs. Below are some of the main professionals who may be involved.


Class teacher. Your child's class teacher is responsible for your child's safety and education. They will use their skills and knowledge to put in place any interventions of adaptations to ensure your child can access their learning successfully. Very often, the class teacher will be able to put in place everything which is needed without the need for professionals outside of school. They are the key person to talk to about any concerns you have about your child and for updates on how your child is doing.


Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo). Every school has a teacher trained as a SENDCo. They have a wide role within school and are responsible for ensuring that the needs of children with SEND are being met. Their role includes, but is not limited to: supporting the identification of children with special educational needs; coordinating SEND provision; liaising with professionals outside of school; supporting school to meet all its legal requirements; developing the strategic SEND policy with the head teacher and governors and applying for funding and EHCP's for SEN children.


Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Team (SENIT). This team are provided for schools by the Leeds authority. SENIT are a multidisciplinary team of specialist teachers and inclusion workers, with expertise in the areas of early years, earning and cognition and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs across all phases of education. More information can be found here


STARS This is the Leeds autism team. They offer outreach support to schools for pupils who have been diagnosed with autism. More information can be found on their website - click here.


NHS Speech and Language services School can refer into this team for support for children covering a wide range of needs - from speech and language difficulties to attention and listening difficulties to social difficulties. The service comes into school to assess children and provide advice to staff and parents. For more information click here


NHS Occupational Therapy services School or your GP can refer into this service for a wide range of support, including self-care and fine and gross motor skill difficulties. They also work with children who have conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism or developmental co-ordination disorder. However, many of the children and young people they support do not have a medical diagnosis. For more information, click here


Cluster. Cluster are a group of professionals who support families of the local cluster of schools. Cluster offers expertise in family support, improving school attendance and supporting behavioural, emotional and developmental needs. They offer support through a range of strategies including therapies, counselling or courses all aimed at helping young people achieve their best. Cluster referrals are made via school or NHS Mindmate. Speak to the school pastoral team for further advice and support regrading a referral.

The cluster has an important role in the Support and Guidance team. This is made up of a wide range of professionals including school who review more complex cases and have access to the full range of support available in Leeds including CAMHS


Educational Psychologist (EP). An EP is a highly trained specialist who supports children and young people with additional needs so that they can maximise their learning. EPs make an assessment of a child's strengths and difficulties and recommend either further investigation or actions aimed at improving a child's ability to access their learning successfully. An EP may become involved if the interventions available to school are not having the desired impact or if an assessment for an EHCP has been applied for. EPs are in very high demand and work on priority cases within school.


Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). CAMHS are part of the NHS who assess, diagnose and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. They cover a very wide range of difficulties with a multi-discipline team including nurses, therapists, psychologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals. Referrals to CAMHS are made via the MindMate Single Point of Access (SPA) who are a group of professionals who identify the most appropriate service for children with social and emotional difficulties. 

Demand for CAMHS is very high and waiting times for the initial assessments are several months.


Mindmate. This is a dedicated mental health and emotional wellbeing website from Leeds NHS for young people (around age 12 – 25), parents and professionals who work with young people. It gives advice and support around mental health and wellbeing as well as explaining what is available in Leeds for those suffering from mental health or emotional issues.