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Important information for parents during COVID-19 lockdown

Parents please read !!

For autumn 2020 childcare settings should be operating as normal in most cases. For advice and guidance related to Covid19 please see:

Specialist Support Service (SSS) Post 16 Offer

The Specialist Support Service comprises of the following teams;

Who is it for?

This offer is for post-16 learners moving into college/apprenticeships or other learning providers.

How do I make a request?

Requests should be made directly into the Specialist Support Service office or via ASSIST.  Contact details can be found below.

What support is available?

Support funding provision varies according to whether a young person comes under an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) or the Graduated Response.

Where learners require support, but they are not eligible for an Education Health and Care Plan, specialist support may be accessed and purchased as part of the graduated response from the Specialist Support Service or ASSIST, if there is capacity.

Specialist access technology; e.g. radio aids, braillers, embossers can be provided, and the Specialist Support Service has a loan agreement for the education provider. There is a cost and the details are in the Hearing Impairment/Visual Impairment equipment for post 16 students in Further Education document. This agreement will include advice, set up and routine maintenance.

Learners who have an Education Health and Care Plan which is maintained by Staffordshire County Council and indicates specific hearing impairment/visual impairment/autism specrtrum condition provision, will be eligible to access some specialist teacher advice and guidance with no cost to the education provider from the Specialist Support Service.

Specialist Teacher support may include:

  • specialist teacher assessment report as part of an Education, Health and Care Plan Needs Assessment where requested by Staffordshire County Council.
  • specialist teacher report, attendance and advice at Education Health and Care Plan Annual Review.  This will include the annual review prior to transition into post-16 provision. 
  • where there is a significant change to the planned post-16 course programme, timetable or setting, further specialist teacher advice will be offered by the Service to the SEND Assessment and Planning Team in relation to appropriate support provision and this may include one visit to the student or education provider.

This specialist teacher support is provided directly by the Local Authority and the provider will not be invoiced and there is no need to include within your high need learner claims.

In addition, where the education provider does not currently employ specialist staff for the support identified within a student’s Education Health and Care Plan, the Specialist Support Service and/or ASSIST may be able to provide this. This support will be charged to the education provider. Support may include:

  • awareness training
  • specialist teaching support e.g. tutorials, language support, ICT access
  • specialist Mobility and Orientation Officers
  • communication Support Workers
  • British Sign Language Interpreters
  • lip-speakers
  • note-takers
  • translation and transcription, including braille, moon, audio description

Other than for statutory reviews, assessors and course providers need to check the availability of support before naming any of the Specialist Support Service teams for support. 

Who to contact

Contact Name
Specialist Support Service
Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Autism Outreach Teams: 01785 356 830
Autism and Sensory Support in Staffordshire (ASSIST): 01785 356 835


Specialist Support Service:;


Last updated: 17 Jun 2020
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