Specialist Teaching Service (STS)

The STS work with children, families and schools with issues that require specialist support.

Further information can be found on Bexley Local Offer.

Supporting children and young people with Autism (ASD) and related conditions to achieve social inclusion, meet their educational potential and go on to make a positive contribution to the wider community.

What we do

  • support schools to include children and young people with ASD
  • advise on strategies and resources
  • work alongside staff in schools to help meet the needs of these children and young people
  • support families where ASD is having a significant impact on the lives of other family members
  • transition support for children meeting the criteria for referral
  • training for schools and other organisations to develop understanding and support of children who are on the autistic spectrum
  • working with voluntary and other organisations to support children and families

Referring to the service

  • referrals made by school SENCo/Inco with parental agreement and signature on referral form
  • referrals can be made at time the child has been referred to AAS and has completed their initial paediatrician’s appointment and is going through to the next stage of the assessment process
  • referral acknowledged and contact made with school
  • a member of ASD team will make an appointment to visit the school, observe the child, gather information from staff and often meet with parents to discuss the diagnosis of autism and what we can offer


Telephone 020 8303 7777 and ask for Autism Advisory Service.

BEAS provides support for very young children who are recognised to be on the Autism Spectrum. Support is tailored to individual children and families and is delivered by members of a trained and experienced team in the home and/or pre-school or nursery setting.

Referral to BEAS

BEAS is for any child aged two ½ years to four years who meets the following criteria:

  • he or she has been identified as having complex social communication needs indicating, or who is diagnosed with, autism spectrum
  • the child’s parents or carers feel that they are able to participate fully in the support programme
  • an Educational Psychologist and a core member of the BEAS team agree that this is an appropriate intervention
  • no other specialist interventions are in place. This applies to both council services as well as to those funded by parents

For further information on the BEAS service contact 020 8303 7777 and ask for Autism Advisory Service.

We are able to:

  • assess the needs of hearing impaired children
  • contribute to statutory assessment for Education Health Care plans
  • work with parents and teachers of hearing impaired children
  • liaise with other professionals, including health, social services and voluntary agencies
  • provide one to one teaching where appropriate
  • provide training and support to schools
  • monitor progress and advise on the deaf child’s needs

We work closely with the audiology staff at St Thomas’ Hospital, the speech and language staff at Woodside Clinic, and with the staff in the HI Provision at Pelham School.

We regularly provide training sessions for education staff in Bexley. This is often held in schools but can also be held at designated training locations in the borough. Training can be provided on the following topics:

  • Down syndrome and deafness
  • hearing impairment and deaf awareness
  • advice on glue ear
  • hearing aids: a practical aimed at staff who need to learn how to replace tubing and batteries, how to help a young child put hearing aids in with confidence
  • FM radio aids: a practical
  • sign language: An introduction to BSL (aimed at staff who may then go on to Signature Level One afterwards)

We also provide training on more specific subjects on request for example CMV, and Auditory Neuropathy, use of tablet devices with deaf children.


The Advisory Service uses eligibility criteria to determine our level of support for your child. Depending on assessed need, involvement can range from visits to home or schools twice a week to one annual visit or monitoring progress via audiology reports only.

The service is currently available to all local authority schools and elective academies free of charge. There is no direct cost to parents.


For further information on the Advisory Service contact 020 8303 7777 and ask for Advisory service for Hearing Impairment.

A child can receive support from the Bexley VI service if they have a diagnosis of visual difficulties which cannot be corrected by wearing glasses and if they are either:

  • resident at a Bexley address
  • or attending a Bexley school or pre-school

The VI service uses the eligibility criteria developed by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP), to determine level of involvement with a child. NATSIP is a Department of Education funded organization that develops provision and strategy to support all providers who support children with sensory disabilities. Bexley pupils attending schools out of borough will not normally be supported by the Bexley VI service, but may be supported by the sensory service of the borough in which they attend school, depending on the eligibility criteria in place, (which may be different from Bexley).

Support offered

Depending on assessed need, involvement can range from visits to home or school weekly, to one annual visit, or monitoring progress via ophthalmology reports only.

Children attending a specialist VI provision will be supported by specialist VI teachers and Teacher assistants in school and will not need VI service input.

Other support can include:

  • direct support/training to school/nursery staff to plan the curriculum, classroom and social environment to be sure the needs of your child are planned for in all settings
  • whole school or targeted training for staff in school or nursery supporting your child. This could include a jointly run 3 day VI Awareness course run jointly with Greenwich VI
  • provide VI awareness raising lessons for children in your child’s class where appropriate
  • assess children’s functional vision in school with recommendations for support
  • advice and support to parents including pre-braille skills and sign-posting to other services and sources of information
  • mobility support to enable pupils, who require it, independence in travelling around their environment
  • provide support at transition times including primary/secondary and secondary/FE, making sure information is passed between settings and that appropriate support is in place in the new setting
  • provide equipment as needed including large print books, Low Vision Aids and access technology to support pupils in school
  • contribute advice to support applications for an EHC plan


Referrals can be made through a health service ophthalmology department, the community paediatrician, schools and directly by parents.


For further information on the VI service contact 020 8303 7777 and ask for Advisory service for Visual Impairment.

The Bexley Joint Communication Team is an integrated team of professionals who support children with speech, language and communication needs.

What we do

We can provide advice, assessment and practical strategies to promote learning, access to the curriculum and the development of communication skills. We work in partnership with Early Years professionals, school staff, parents and children to maximize communication for learning, socialisation and independence and we are happy to tailor support and training to individual school’s needs. We can offer the following support activities:

  • advice and pupil observation or assessment
  • provision planning with school staff
  • programmes implemented by school or JCT staff
  • strategies for the classroom
  • guidance for group work and modelling of activities
  • training
  • parent meetings

Benefits of this service

Support for children with SLCN is most successful when planned and delivered within an integrated team approach. From our experience and joint working relationships we are able to offer advice, assessment, training and packages of support to enable all young people to achieve their potential. We work with individual pupils on targeted support, group interventions and advise on high quality classroom support. We welcome queries from schools who also wish to purchase additional speech and language support through our experienced team.

We deliver many communication workshops both centrally and tailored for school INSET. In addition the JCT can support schools through specialist advice for school staff regarding specific language difficulties. These include: Hearing Impaired children, social communication difficulties, community support for specific speech sound problems, children with Down’s syndrome and complex needs, Selective Mutism/ Reluctant Speaker , Auditory Processing Difficulties and we provide advice for the specialist language provision resource staff.

The SALSA team offer an early language programme designed to support children with a language delay or impoverished skills, delivered in a small group on a rota basis. They will also work with individual children referred by a speech therapist or an EP. Schools are also able to directly refer to the SALSA team. All children need to have parental/carer permission for our involvement. We also support schools with recommended resources such as BLAST, Speech and Language link, Talk Boost, Chatterboxes, Narrative schemes, Active Listening and other appropriate programmes.

Referrals to the JCT

Schools can refer pupils who have been supported for at least a term to our team and the Inclusion Managers have copies of the referral forms and questionnaires we require. Once the referral is accepted they are subject to the 18 week wait time initiative. Once referred children‘s progress is monitored via termly planning meeting with the JCT and further assessments as required. Referrals from other professionals and parents will be accepted but we will then contact the school for more information about the child.


For further information on the JCT contact 020 8303 7777 and ask for Joint Communication Team or contact the Lead Speech and Language Therapist:

  • Bexley Children's Speech and Language Therapy
    Queen Mary's Hospital
    Frognal Avenue
    Sidcup DA14 6LT
  • Telephone 020 3004 0092 Monday and Friday
    020 3871 5750 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • email: lindsay.malekzai@nhs.net