Approaches & Therapies
Specialist Provision & Therapies
Speech & Language Therapy
There is a Speech & Language therapist linked to the school who oversees a caseload. This service is provided by Virgincare through Integrated Children’s Services. Therapists work in ‘episodes of care’ where there are difficulties present that impact on daily function. The therapist also spends time in classes helping staff to develop the environment to meet the students’ needs. Linked Therapist: Tracey Fowler
In addition, we have two Teaching Assistants who specialise in delivering Speech & Language interventions. Our interventions are targeted through 1:1, paired and group works. This is provided through our daily personal programmes. Speech & Language targets and programmes are also supported through in class provision.
We are also piloting a programme with Hazel Ireland, Independent Speech and Language Therapist, with a small caseload of students who are not already open to Virgincare Speech and Language Services.
Our Occupational Therapy services are provided by Virgincare Integrated Children’s Services. In addition, we have two Lead TA’s who specialise in delivering Occupational Therapy based interventions. The work can focus on fine and gross motor skills and also sensory integration. Interventions are delivered through a variety of 1:1 and group works. Some sessions may focus on self-care and independence skills whereas others may focus on handwriting. Writedance (pre handwriting skills) runs as a specific group intervention and also in class. We also run FunFit groups where identified and it forms part of our PD curriculum.
Our school nurse services are provided by Virgincare Integrated Children’s Service. We have links with the Special School nurses team. We also work closely with the Continence nurses and Learning Disability team nurses with children and young people on their caseloads.
School Nurse: Karl Stringer
Links with other agencies
We have very close links with other agencies such as children’s physiotherapy services who run clinics in school once a half term and the School Health team who regularly come into school for health clinics. We also work very closely with the Children with Disabilities team in Integrated Children’s Services (based at Springfield Court). Our Education Welfare Officer is Linda Webster and our Educational Psychologists are Dr Andrew Eaton and Kirsty Wyman. These services are provided by Babcock Learning and Development Partnership. Our Physiotherapist is Sally Bunney.
Approaches & Interventions
Sensory Integration has lots of benefits for children with complex needs. Occupational Therapists, alongside our TA’s, can provide sensory assessment through a referral to Integrated Children’s Services and design a ‘diet’ of activities to be used at home and in school.
We have a dedicated therapy space and equipment such as a mobile swing with different platforms, scooter boards and gym equipment in which students can meet their sensory needs. We also have access to equipment for use in the classroom and around school.
Total Communication Approach
We adopt a ‘Total Communication Approach’ throughout school, using symbols and Makaton to support communication skills. We use lots of visual strategies around school such as visual schedules, objects of reference and communication books to help students to develop their skills.
Some of our classes are ‘TEACCH’ based. TEACCH is an approach that benefits autistic children and young people and focuses on structured teaching and an adapted environment increasing independence in learning.
Throughout school we model positive social communication through our relationships with students. This is also supported by the style of learning and teaching in the classroom. For those with a particular difficulty with social communication, we run small groups that support students to learn these vital skills. We have 3 Lead TA’s who deliver social communication groups in each phase as part of ‘personal programmes’.
SEAL & Thrive based interventions
We also offer SEAL (social and emotional aspects of learning) sessions for students to support emotional management and behaviour support. This is either individual or group work and links closely with the Social Communication groups. We also offer Thrive based interventions that focus more on creative and sensory play. This can be on an individual or group basis. We have a number of trained Thrive practitioners throughout school.
If you are interested in finding out more about any of these approaches or services, please contact Claire Cowen-Brown (Assistant Head responsible for Care and Saefguarding) in school.