The speech and language therapy department consists of 14 therapists and an assistant. The team are led by the lead therapist who is part of the school senior leadership team. All therapists are registered with the HCPC.
Therapists is school have small caseloads and work within a key stage; this allows them to work very closely with the pupils and the staff team meaning a high level of integrated working and consistency of approach. Pupils receive therapy through a combination of individual therapy sessions where they are withdrawn from the class, and transdisciplinary intervention (see below).
All therapists are skilled in the assessment, diagnosis and management of complex communication disorders. They undertake regular supervision and CPD to ensure their practice standards are maintained. The department has a number of highly specialist therapists who take a clinical lead in ensuring standards of practise are evidence based. They offer clinical support through regular supervision and provide training to the wider staff to ensure consistently high standards of teaching and support for the pupils. Specialists in AAC, speech and language, autism and dysphagia are part of both local and national clinical interest networks that share and develop best practice.
The Transdisciplinary Approach
At Percy Hedley School, the speech and language therapy team work collaboratively with all other staff to maintain and improve practice and raise pupil achievement. Therapeutic intervention is delivered flexibly and this allows for pupils to get input tailored to their needs. As such, in addition to their individual therapy session, pupil targets are addressed throughout the whole school day. This is achieved via our transdisciplinary working (TD) model. The model consists of a number of ‘threads’ that come together to provide a holistic approach for each pupil:
- Therapists and teachers planning and delivering lessons jointly, with particular focus on literacy, social communication and PSHE.
- Therapists working in the classroom setting to support pupils with access to the curriculum and to model specific approaches to staff to aid generalisation of skills.
- Target setting done in collaboration with the class team, meaning targets are functional, relevant and understood by all staff working with the child.
- Weekly class team meetings to review progress and communicate next steps.
- Training sessions to ensure all staff working with a pupil are aware of / competent in techniques that can be used to support the child, e.g. the use of sign, cued articulation, Tassels, THRASS.
- Group sessions delivered in conjunction with other therapies (OT, physio)
- Therapists part of the ‘whole day’, including tutor time, lunchtimes, breaks, personal care, meaning they are familiar with how the pupil functions in daily living and can provide functional, practical therapeutic interventions in naturalistic situations.
- Meetings with parents, outside agencies and the wider staff team as
All therapists keep case notes of their interventions and clinical reasoning in line with HCPS standards. They provide a written contribution to the pupil’s EHC annual review and report on EHC targets on a termly basis. Therapists liaise with parents regularly and are available via telephone or email if parents wish to contact them.