The Advisory Teacher
The decision to employ an advisory teacher was made in 2018 in order to ensure that teaching teams had access to more support, advice and SEND strategies regularly. Over the years the role has evolved and has consisted of in class observations, working closely alongside class teaching team members, working 1:1 with specific pupils, supporting parents, and working with other professionals.
Regular, and ongoing CPD training opportunities have taken place with our teaching and support staff, as well as workshops for parents. Training has also been delivered outside of school to external agencies, and to other local schools.
The ‘assess, plan, do, review’ approach is used and reports are collated for specific cases and shared with relevant staff, parents and members of the leadership team. Close monitoring and regular in-class or email check in’s take place with all open cases to ensure that staff are implementing any advice given, to offer further support, or to review cases if things seem to not be working as well.
Collaborative teamwork takes place with the speech and language therapist, health care assistant, parent support advisors and the intervention teacher. The advisory role enables our SENCo’s to have a broader understanding of in class practice, and to be able to drive the Westhaven staff team to deliver outstanding SEND practice. This helps the whole team to deliver education and support that pushes each individual to achieve his or her full potential.
Westhaven School recognises the importance of communication. Speech and Language Therapy support is embedded into curriculums and supported across the school day. Students learn and socialise in a total communication environment, where their understanding and expression is supported through the use of gesture, signing, objects of reference and visuals.
The Speech and Language Therapist works collaboratively with the school team, home and other professionals to support the young person’s learning, increase their independence and confidence in communicating.
Speech and Language Therapy is provided as a tiered service at Westhaven:
- Monitoring the whole school environment – ensuring consistency of approaches, visuals and strategies.
- Training to upskill staff in approaches and techniques such as Colourful Semantics and PECS.
- Speech, language and communication needs are met through whole class/small group work within the classroom and support is integrated into their everyday learning. The Therapist will identify areas of strength and need for the student, set programmes and/or targets, provide resources and demonstrate interventions/strategies to the class team.
- Students in this tier will be seen directly by the Speech and Language Therapist for a specified period of time. These sessions will either be 1:1, in a pair or small group.
- As and when required the student’s strengths and needs will be assessed in order to inform and review input.
- The Therapist will review the student’s EHCP to ensure it accurately reflects the need and provision required. The Therapist may not be present at the review, but important information and updated targets will be shared with the class team prior to this.
If you have any concerns about your child’s speech, language or communication needs you can talk to your child’s tutor team as a first port of call.
The Speech and Language Therapist is regulated by the professional bodies RCSLT and HCPC. The Therapist will work within their scope of practice to provide advice, guidance and direct support to students across the school.
The overall aim of Art Therapy is to effect change and growth on a personal level, through the use of art materials, in a safe and facilitating environment.
The role of an Art Therapist within school is to support and work with students who may be experiencing emotional difficulties and so can assist a young person’s psychological, emotional and social development.
Art making is central to therapy, alongside a therapeutic relationship. Both art images, objects and materials provide expression to inner thoughts and feelings. The need to be ‘good’ at art is not important as underlying expressions in the work are more important than any technical ability. Art therapy is not dependent on spoken language and so is helpful when expressing feelings through words is difficult.
The Art Therapist works in partnership with the student to think together about the artwork made, and, for example, any meanings or insights that it may contain.
Once a referral is made, and parental or care consents are given, Art Therapy takes place weekly during term times, with an initial assessment period to see if the student is happy to engage in therapy and that it is going to be of benefit to them.
The Art Therapist liaises and works closely with the therapy team and class teachers, while respecting the appropriate boundaries of confidentiality, in order to best support, understand and help the student.
The Art Therapist is regulated by and registered with the Health Care Professions Council and the British Association Of Art Therapists.
Play Therapy supports children who have experienced trauma. Whilst adults may talk to someone professional if they are having a difficult time, children express themselves more naturally through play. In Play Therapy children represent their worries and experiences symbolically. The responses of the play therapist facilitate healing. The therapeutic relationship between play therapist and child is central to the process.
Play Therapy can be used to support children with the following difficulties:
- Trauma e.g witnessing Domestic Violence
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty regulating emotions e.g frequent displays of anger
- Disruptive or withdrawn behaviour
Details of Play Therapy sessions are not shared unless there is a safeguarding concern. General themes from sessions may be shared in reviews with teachers, parents or carers. The review meetings are an important part of ongoing assessment. Play Therapists work within the therapy team and with class teachers in a similar way to Art Therapists. Sharing insights into how the child is managing outside the therapy sessions can form an important part of the therapy.
The Play Therapist is a member of a professional body- BAPT (British Association of Play Therapists) and is in addition obliged to have regular supervision to ensure safe and ethical working practice.