Services to Mainstream Schools
West Midlands Independent Speech & Language Therapy Service (WMSLT) prides itself on offering a bespoke speech and language therapy service to its service users. Individual Schools or groups of schools with similar needs are encouraged to design their own service package that best fits the needs of the whole school ethos/development plan, the needs of the staff group and most importantly the individual needs of the children with Speech, language and communication needs.
Given that we ultimately ask schools themselves to design their service, how we go about providing a speech and language therapy service varies from school to school, and depends very much on;
- the number of children requiring a service,
- the complexity of the needs of those children, (particularly the number of children who have communication needs described within a statement of SEN/EHC)
- the skill level of school staff supporting the children and
- the financial commitment of the school or cluster/consortium.
Traditional Service Model
Using this model, Therapy staff work directly with children to assess, set targets and provide a regular therapeutic programme. Although not essential, it is advisable that at least one member of school staff be identified and be made available to work with the therapist during sessions so that strategies and interventions can be incorporated into class to facilitate generalization of progress made. Therapy staff will require parental consent to work with individuals and consent to liaise accordingly with outside agencies. Brief assessment reports are provided for individuals as part of the service and covered by the admin fee charged. Reports for Statutory assessment can also be provided upon request and incur anadditional charge.
Most suitable for :
- Schools with high numbers of children with complex or severe speech/language and communication needs or whose SLCN is identified with a statement of SEN (Up of 5 individuals per ½ day session)
- Larger secondary schools with significant numbers of students whose communication needs have been identified on the SEN audit
- Children’s SLCN can be quickly identified and an intervention programme commenced immediately
- Intervention programmes can be very sensitive and responsive to progress and regularly updated
- Staff have regular support of a skilled clinician and therapeutic resources
· Schools remain dependent upon the therapist as new children are identified or children with SLCN start school
· Ongoing financial commitment from schools necessary
Training and Enabling Model
This model can be clinically effectively for single schools but additionally cost effective for clusters of schools or school consortiums where the needs of the children are very similar.
Schools identify key members of staff to be involved in a training and enabling programme which may run across 1-3 academic terms depending on need. Those staff attend training days where the focus is to skill staff in the assessment of SLCN and those same staff then work in school with the therapist to practise these assessment skills and learn therapeutic techniques to address any difficulties identified.
Most suitable for Primary schools:
- with a high generic population of children with some degree of SLCN
- who have high numbers of children with English as an additional language
- within areas of social deprivation
- with staff who have a particular interest or qualification in supporting children with SLCN
- More cost effective for schools
- Staff retain skills and the level of SLT support needed will diminish
- A larger proportion of children may be able to benefit from the service across the school
- Communication skills can be generalized more easily
- School staff have a better understanding and skill base for communication work
- Initially, more time consuming in meeting the needs of individuals as staff will expected to complete assessments
- High level of staff time commitment needed, as staff will be expected to work with the therapist, work with children in between therapy sessions and attend the identified training days
Services for dysfluency/stammering will be provided separately to other SLCN needs and should be made known during the service design process.