Our well established and experienced Health & Therapy team are employed by Whittington Health as part of the Islington Additional Needs & Disability Service (IANDS) but based on school site. This means that Therapy is fully integrated into the daily curriculum, and our Therapists are flexible, proactive and responsive to changing needs. The Health & Therapy team work in and out of classrooms, and support students in all aspects of student life. All students have a named Therapist who is a key point of contact for families. The multidisciplinary team meet regularly with class teams to monitor progress and set goals to ensure that each student’s needs are being met, and they are achieving their full potential. The Health & Therapy team also assist other services (e.g. Orthotics/ Wheelchair clinics) to arrange clinics on site, minimising travel time to other appointments.
Being part of the IANDS and the NHS means the Therapy team can draw upon the resources and support of a larger organization. They are part of, and liaise with, a larger team of experienced therapists to meet the complex need of the students attending Richard Cloudesley School.
For students that live in Islington, the Therapy team offer home reviews and work closely with parents and carers to optimise safe and effective daily living activities (e.g., eating and drinking, toileting, and bathing). They also provide advice and assess for equipment to support with postural management, physical development, and communication. Our Occupational Therapists work closely with the Local Authority Occupational Therapy team, and the rehousing team, where major adaptations or alternative housing is required.
Where students live in other boroughs, the Therapy team liaise closely with local community therapists, as well as specialist providers and clinics. Your child’s nominated therapist may also attend hospital appointments, if given adequate notice.
Speech and Language Therapy
Our on site Speech and Language Therapists (SALTs) work with children to help them communicate to the best of their ability. This sometimes involves using special equipment including communication books (e.g. PODD) or specialist augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
The SALT team also work with children who have eating or swallowing difficulties to help them to be safe whilst eating and drinking.
Following assessment, observation and consultation, appropriate support for each student will be identified. This may include training, creation of communication and feeding guidelines, modelling, target setting, joint planning, and assessment for the provision of equipment. Sessions are carried out in a variety of locations including the classroom, in the dining hall, or in a therapy room or at home, and may be carried out individually or in a group
At a universal whole school level, the SLT team work closely with the school leadership team to ensure all staff have access to appropriate training and that communication strategies are embedded within the curriculum.
The Physiotherapists at Richard Cloudesley are specialists in movement and work to help children achieve physical development and functional independence. The aim is not just to help children and young people move, but also to help them to make the best of their ability as, through movement, they learn about themselves and their environment.
Students' physiotherapy needs are reviewed regularly. Physiotherapy may be provided individually or as a group. Treatment may include exercise programmes, postural management, hydrotherapy, serial casting, review and provision of certain equipment as well as more intensive input before and following orthopaedic surgery or botox. Orthotics clinics are also run at school for Islington students, supported by the physio team to provide specialist orthotics such as AFO’s or lycra suits. Treatment sessions may take place at school, home or respite facilities. Sessions at school may be run by the class team following guidance from a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists work as part of a team that involves training, joint assessment, target setting, joint planning and assessment for the provision of postural management equipment. They also write and review postural management and exercise guidelines for use at school and at home.
Our Therapy Team continuously review best practice and evidence to implement the most effective interventions. Our Senior Physiotherapist has recently led a research project implemented jointly with school to look at the benefits of an assisted dynamic movement device on a range of factors including physical wellbeing and quality of life; this has led to an Innowalk being purchased in both the primary and secondary site allowing the students to access the equipment regularly.
Occupational Therapists (OTs) help children participate in meaningful everyday activities. A child’s ‘occupation’ includes activities like playing and leisure activities, engaging in aspects of self care (eating, drinking, dressing, using the toilet), accessing the curriculum and community access and independence. OTs assess a child’s underlying skills (e.g. sensory skill awareness and development, fine motor skills, posture), how they participate in everyday activities, and what support they may need from others to accomplish these tasks.
Our Occupational Therapists work as part of a team that involves training, joint assessment, target setting, joint planning and assessment for the provision of specialist equipment. They also write and review programmes for use at school and at home.
At times treatment may be offered to achieve specific functional goals. This may be in the form of a programme for a class, group or a short block of individual sessions. Treatment may include providing special equipment (switches, hand splints, special seating, adapted cutlery),
The special schools nursing team is comprised of multi-skilled registered nurses and healthcare assistants who provide specialist healthcare support through safe, evidence based, person centred care. They are based on site and deliver clinical care such as administration of medications, enteral feeds, chest physio and suction as required.
They work in partnership with parents and carers, education teams, children’s community nurses, continuing care and the wider multi-professional team in order to meet the individual health needs of students and ensure they are able to safely access education and development opportunities.
The special schools nursing team develop individual care plans to meet the health care needs of students through a process of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of outcomes. They also take an active role in transition planning to promote effective transition from children to adult services.
The special schools nursing team provide training to parents, carers and education staff in a variety of clinical interventions specific to individual health care plans, to include administration of medicines, enteral feeding, epilepsy awareness & rescue medicine (buccal midazolam /rectal paraldehyde), oxygen therapy, suction, and the management of asthma and anaphylaxis.
They also work in partnership with the multi-professional team to co-ordinate health care clinics held within the school setting in order to ensure that students spend as little time as possible attending appointments outside of the school. Clinics provided include medical reviews (led by community consultant paediatrician), immunisations and dentist clinics.
An Islington community paediatrician does weekly clinics at the school. Out of borough children are accepted into this clinic provided there is a referral from their local paediatrician.
The nursing team work in partnership with the education staff in the planning and delivery of health promotion to include healthy eating, oral hygiene, puberty and other government initiatives.
They act as an advocate and provide advice and support to families meeting their children’s health care needs. The team are responsible for sign posting to and referring to specialist services as necessary, sourcing relevant information, liaising with and when appropriate taking the lead professional role in conjunction with the family and other health care professionals.
Our Dietitians promote the wellbeing of individuals and communities to prevent nutrition related problems. They help children and families to make informed and practical choices about nutrition.
At school our dietitian works closely with the medical team and the SALT to help children with faltering growth, food allergies, restrictive eating and those who require enteral feeding.
For more information about the Islington Additional Needs & Disability Service, please
Visit our Website https://www.whittington.nhs.uk/IANDS
Both our primary and secondary pupils benefit from music therapy provided by Nordoff Robbins. We are lucky to have one of their therapists visit us for one day each week, and some of our younger pupils visit the Nordoff Robbins centre.
The dentist visits the school 2-3 times a year to look briefly at your child's teeth to see if they need dental treatment. No actual treatment is carried out at these visits. However, if your child needs dental treatment the Dentist will organise this with you, either through your family Dentist or the nearest community clinic.
Social workers form relationships with children, young people and their families who are facing challenges. By supporting them and working with them, the social worker finds and develops long lasting solutions. Not only do they work with children and young people, but also with their families and friends, together with other professionals like teachers, doctors, nurses, police and lawyers to make sure the very best options are available to help the child or young person.
The Social Workers based at school work only with children with complex disabilities who live in Islington. However, they will liaise with colleagues in other boroughs where appropriate. There continues to be a duty social worker from the Disabled Children's Team at 222 Upper Street who can provide immediate assistance with any safeguarding concerns.