Staff from Dysart School joined colleagues from across Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust for an Integrated Service Team Conference. This was an opportunity for therapy, nursing and education staff from schools and college centres to hear from leading professionals in the field of therapeutic SEND education, as well as network and share best practice with colleagues from the across the Trust.
Julia James, Principal of Bedelsford School, opened the event by introducing the new Vision Statement for the future of Integrated Services in Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust. The full statement is included at the end of this article.
The day then got off to a fantastic start with keynote speaker Dr Rona Tutt, who gave an inspiring presentation. Dr Tutt received an OBE for her services to Special Educational Needs Education and she shared her many years of experience in her presentation entitled: “Making the Education System Work for All: A practical guide to schools, health and social care working collaboratively.”
There was an interactive presentation about Integrated Learning and Therapy Models delivered by Charlotte Parkhouse, a Speech and Language Therapist who has advocated for the use of the integrated working approach for many years. Her presentation was complemented by Jessica Webb, an Assistant Headteacher at Bedelsford School, who spoke about the practical implications of utilising integrated therapy in the classroom.
Dr Julie Steel, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years’ experience working in the NHS, gave a thought-provoking talk about recognising how trauma presents in people with learning disabilities and how professionals working with these groups can use this knowledge to help to improve outcomes.
Delegates were given time throughout the day to reflect on what they do currently and to work with colleagues in breakout groups and share best practice. Julia James encouraged everyone to make use of the expertise within the room.
Feedback from participants was that it had been an absolutely fantastic day, highly informative, and they would definitely be able to make use of the discussions. They also found the opportunity to network with colleagues across the Trust really helpful.
One participant, said: “It has been a chance for us as a team to think about how we can be as effective as possible and apply best practice within our educational setting.”
Leigh Edser, Principal of Dysart School, closed the day by thanking everyone for attending and said, “We hope we can make this an annual event enabling us to work together to forge connections going forward and help with our goal to transform lives.”
Integrated Services Vision statement:
Working Together to Change Lives
Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust aims to provide a wide range of therapeutic services that fully engage with all therapy and educational professionals to provide impactful and holistic integrated opportunities for learners across the school and college day and that impact positively on their lifelong outcomes. Our therapy services are innovative, creative and flexible ensuring learners are at the centre of and included in all decisions affecting their life choices. Therapists are enabled and encouraged to be part of National and Local Research projects and initiatives and form part of a committed, vibrant, highly skilled and enthusiastic team aiming to transform the lives and overcome the barriers to better opportunities for some of the most vulnerable and neurodiverse learners in our society. Therapists support every learner to celebrate and live their best life aiming to open doors widely to a life without limits.