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Warm, professional support and care

Therapeutic input, delivered by a team of specialists, is available either on a one to one basis, or is integrated into the curriculum and classroom life through liaison between therapists and teaching staff, in line with individual needs.

Therapists also contribute to social and IEP target setting for students through individual programmes, liaison with staff, direct intervention and social skills groups.

Therapists work closely with education and care staff, as well as the students and their families, and all relevant professionals are involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of individualised plans for the students in our care – meaning we can put into place exactly the right strategies and support to benefit the student as their needs change.

Once Z is in school he doesn’t have any anxiety as he has his quiet room to go to, the staff don’t make him feel anxious and he trusts them.

Behaviour Management:

Staff are always ready to help students be calm, and to concentrate on learning.

Students are given clear boundaries and expectations and these are reinforced using praise and consistency.

Students have their own Individual Behaviour Plans, which are designed and reviewed by our multi-disciplinary team, working alongside parents. These help each student to learn about their behaviour and find the most positive and appropriate ways to communicate.

The Therapy Teams at Gretton School:

Gretton School employs a team of practitioners who support the learning, teaching and curriculum delivery within Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form.  These practitioners support teachers, class staff and colleagues across the school to underpin their practice with principles of Speech, Language and Communication, Occupational Therapy, Educational Psychology and Art Therapy. It is our intention to use this valuable resource within school as widely as possible, with this multi-disciplinary team working with staff to enhance their practices where there are identified SALT, OT or educational needs.

Who Are We?

We are a team of specialist therapists and an educational psychologist (EP) who are experienced in working with children and young people with autism. We are all HCPC registered and members of our own professional bodies. We work across the school with students and staff providing assessment, therapy and training.

Meet The Team:

Mrs Paula Dopadlik – Pastoral Manager & Designated Safeguarding Lead

Ms Rebecca Adams – Art Therapist

Ms Mary Read – Occupational Therapist

Ms Hanna Robson – Occupational Therapist

Ms Jenna Braddick – Speech and Language Therapist

Where are we?

We work in all areas of the school,  within classrooms or dedicated rooms in school.

How do we work?

Art therapy:

Students do not need any prior experience or skill in order to do Art Therapy.  Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy using art as its primary mode of expression. The creative process encourages students to be more in the moment as they make art. This may relieve anxiety, slow down anxious thinking and encourage experiencing and connection. Students may access therapy individually or in groups. The therapist creates a containing, non-judgemental space with regular sessions whose aim is focused on enhancing students’ capacity to learn by:

– Developing communication and social interaction

– Exploring alternative ways (non-verbal and verbal) of expressing and regulating feelings

– Becoming more flexible, creative and able to symbolise

– Gaining self-regulation, insight and self-esteem

Speech and language therapy:

All students at Gretton School are offered a class-based assessment of their speech, language and social communication needs (SLCN). Following this, the majority of students will have an individual social communication target or targets identified and agreed by the student and the team. Each student’s SLCN will be met through some/all of the following:

  • Direct intervention with student (either in or out of the classroom in groups or one to one as appropriate)
  • Training teaching staff to support general and individual SLC needs
  • Contact with parents via email, telephone or face to face meetings

If additional needs are identified, students can be referred to a therapist through the school referral system. Students will receive speech, language and social communication assessment and interventions as they need them.

Occupational Therapy:

The aim of Occupational Therapy is to promote independence in all aspects of life. For students to benefit and learn from any activity, they should enjoy it and find it meaningful. All occupational therapy assessments and interventions hold this principle at the core.

The assessment considers the underlying reasons for a student’s difficulties in performing an activity.  Examples of specific challenges are listed below:

  • Difficulties with how the body processes and integrates sensory information ( sound, vision, touch and movement for example)  
  • Difficulties keeping focused and emotionally regulated (feeling calm and alert)
  • Difficulties with coordination skills needed in everyday life
  • Difficulties with using hands for everyday tasks
  • Difficulties with handwriting and recording information
  • Difficulties with everyday living tasks such as personal care

The intervention will be given as advice/ programmes at class level or may be delivered directly by a therapist in a small group or 1:1. All interventions will be reviewed and monitored by the therapist and reports written to describe progress against set goals.

Educational Psychology:

The Educational Psychologist (EP) supports young people to access  learning opportunities and enhance their psychological well-being, social, emotional and behavioural development.  

Psychology is the study of thinking, learning and behaviour.  An EP specialises in child and adolescent development and uses psychological models and theories  to understand what might be happening in a situation to help to move things forward for a learner.

The EP will provide training, work with groups, provide consultation and, where necessary, specialist assessment. Individual assessment may be requested to inform the learner’s EHCP, to support the annual review process, provide for exam access arrangements or to provide therapeutic work around an ASC diagnosis.

The aim is to formulate interventions to enable learners to progress and to work towards clear outcomes using the the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ process. The EP will work, where appropriate, in partnership with other professionals, school staff, young people and their parents/ carers.

Who receives which type of intervention?

All students at Gretton School will have access to advice from within the range of therapist and educational services at a universal (school wide) level. This will not require a specific referral.

Any specific therapy and/or educational psychology referrals will be considered and discussed at a weekly multidisciplinary meeting to establish which service (or combination) can best assess and address the needs that have been raised by the referrer. The referrals are made by a staff member at the school. Parents and carers will be informed if a referral has been made and consent established before any intervention can take place.

Note: not every student will need 1:1 or targeted interventions from the therapy team. Many students’ needs will be addressed at the “universal” school wide level available for every student in the specialist school provision of Gretton School.


Gretton School takes the voice of its students very seriously. When consent is sought for students below the age of 18, parents will have full responsibility for providing consent. For students over the age of 18, who have the capacity to do so, consent will be sought, in the first instance from them, and parents will be kept fully informed.

If you have any questions about the therapies available at Gretton School please contact the team on or 01223 277438

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