Staff work collaboratively with parents/carers and the therapy team, which includes a drama-therapist, trained counsellor and applied psychologist, to reach a shared view of how best to support the needs of each individual in their care. Onsite therapeutic interventions are embedded into the daily practice of the school, enabling each young person to acknowledge their strengths and build on their own resources to increase resilience.
Oak Tree provides a safe, caring and containing community with clear, consistent boundaries and high expectations. Relationships are at the heart of the schools’ approach and are based on sensitive understanding of a young person’s experiences and the areas in which they require more support. Behaviour is understood as a form of communication and all staff work together to facilitate the healthy physical, social and emotional development of each child.
Aims of the Therapy Team
To provide a therapeutic framework for young people and staff at Oak Tree School in order to promote positive emotional health and well-being, build resilience and increase positive life chances and outcomes for all.
The team comprises of an Educational Psychologist, Drama therapist and trained counsellors. Visiting therapists include Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy.
The school provides onsite access to:
- Individual and group therapy
- Ongoing staff development
- Professional support and supervision
- Pastoral support as appropriate
The therapy team carries out a 8 week period of initial assessment which develops comprehensive information about the individual needs of Oak Tree students. The team work directly with the young person, their parents/carers and teaching staff on identifying areas of strength, areas for development and individual goals to put together personalised plans for each student that are regularly reviewed.
Regularly used assessment tools are:
- The Thrive Online Assessment Tool
- Sensory Profiling
- Beck Youth Inventory
- Adolescent coping scales
- The Butler Self image Profile (SIP)
- Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) Reintegration readiness scale
- Structured observations including interval sampling
- Resiliency Scales
- Emotional Literacy assessment (ELA)
- British Ability Scales 3rd Edition
- Cognitive Assessment System (CAS)
- Weschler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
- Personal Construct Psychology (PCP)
- Dynamic Assessment
The results of the eight-week assessment period are shared with the young person, their parent or carer, and all school staff and directly contribute to Individual Education Plans, Individual behaviour plans and provision mapping.
Evaluation of Potential Students
The therapy team are also involved in evaluating the suitability of the placement for potential new students at Oak Tree School. This may involve reviewing information contained in the young person’s Statement of Need or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), liaising with the wider support services, discussion with parents/carers including, where appropriate, a visit or observation to meet the young person in their current provision.
Liaison with External Support Services
The therapy team aims to make strong links with partner services that support young people in Oak Tree School. This may be the speech and language therapy (SALT) service, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), occupational therapy (OT) or the community paediatric team. Careers Southwest provides input for the older children in considering exit planning and college or work placements.
Working with SEN
Pupils attending Oak Tree School may have learning difficulties and/or low attainment that are associated with their emotional and behavioural difficulties. They may have experienced historical low levels of engagement or underlying anxiety within learning situations.
Pupils may also have specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. They may have identified insecure attachment styles with associated challenges in making connections within learning. A number of pupils may experience challenges with sensory regulation impacting and demonstrate sensory seeking or sensory resisting behaviours. Some pupils may have a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition or a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
At Oak Tree School we work alongside the School Nurse Team in Cornwall. School nurses provide confidential advice and health information. This advice is available to young people, their parents, carers and teachers. School nurses will help ensure children and young people stay fit and healthy. If you would like more information on this service please click on the link below, or alternatively contact the school office on 01872 264 221 who will be happy to assist you.