As part of our offer at Winchelsea, we have onsite Speech and Language Therapy, and commission external Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, who are supported by our Therapy Assistants.

These therapies are highly embedded in our specialist curriculum to ensure that therapeutic approaches and strategies are a regular part of the school day. One of our real strengths at Winchelsea is our tiered approach to therapy, which allows for therapies to be accessed by pupils at individual, class and whole-school level. The Therapy Team work closely throughout each pupil’s journey to ensure a person-centred approach to support their development.

Speech and Language Therapy

Our Speech and Language Therapists (SaLTs) carry out individualised assessments of speech, language and communication needs and may deliver intervention directly, or devise therapy programmes to be delivered by a Therapy Assistant or the class team and home. Individualised communication work is provided where the Universal offer, the curriculum and class environment, does not meet a pupil’s communication needs and further intervention is needed. 

Class based staff are trained by our SaLTs in a 10-week accredited course on supporting Speech and Language Needs in Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties by Elklan. The SaLTs support the development of the Total Communication environments in classrooms and the wider school.

We aim to develop communication skills through a range of therapeutic approaches that are tailored to each pupil depending on their communication needs and their curriculum pathway, these include:

-Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
-Attention Autism
-Promoting Early Interactive Conversations – Dorset (PEIC-D)
-Lego Therapy
-Shape Coding
-Social Thinking

We support class teams to know which strategies are relevant for their class so that they can embed these across their curriculum.

Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapist (OT) and Therapy Assistants work together to provide sensory integration screening and intervention, sensory feeding intervention, and fine motor intervention for pupils where these needs have been identified.

As part of the tiered approach to therapy, OT works at a whole school level by working with the school to develop sensory friendly environments and supporting our whole school approach to sensory regulation; the Winchelsea Zones.

Our OT only works with pupils who do not meet the threshold for Occupational Therapy provided by NHS services (e.g. ID CAMHS, Child Development Centre). Pupils who meet the criteria for NHS services will be referred to the NHS for support.


Our Physiotherapist and Therapy Assistants work together to identify and provide intervention to develop the gross motor skills of pupils. At Winchelsea, we aim to challenge each pupil to reach their maximum physical potential.

As part of the tiered approach, the physiotherapist works at a whole school level with whole school fitness challenges and provides more targeted intervention through the Therapy Assistants, class teams and the PE team.

Our Physiotherapist only works with pupils who do not meet the threshold for Physiotherapy provided by NHS services. Pupils who meet the criteria for NHS services will be referred to the NHS for support.