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Our Therapy Offer

Vanguard School values a neurodiverse-affirming approach which is embedded into the school culture. Vanguard School also adopts a whole school therapeutic approach in which we aim to ensure all students' needs are supported.  

As part of this approach, Vanguard School has an on-site Therapy Team. The Therapy Team is made up of qualified allied health professionals and assistants from various disciplines (as outlined below). 

The Therapy Team implements strategies directly and indirectly to the students. This can include classroom support and providing staff with training and supervision to implement therapy programs.  

Therapy Team 

  • Dr. Alison Flynn - Clinical Psychologist, Therapy Team Lead and member of SLT 

  • Tau Nell - Assistant Psychologist 

  • Chloe Hansell – Lead Occupational Therapist  

  • Amy Boyle - Occupational Therapist 

  • Tierney Bain – Therapeutic Social Worker 

  • Speech and Language Therapists and assistants, provided by Magic Words LTD.


School-based psychologists promote psychological wellbeing at school. They may provide brief interventions to support self-confidence, stress management and help students explore their identities. Mental health needs for students are met through their NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Sometimes CAMHS make recommendations on how to support students at school and the Psychology team work with the school to deliver these.  

At Vanguard School, this support is neurodiversity-affirming and provided in a variety of ways including, one-to-one, small groups, in-class support and staff training / supervision.   

 Our Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Psychologist aim to foster: 

  • General emotional wellbeing  

  • Self-confidence 

  • Stress-management skills 

  • Caring class dynamics 

  • Positive Autistic identity, encouraging the disclosure of Autism and ADHD  

  • A culture of kindness which tackles and prevents bullying 

Occupational Therapy 

School-based Occupational Therapists use meaningful activities (occupations) to support young people to participate in what they need and/or want to do to promote physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. This occurs on a whole-school approach to support engagement and learning in classrooms. In schools, occupational therapists focus on: 

  • Academics 

  • Play and leisure 

  • Social participation 

  • Self-care skills 

  • Life skills 

  • Emotional regulation 

  • Sensory processing 

  • Transition/ work skills 

The occupational therapy team also works to enhance the physical environment of Vanguard School. This includes exploring classroom layouts and sensory/postural equipment and developing and implementing multi-sensory spaces (including Sensory Gym and Sensory Spa).  

The Sensory Spa and Sensory Gym are open to students at break and lunch to ensure their sensory needs are supported. Students may also use the sensory room when required with the support of a trained member of staff.  

Speech and Language Therapy  

School-based Speech Therapy strives to enhance each student’s unique communication abilities to ensure that they can participate in all activities that they want to do. This occurs on a whole-school approach to support engagement and learning in classrooms. The focus of Speech and Language Therapists for Vanguard students are: 

  • Vocabulary  

  • Expressive language  

  • Understanding of language  

  • Communicating needs and wants consistently  

  • Emotional regulation 

  • Self-advocacy  

  • Developing healthy friendships and relationships  

  • Social communication: neurodivergent communication styles  

  • Attention and Concentration: neurodivergent attention/concentration styles   

School Social Work  

School Social Work is a therapeutic intervention that supports students and families at Vanguard School. School social work interventions recognises the value of holistic support around the child and family, empowering students to reach their full potential. School social workers help to bridge the gap between home, the community and school.  

School social workers can support with: 

  • Providing support and therapeutic interventions  

  • Providing family support and parent workshops  

  • Advocating for student and family needs  

  • Assessing students for barriers to success  

  • Supporting with community engagement and referrals