The Wherry is a free school providing mainstream education for primary and secondary aged children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). All students also have an Educational and Health Care Plan (EHCP). The Wherry was established in September 2017 and recognises that holistic education where children and young people are taught both academic studies and life skills is essential. Therefore, The Wherry commissions a healthcare team with the aim of providing a seamless and joined up approach between education and healthcare.
The professional disciplines commissioned by The Wherry are as follows:
- Clinical Psychology
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Specialist Autism Advisor
These healthcare professionals provide 110 hours of clinical/healthcare intervention on a weekly basis. With 66 children on role at The Wherry this equates to approximately 1.5 hours of clinical time per child. There is a significant need within Norfolk to provide more education establishments like The Wherry School as the number of applications for children to attend The Wherry far exceeds the number of places available. The possible reasons underpinning this is a topic for a different document, however, it highlights the need for an efficient and effective healthcare model within The Wherry. The calculation above detailing the number of healthcare intervention hours each child would receive, is of course incredibly crude and has only been calculated in this manner to highlight the need for an effective working model. It does not account for complex assessments, differentiation between professional disciplines and children who require input from multiple disciplines etc. However, in practical terms these variables all need great consideration and The Wherry Healthcare Model has been designed to maximise the input that students have from every healthcare discipline.
Aims and Objectives
The Wherry School has four main elements to ensure the quality of provision and successful learning:
The Wherry School aspires to support students in developing the skills that they need to become independent learners; focusing on areas of strength and interest and removing barriers to learning so that students reach their full potential.
Interventions and therapies are part of the educational process and not an addition or bolt-on support mechanism. Education staff will work closely with supporting agencies and form strong partnerships with parents, carers and students to create an environment where students are challenged as well as nurtured.
The Wherry Healthcare Model
The Wherry Healthcare Model has been designed to provide a visual representation of the work that is currently being undertaken by healthcare professionals within The Wherry School. It further aims to represent the connection between healthcare and education and cements the existing relationship between healthcare and education. The model acts as conceptual framework for all professionals working at The Wherry School and is underpinned by theoretical models such as those described by Piaget, Vygotsky, Rogers and Siemans. The model is not designed to operate as a profession specific frame of reference or process, nor to denote clinical time frames.
The Wherry Healthcare Team
To work seamlessly alongside education staff, providing profession specific advice and input at every layer of The Healthcare Model to contribute to students being able to learn and function as independent, autonomous individuals.
The Wherry Healthcare Model is a multi-layered approach designed to represent the varying levels of support the children can expect to receive by professionals within The Wherry School. It encompasses all four elements that The Wherry have identified for successful learning.
For the purpose of this document the layers will be discussed separately but in real terms, students are often subject to multiple layers of the model.