Therapeutic Support

"I know I'm handing my students over to the best possible school, when I send them to you. All my ex-pupils are thriving at Cressey."

Headteacher of a S London Pupil Referral Unit, March 2018

"For complex children there's no question. You (Cressey) are our preferred provider. You're succeeding with the most challenging children we have ... the other schools just can't do what you do."

Head of SEN, at a London Local Authority, Nov 2017

Therapeutic Support

Cressey's environment is both nurturing and therapeutic, and we have a strong therapies team to meet our students' therapeutic needs. This support is not separate to the students' individual education programmes, but is an integral part of them. The aim is to address identified difficulties, and also to support each individual's social, emotional and behavioural needs.

Therapeutic activities at Cressey range from intensive 1:1 programmes to small group sessions, with formal Assessments where appropriate. The therapists also provide training for the teaching staff, and strategies to help them to adopt an appropriate therapeutic approach throughout individuals' programmes. All therapists have regular external supervisors, in accordance with the relevant professional practices and standards.

A core level of therapeutic support is provided for every student. This support includes occasional 1:1 sessions with a Therapist, the creation of appropriate strategies, tailored training for individual staff teams, and reviews of progress.

To give a feel for the scale of therapy we provide, for the Autumn Term 2017 there are 35 students scheduled to have Speech and Language therapy or activities, 47 scheduled for Occupational Therapy or OT activities, and at about 30 will receive either Art or Music therapy.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy supports students to develop their speech, language and communication skills, to eneble them to interact more effectively with those around them and better access the school curriculum. The Speech and Language Therapist identifies student’s strengths and needs through an assessment process, and provides / arranges the appropriate level of support.

All Cressey students will receive support for the development of their social communication and interaction skills. Students may need to work on skills such as: turn taking, looking at who they are talking to, giving the right amount of information, understanding and using facial expressions etc. The student’s difficulties may differ depending on who they are talking to, the environment and whether this is a 1:1 or in a group. They may also have difficulties understanding things like emotions and friendships. 

Students will also receive further support if they demonstrate difficulties with understanding or using language and/or speech sounds. Students may have difficulties in areas such as following longer instructions, using accurate grammatical elements, understanding non-literal language or talking fluently.

For more information on what Speech and Language therapy can offer, please see the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website, at:

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy considers all aspects of a student’s daily life. This includes:

  • Students’ skills, roles, experiences and aspirations;
  • their cultural, economic, physical and social environments;
  • and how meaningful a task or activity is for a student. 

Occupational Therapy at Cressey supports children in reaching their full potential in their school life, and engagement with activities such as schoolwork, self-care, leisure and playing with peers. Strengths and difficulties are identified for each student through an assessment process, and programmes are developed based on individual needs. Additionally, specific strategies, activities, equipment and aids may be suggested for use in the classroom, to support students’ difficulties. Examples include sensory regulation activities (e.g. movement breaks and wobble cushions), desk slopes to support posture and concentration, specific exercises for under-developed muscles (e.g. to enable better writing) and adapting specific activities (e.g. breaking tasks down into achievable steps)

For more information on what Occupational Therapy can offer, please see the Royal College of Occupational Therapists website, at

Art Therapy and Music Therapy

Cressey’s Psychological Therapists offer our children and young people a different space, outside of the class group and learning situation. Art, music, movement, talking and play, can reflect the student's thoughts and feelings, and our therapists can support the person's expression, awareness and self-esteem.

We provide individual or small group support for students who may need additional help to work through difficult experiences, to become more aware of and better manage their feelings and behaviour, or to reflect on how they relate to others. Sessions are student led, and so the child / young person is free to explore the creative resources within the confidential therapy space.

For more information on what Art Therapy can offer, please see the British Association of Art Therapists website at  For more information on what Music Therapy can offer, please see the British Association of Music Therapy website at

Educational Psychologist

Our Educational Psychologist assesses our students' learning and emotional needs, and advises staff on the best approaches and therapies to help students to achieve their learning and development potential.








"Pupils have access to a wide range of therapies, art, music and sporting activities. This promotes pupils academic development, as well as their life skills, immensely.

OFSTED report, March 2018

"All pupils have experienced significant trauma and negative educational experiences prior to starting this school. The high adult to pupil ratio enables staff to provide intensive support for pupils, while simultaneously building up strong and trusting relationships."

OFSTED report, March 2018