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Welcome to our Special Needs School in Meldreth, Cambridge

Therapeutic Overview at Meldreth Manor School

Here at Meldreth Manor School we are proud to have a comprehensive therapy team comprising of Speech and Language therapy, Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy and Music therapy. We provide an integrated therapy approach throughout the waking day curriculum. The therapy team work in close collaboration with the Education team, and the team within Meldreth Manor Children’s Home, external agencies and families/carers, to maximise best possible outcomes and life chances in preparation for adult life. Dependent on the needs and potential of each student the team provide 1:1, group and class-based sessions. 

The Therapy team proactively contribute to all multi-disciplinary meetings, assessments and training programmes.

Speech & Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy support the young people with individualised therapy programs developed in line with their current communication needs. We support the young person from the initial referral to join the school right through to the process of transitioning on to adulthood. 

We encourage the young people to be able to work towards even the smallest level of communicative independence. We have access to a wide range of equipment and resources to enable them to achieve their goals including:

  • Electronic communication devices
  • Assistive technology including switches 
  • Low-tech communication books
  • Symbols 

We work to promote social skills to enable our young people to have a flexible thinking approach towards their learning and day to day activities. This supports them to be able to build positive relationships with both peers and adults whilst at Meldreth and within the wider community.

Our eating and drinking assessments explore all areas of feeding difficulties including swallowing difficulties, anxieties and oral aversions. Due to the complex nature of feeding difficulties, we utilise a team approach including occupational therapy, families/carers, and medical professionals.

Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapist works closely with the wider team to identify and overcome barriers to learning, in order to enable the young people to function to their optimum ability.  Occupational therapy is delivered in a range of ways, according to what is needed and what works for the individual. 

This includes: 

  • The provision of specialist equipment to promote good posture, function and safety.
  • Assessment and advice in daily living activities.  This may include provision of a programme to develop skills.
  • Moving and handling advice and plans. 
  • Assessing sensory integration needs and how these may be impacting upon a young person and their ability to engage in activities.  Strategies are recommended to meet these needs, such as programmes, individual sessions and environmental considerations.
  • Input into Positive Behaviour Support Plans, as part of the multi-disciplinary team.
  • Group and individual sessions to develop motor and perceptual skills.

Physiotherapy at Meldreth Manor School focuses on improving and maintaining physical function of the young people we support. This may include mobility and gait, range of movement, tone and spasticity, posture, balance, coordination, proprioception, and respiratory health to name just a few! 

Sessions and treatments include (but are not limited to): 

  • Assessment, treatment planning and advice for staff, including training on implementing physical programs,  
  • Respiratory assessment and treatment focusing on optimizing function and aiding with secretion clearance, 
  • Hydrotherapy sessions in our newly refurbished pool for those students with the most complex mobility needs,
  • Rebound Therapy sessions on our sunken trampoline,
  • Support with complex moving and handling plans, 
  • Specialist equipment including standing frames, walkers, therapy benches and other specialist equipment to aid in sitting/standing/walking, 
  • Specialist seating, including classroom chairs and comfortable seating, 
  • Trike therapy, 
  • Recommendations for and supporting to appointments for specialist orthotic devices, 
  • Liaison and attendance to hospital appointments including orthopedic, respiratory and spinal clinics, 
  • Support with wheelchair referrals and reviews.  
Music Therapy

Music can help us to connect with ourselves, using melodic intonation and pitch, rhythms and movement, and a range of sounds to express ourselves and communicate our feelings to others. Music therapy is a psychological clinical intervention that uses the inherent qualities of music to help facilitate positive changes in emotional wellbeing. It can also help with communication skills, social interaction, improve self-confidence and independence, enhance self-awareness and awareness of others, as well as improve concentration.

Built on a nurturing and therapeutic relationship the use of live musical play utilises familiar songs and melodies, improvisation, and a wide variety of instruments including, drums, xylophone, guitar, keyboard, bells, and shakers to name a few. Using music within the therapy session enables young people to create their own unique musical language in which to explore and express themselves with the support of the music therapist.

Meet the Team

Chris Haines – Music Therapist 

Qualifications: MA Music Therapy, MMus Composition, BA (Hons) Music, PGCE Music, HCPC registered, member of BAMT 

Experience: 12 years working as a qualified music therapist, majority spent working with children and young people with complex needs 

Specialist interest: Supporting young people through music making to achieve non-musical outcomes.


Paula Day - Physiotherapy Assistant

Qualifications: Level 2 Direct Care

Experience: 34 years experience with children & young people with complex medical needs

Specialist interest: Delivering hydrotherapy & rebound therapy

Fun fact: I have a need for speed! I love everything fast motor bikes and racing.


Natalie Dines - Physiotherapist

Qualifications: BHSC (Hons) Physiotherapy, HCPC registered, member of CSP & ACPC

Experience: 4 years experience as a qualified Physiotherapist. 9 years experience working with children and young people with complex needs.

Specialist interest: Respiratory care in neuro-disability 

Fun fact: I am the proud owner of 2 little gerbils named Luna and Eclipse.

Julie Brown - Occupational Therapist

Qualifications: Diploma Occupational Therapy, Sensory integration trained, HCPC registered, member of BAOT

Experience: 28 years working as an OT, majority spent with children and young people with complex needs

Specialist interest: Supporting young people to manage their sensory processing difficulties

Fun fact: I have a retro motorhome, which is always at the ready to get going for adventures near and far.