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Highly Specialist Nurses and Therapists work together as an integrated team at Derwen College.

Medical and Therapy support is dependent on individual need.

An extensive range of therapies, medical and wellbeing support is available, including:

  • Positive Behaviour Support
  • Speech and Language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Counselling
  • Physiotherapy
  • Learning Disability Nurses

Many of our therapy services are integrated throughout various aspects of college life, including care, work and the social settings, to ensure students needs are met. Individual therapy sessions, e.g. hydrotherapy, are also available dependent upon funding.

Nursing Team and Therapy Team will assess students who have specific care needs. Support Practitioners work with both parents and professionals to ensure that students have the correct equipment and support while at College.

Our team uses the universal, targeted and specialist model to deliver a service which is based on your individual needs.

Where students need more specialist interventions, such as support with Gastronomy PEG/JEJ, staff will receive full training before the student starts at the College.

Makaton symbol for healthy

Healthy Lifestyle

All students are encouraged to participate in activities and to make healthy food choices.

Staff have a duty of care to ensure students are given encouragement and opportunities to make healthy food choices. However, staff will not impose food choices unless a student has a medical condition which requires a specific diet. This also includes choices around clubs, swimming, sports and attending social occasions.

If a student was assessed as lacking capacity around health and wellbeing then staff would take advice from their GP.

Staff will work with students to cater for specialist diets, allergies and cultural requirements.



The Physiotherapy team at Derwen College offer a range of specialist programmes that are completely tailored to the physical health needs of students.

Hydro therapy session

These programmes may also be integrated across the curriculum and our residential environments, ensuring that they are delivered in a continuous and functional way.

Students will work with their physiotherapist to develop their own programme and may have individual and/or group sessions.

Physiotherapy programmes may include:

  • Pain Management
  • Posture Management
  • Student bounces high on a trampoline during rebound therapyRespiratory Support and Management
  • Gait and Balance training
  • Rebound therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Stretch and standing routines
  • Mobility aids

The extensive Sport and Leisure programme also offers many opportunities to keep active. In this way students choose exercise for life, not just for now.

Speech & Language Therapist

Speech and Language Therapy

The Speech and Language Therapy team at Derwen College works as part of a multidisciplinary team to maximise staff knowledge and skills around communication and dysphagia.

Speech and Language Therapy is embedded into College life, thus providing a total communication approach. Students are supported to achieve communication goals in a real-life learning environment.

Speech and Language Therapy

A range of personalised strategies are used to meet students’ needs. These approaches may include:


The Speech and Language Therapy team follow the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy 5 Good Communication Standards as a guide for good practice:

  1. There is good information that tells people how best to communicate with each student
  2. Staff involve students when making decisions about their care and support
  3. Staff are good at supporting students with their communication
  4. Students have lots of opportunities to communicate
  5. Staff help the students to understand and communicate about their health

The College is Makaton Friendly and has a network of qualified Makaton Tutors.

Occupational Therapy

Therapists provide support and practical advice to reduce the frustration that an individual may feel when they are unable to complete a task.

Occupational Therapy (OT) at Derwen College aims to support students in a person-centred way by considering the daily activities that are important to the individual, but are challenging or difficult for them to do.

The Occupational Therapist will assess students in their residence or work environment and get to know them. They will work with students to find the best solution that supports them to overcome any challenges they may be experiencing. This will enhance their skills and opportunities for learning and independence.

Ways in which OT can help students:

  • Student doing occupational therapy in residenceHelp students to do things that are interesting and valuable to them
  • Work to build new skills and confidence in their own abilities
  • Increase opportunities for students to take part more fully in new experiences and look towards a future beyond College
  • Encourage students to build relationships with the people around them
  • Help students develop routines and organise their time so that they have a balance between self-care, work and leisure

Areas of focus

  • Personal care
  • Domestic skills
  • Workplace assessment
  • Environmental adaptations
  • Sensory assessment and strategies
  • Aids and equipment

The Occupational Therapy team work collaboratively with other staff and professionals to enable a student’s learning and independence. They take referrals from all College staff that are working alongside students.

Makaton symbol for counsellor

Counselling and Therapy

To further support our learners, the College provides a counselling therapy service, delivered by experienced and qualified therapists.

This support is available to all our students who may need some additional emotional support at some stage during their time with us. They are young people who can find some of life’s experiences difficult to navigate, such as relationship/social issues, self-identity, loss or bereavement.

Student needs are diverse. The College is committed to providing a range of counselling support to meet the spectrum of needs which students present. Counselling offers a safe, person-centred and non-judgemental environment. Sessions include:

  • Individual one-to-one sessions
  • Emotion and Wellbeing groups

Mindfulness and Movement sessions can help students feel they are in control of their lives. This helps students gain the confidence to make their own decisions and put them into action. They have a better understanding of their emotions and their triggers, and develop behavioural coping strategies.

Makaton symbol for (female) nurse

Learning Disability Nursing

We have two qualified Learning Disability Nurses at Derwen College.

At the start of College, each student will have an identified Link Nurse who will support them with a range of services including:

  • Nursing AssessmentNurse measures a student's height
  • Wellbeing Clinics
  • Easy-read health information
  • Advice on diet and nutrition
  • Desensitisation support around health
  • Contraception advice
  • Epilepsy support and planning
  • Nurse takes a student's blood pressureDiabetes care and planning
  • Nursing care plans – long term/ongoing conditions
  • Talking therapies and problem solving

All students attending College are given the opportunity to register with our local GP practice. Alternatively, students may wish to remain with their current GP practice in their home area.

The nurses are available Monday–Friday 8.30am to 5pm throughout term-time.

Medication Makaton symbol

Medical Support  

All care and vocational staff are trained First Aiders.

College staff also undertake Administering Medication training, where their role requires it.

Unless you are able to self-medicate, your care staff will administer your medication. You can have an assessment on your ability to self-medicate. It might be that you self-medicate with supervision. You will have your own safe where you store both your medication and your Medication Administration Record (MAR) chart.

A member of the care team will accompany you to local medical appointments, unless you have asked to attend independently. You can speak to a nurse to prepare for your medical appointment. With the nurse you can discuss who you are likely to meet, the sort of questions you might be asked etc.

Contact Us

Each of the students has a link nurse (based on their residence):

Juniper Court, Kendall Court, Cadbury Court and Kent House: Kelly Griffiths (

Bungalows and Day Students
Phoebe Irvine-Shuter (