ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL MUSIC THERAPY POLICY STATEMENT. Introduction

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1 ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL MUSIC THERAPY POLICY STATEMENT Introduction Music Therapy has been established at St Nicholas School for a number of years. A qualified Music Therapist is currently working three days a week at the school. There is a dedicated music therapy room. Pupils receive Music Therapy on an individual basis or in a small group after assessing the appropriate individual needs of the child. TA s sometimes attend sessions, either to act as Music Therapy assistants in group work, or where it is deemed necessary for individual sessions. Rationale for Music Therapy at St. Nicholas School Music Therapy is work undertaken by a qualified Music Therapist in which music is used as a means of addressing various aspects of a child s development. Music Therapy is not the teaching of musical skills, nor a substitute for a music curriculum in a special school. Rather, Music Therapy uses music as a means to an end rather than as an end in itself. One asset of Music Therapy in the context of a school for children with severe learning difficulties is that it can not only be used to address and foster various aspects of the child s development such as attention and concentration, communication skills, social skills and sensory development, but can also be used to address emotional and behavioural difficulties and problems associated with self esteem and confidence. Promoting a greater sense of emotional well-being is undoubtedly beneficial for a child s capacity to make maximum use of learning opportunities. Many children are both stimulated and motivated by music. Music Therapy utilises an inherent response to music that is universal and usually remains unimpaired despite disability, illness or injury. Through musical improvisation, the child, together with the therapist, develops a musical language through which the child s expression and communication can be developed. This process can be extremely valuable for children whose verbal communication is a difficult form of self-expression. The relationship between the child and therapist is important. It is through this relationship that interaction and reciprocity can be developed. Music Therapy can be a highly effective way of developing vocalisation which is an essential aspect of pre-verbal development.

2 At St. Nicholas School, the Music Therapist works as part of a multidisciplinary team, which consists of physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and therapy assistants. The Music Therapist is part of this team, contributing to the understanding of the child s needs and abilities. In 2012 the Creative Therapies team was formed which consists of the music therapist, three play therapists and a counselor. The team meets once a term to discuss referrals and provide support to each other through group peer supervision. The Music Therapist writes a report for each child s annual review. Music Therapy is an integral part of the Shared Goals Programme and the music therapist integrates the pupils shared goals into the sessions when appropriate. The sensory music groups have been developed specifically for pupils on the Shared Goals Programme. To become a qualified Music Therapist, it is necessary to complete one of the recognised postgraduate courses. Music Therapists are registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC) and members of the British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT). Referrals Referrals can be made by any class teacher, member of the Senior Management Team, or member of the Multi-disciplinary team. The Music Therapist will then assess the pupil over two or three assessment sessions, and from there make a judgement regarding the child s suitability for Music Therapy. This decision will usually be made from one of three options. To take the pupil on straight away, to add the pupil to the pool of pupils awaiting therapy, or to not have any more input with that pupil. All pupils now receive a block of Music Therapy in their reception year, either individual or in a small group. Those Awaiting Therapy It is common for there to be more pupils for whom Music Therapy is deemed to be useful than there are available places for them. Once a pupil has been referred and assessed, s/he may be added to the pool of pupils awaiting therapy. When a new slot becomes available, the Music

3 Therapist and his/her line manager will make a decision as to who fills that slot based on the needs of each pupil in the pool at that time. Record Keeping, Evaluation, and Monitoring The therapist will keep his/her own regular records about the work with each child. These records are confidential. Regular written feedback about Music Therapy with any child may be requested by any class teacher in a format that is complimentary to their own class files. Each pupil s music therapy is reviewed annually through the annual review report that the therapist submits to the review meeting. The therapist also provides written feedback for Shared Goals reviews. The therapist continually assesses the validity of each child s therapy, and feeds back to his/her line manager about this at termly meetings. At these meetings, the previous target is reviewed and a new target set. Teaching staff are informed of the targets for all the pupils in their class. The pool of pupils awaiting therapy is reviewed at this meeting too. Where both the therapist and line manager feel that the child has come to the end of a period of Music Therapy, parents or guardians will be notified of such in writing prior to the end of the course of therapy. The therapist also meets his/her line manager termly to discuss matters which are concerning him/her. The therapist s work is monitored by the Deputy Headteacher who meets with the therapist termly to review his/her work. Communication and Liaison The Class Teacher and Music Therapist meet on a regular basis to discuss each child s progress. This provides an opportunity for the therapist to offer feedback as to the child s development within therapy, and the teacher to share information regarding the child s progress within the classroom.

4 A letter is sent home early in each term to the parents and carers of every child receiving Music Therapy, informing them of the target(s) for their child(ren). The therapist will attend parent evenings to provide a further opportunity to liaise with parents of children receiving Music Therapy. It is the responsibility of the whole multi-disciplinary team to ensure that effective communication takes place. However, it is not usually appropriate for people to observe Music Therapy sessions as this can disrupt the session. Music Therapy assistants are part of the framework of the sessions, and therefore remain constant each week. Written guidelines are provided to TA s who act as therapy assistants. A copy of these guidelines is provided at the end of this policy statement. The therapist will send a letter to the parents or guardians of each child receiving therapy, requesting permission to audio or video record the sessions. Where permission has been granted, such recordings may be viewed by other members of the school staff. MONITORING AND REVIEW This policy will be monitored on a yearly basis by the music therapist to keep up to date with any adjustments to statutory legislation or curriculum and any changes will go via the Governing Body when necessary. EQUALITY, SAFEGUARDING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES STATEMENT St Nicholas School, in all policies and procedures, will promote equality of opportunity for students and staff from all social, cultural and economic backgrounds and ensure freedom from discrimination on the basis of membership of any group, including gender, sexual orientation, family circumstances, ethnic or national origin, disability (physical or mental), religious or political beliefs. St Nicholas School aims to: Provide equal opportunity for all To foster good relations, and create effective partnership with all sections of the community To take no action which discriminates unlawfully in service delivery, commissioning and employment

5 To provide an environment free from fear and discrimination, where diversity, respect and dignity are valued. All aspects of Safeguarding will be embedded into the life of the school and be adhered to and be the responsibility of all staff. LINKS TO OTHER POLICIES Behaviour Teaching and Learning, Curriculum policies Safeguarding, Health and Safety Music ASD JOY JAMES REVIEWED TERM

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