Therapy Project

New toolkit launched for therapists

By Adrian Notter - May 11th, 2021 | Posted in News

Sarah Gummett-Hart, a Music Therapist at the college has led a group of therapists from across Natspec (membership organisation for specialist further education)  to develop a new toolkit.

Natspec has assembled a toolkit to support therapy outcomes measurement for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Finding suitable tools to use with young people who make significant progress but often in the form of very small steps is a challenge for therapists working in the specialist FE sector. General outcomes measurements tools often overlook what are important advances for these students. And yet it is vitally important that therapists are able to demonstrate the impact and value of therapy to different stakeholders.

Twenty therapists across different disciplines and from sixteen different Natspec member colleges, led by Sarah Gummett-Hart, came together to develop the toolkit to:

  • improve practice in relation to therapy outcome measurement for young people with SEND
  • increase the confidence of therapists in specialist FE settings in accurately measuring progress and outcomes and in articulating this information to others.

Five tools have been included in the toolkit, each identified for its effectiveness in evidencing outcomes for students with SEND, whether that is improvement or maintenance of skill or a reduction in support. Each tool is accompanied by guidance notes which explain its purpose, which client group(s) it is suitable for, what training is needed to use it, and how resulting reports might be used. It is not an exhaustive set of tools; others are very likely available that would also meet the criteria for inclusion and Natspec hopes to extend the range over time.

Also included in the toolkit is a set of characteristics of high quality outcomes tools that are effective in specialist FE settings. These were used to determine the suitability of measurement tools for the toolkit. Therapists can use them to evaluate the suitability of the outcome measurement tools they use currently or to explore potential new tools.

Sarah Gummett Hart, project manager said,

“This project brought together an enthusiastic and knowledgeable multi-disciplinary team of therapists who were all passionate about evidencing the work they do and the progress or development of their students. I’m confident that the toolkit we’ve produced will be a useful addition for all therapy teams in specialist FE settings across the country. It should help them develop their use of outcomes measures and their confidence to know where to start in this often demanding field.”

Ruth Perry, Senior Policy Manager at Natspec said,

“We are delighted with the new ‘Measuring the Outcomes of Therapy’ toolkit. Therapists working in the specialist FE sector have been telling us for some time that they would welcome our support in measuring therapy outcomes. We believe that the toolkit will help them to evidence the impact of their work which is a vital strand of the specialist provision that Natspec member colleges offer.”