Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) News

Dear families. I’d like to take the opportunity to highlight the fantastic work of the Multidisciplinary Team MDT) since its launch in September.

We are so privileged to have welcomed Tara Connolly (Occupational Therapist). Liz Smith (Speech and Language Therapist) and Ann Williams-Chappell (Psychotherapist) to the school and the impact they have made in just a few months has been truly transformational. Each member of this team has an essential and valuable contribution to make in the identification of the learning aims for each child, as well as the delivery of those aims across all areas of the curriculum, learning opportunities and activities.

The MDT support students, staff and families in a huge variety of ways. They may be undertaking clinical assessments, observing students in class, training class teams in their specialist area, offering 1-1 or group sessions to students, contributing reports to EHCP reviews and so on. No two days are ever the same but the aim remains constant; to ensure that the needs of all students are known and met. This can only be achieved when our MDT colleagues work in collaboration with class teams and families to ensure that our specialist provision is in place.

One of my proudest moments so far was the work of the MDT to ensure our Christmas trip to the pantomime was a success. An extraordinary amount of planning, resource making and risk assessing took place prior to the visit. On the morning of the pantomime, all of the Care and Safeguarding Team arrived at the venue before students departed from school to turn the bar area into a specialist sensory room in order for students to have a safe space to access during the performance. This was such a fantastic team and whole school effort and the day was a great success. Such a trip would not have been possible without the expertise and support of our therapists and is a wonderful example of how our MDT is enhancing our specialist therapeutic provision.

Speech and Language Therapy+

In the Speech and Language Therapy Department, we have been prioritising social communication within the school. There has been a number of communication groups set up across the school depending on students’ abilities and language skills. Social Communication Boards have been put up in the Primary school area and the primary students have been encouraged to build on their requests to include people’s names during outdoor play and snack time and expand their sentences using core words. The targeted group interventions that have started range from Attention Autism groups, Lego Therapy, Conversation Groups and Socially Thinking Groups. All these sessions aim to encourage active engagement and promote positive peer-to-peer relationships and conversation through motivating activities. The students have been engaging really well within these sessions and we have already seen an increase in the students using peers’ names within their requests, teamwork between peers and students tolerating being with their friends more, discussing feelings and being open to learning new skills together.

Meet Mr Richard Manley - Family Adviser+

Hello everyone, my name is Richard Manley and I am the new Family Adviser here at Abbot’s Lea School. I have been working in schools for over 10 years in many different roles including Teaching Assistant, safeguarding and pastoral roles. Through these I have found a passion in supporting staff, students and their families in building positive relationships and developing a happy school life for all.

A big part of my role is to work alongside external agencies and families in supporting the vision and ethos here at Abbot’s Lea School.

I will be supporting our families in a number of ways including regular contact, signposting to support available, workshops and cultural sessions and most importantly seeking advice from the true experts of all of our students- the families.

I am hoping in the future to be able to invite you all to events across the academic year including coffee morning, the mentioned workshops, cultural sessions and other events so please keep an eye on out school social media and parentmail. If you have changed your email address, please contact the main reception to update us ( so you don’t miss out on these invites and other vital information.

I look forward to meeting you all soon!

Meet Mrs Liz Smith - Speech and Language Therapist+


I’m Liz, the new speech and language therapist in Abbot’s Lea School. I am so excited to be part of the fantastic team here that continually support, teach and provide a nurturing learning environment for the pupils within the school.

I have previously worked in specialist settings for children with Autism across both London and Liverpool, as well as within the NHS in both mainstream, special schools and as part of the Neuro-Developmental Pathway Team. I have also worked in the private sector for the last 3 years, where I have been fortunate to provide regular support and therapy sessions within homes and school for children with Autism and ADHD.  I have a wide range of post-graduate training in SCERTS, ELKLAN, Zones of Regulation, Selective Mutism, Lego Therapy, Attention Autism Makaton and PECS.

I am passionate about developing speech, language, communication and emotional regulation skills for the pupils of Abbot’s Lea School, so that they can communicate as independently as possible across both school, home and within the wider community so that they can truly meet their potential and live fulfilled lives. To achieve this, I am excited about working with class teams to embed communication throughout the curriculum across all age ranges. I look forward to working closely with families, developing supportive relationships, offering training opportunities and having on-going discussions to ensure we are constantly adapting therapeutic input to meet the needs of each pupil holistically.

If you would like to learn more about the role of Speech and Language Therapy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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