Pupils and staff in the hydrotherapy pool at Elms Bank

Specialist Support

Here at Elms Bank we work very closely with a highly skilled and experienced team of specialists dedicated to giving our pupils and students the very best support, tailored to their specific needs.


Elms Bank Outreach Service is currently overseen by Catherine Dent, Assistant Headteacher.

The Service provides training/development/support for staff in mainstream schools and settings, in the domains of social inclusion, attainment and independent daily living skills, allowing them to build upon their existing skills, knowledge and expertise so that they are better equipped to cater for those children and young people with SEND in their placement.

The Service is available to mainstream schools with children and young people whose needs are not being met, and where a school or setting would benefit from specialist advice, usually short term, on how best to support them.

The majority of these children and young people will have had their needs assessed through:

  • statutory assessment resulting in a Statement of SEN or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • the annual review process

If you would like to request outreach support please complete the request form which is available in the Downloads & Links section of this page and send it to Catherine Dent - Dent.C@elmsbank.co.uk

To view a copy of the Outreach Policy please use the button to the left of the page.


The Connexions Service, which is delivered by Personal Advisers, is closely involved with the transition process in Key Stages 4 and 5. 

How Connexions work with Key Stage 4

In Key Stage 4 Connexions have a variety of interactions with pupils, parents and staff. A Connexions Personal Adviser currently attends all transitional reviews in Year 9 to support the transition process effectively by allowing pupils to make informed choices about their future. 

In Years 10 and 11 a Personal Adviser attends Annual Review meetings with pupils, parents and staff. They also attend Careers Evening to offer advice to pupils and parents regarding provision for the future. 

Pupils looking to leave Elms Bank when they complete Year 11 will have a guidance interview with a Personal Adviser. This will take place whilst pupils are in Year 10 and again in Year 11. The meetings are used to help the Personal Adviser produce a Careers Guidance Form. This is done to help inform the pupil's new provision of their abilities and skills and feeds into a pupil's Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). During Year 11 Connexions will also arrange a meeting with parents in order for parents to complete a Parents Contract which is used for the young persons transfer to the new provision.

How Connexions work with Key Stage 5

In Key Stage 5 the role of Connexions, in all cases, is explained to parents at the Year 13 Annual Review by a Personal Adviser, where possible, and the Year 14 Annual Review to offer advice and support in the transition to the next stage after school.

Where appropriate, pupils will have an individual interview with the Personal Adviser who will use the information obtained to complete their Careers Guidance Form and contribute to the application forms on behalf of the pupil (this information will also inform a pupil's EHCP).

Where an individual interview is not appropriate, the Personal Adviser will meet the pupil in class and liaise with the parents.

The Personal Adviser maintains an overview of the process with input from school staff and Parents' Evening and Careers Evening where parents have an opportunity to enter into discussion regarding provision and opportunities for their child. The Personal Adviser will liaise with parents throughout the transition process.

For further information please phone 0161 253 7733.

Educational Psychology

The Educational Psychologist’s typical work may include delivering, supporting or modelling interventions on group work with pupils around themes such as anger management, friendship, self-esteem, bullying, stress management, transition from primary to secondary, and transition from secondary to college. This can be done by working with young people individually or in small groups to focus on a particular area for development.

For further information regarding Educational Psychology, click the link to the left.


The school has a fully equipped hydrotherapy pool.  The pool is serviced by two changing rooms, one with a changing bed and hoist system, the other a standard dry side changing room. There is also access to a cool-down room and various swimming aids and teaching pool equipment.  

Pupils accessing the hydrotherapy pool for hydrotherapy sessions are put into three different groups:

  • Those who require hydrotherapy with physiotherapy input.  Sessions for these pupils can be facilitated by the school Physiotherapy Team with support from class staff.
  • Those who do not have physiotherapy as a requirement but who would physically benefit from using the pool. Programmes can be advised by the Physiotherapy Team, but they would not have responsibility for this programme.
  • Those for whom hydrotherapy provides a sensory or calming experience.

Staffing levels are high in the hydrotherapy pool and pupils complete an initial pool assessment which is transferred to a pool activity log.  This includes targets for the pupils to work towards while on pool sessions.  School staff are trained to use the hydrotherapy pool and also receive moving and handling training.  Students are always supported by familiar staff when using the hydrotherapy pool to enable targets to be worked towards and monitored efficiently.


There is a team of nurses/health care support workers who work in school with at least one member of the team on site. The nurse will attend to the major-medical needs of the pupils and coordinates several medical specialists to attend school to see the pupils. These include appointments with the doctor, dietician, orthoptist, podiatrist, dentist, consultant paediatrician and the ophthalmist.  


The physiotherapists are based at the Bury Living Well Centre and provide clinics at Elms Bank. The team in Elms Bank consists of a senior paediatric physiotherapist and a full time senior paediatric physiotherapy assistant. There is also a team leader senior paediatric physiotherapist and a senior paediatric physiotherapy assistant.

Contact details

Bury Living Well Centre Tel: 0161-716 1500
Elms Bank Tel: 0161-766 5295

Speech & Language Therapy

At Elms Bank we are committed to providing a supportive communication environment which encourages and promotes all methods of communication for our pupils to express themselves and to communicate effectively. We are proud that within school we have pupils using signing, symbols, switches and digitised communication aids as their voice. Please see our video of essential signs - these are the signs we have agreed are the most important for our staff and pupils to use. 

Frances Davies is the Speech and Language Therapist for school. Fran is employed by Pennine Care (NHS) and based in school full time. Fran works over the whole year and therefore she can be available for home visits and meetings in the school holidays.

As a Speech Therapist, Fran works on the following areas:

  • Understanding and Use of Language
  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication Systems (AAC) e.g. Signing, Symbols, Communication books, Communication Aids, iPad apps for communication and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • Speech Sound Production
  • Social Use of Language (Pragmatics/Social Skills)
  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)

Fran's role is to work with individual pupils but also to develop and support communication within the school as a whole. Fran is also trained to assess feeding and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).

All pupils at Elms Bank have access to speech therapy with Fran being based onsite. In order to provide the most effective input pupils are assigned into categories based on their level of need - universal, targeted or specialist.

Speech Therapy Training

Fran can also provide training for parents, carers and professionals working with Elms Bank pupils. Fran will be running the following training courses and sessions this academic year:

  • Introduction to signing
  • Communication resource making

Please get in touch with Fran if you are interested in these courses or would like to discuss any other training needs.

Fran is also a trained Signalong tutor and is able to offer accredited training on request.


Please get in touch with Fran if you have any concerns about your child's communication skills or if they are having problems with eating and/or drinking.

E-mail: davies.f@elmsbank.co.uk

Work Mobile: 07500 551 611


  • essential sign sheets
  • symbols for home routine
  • week timeline
  • now / next board
  • Symbols for key ring

Useful links

There are some useful links and downloads in the left hand side of this page for the signing system we use in school and across the speech therapy service in Bury, Experts in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT) based in Oldham and lots of information about alternative communication methods (AAC- alternative and augmentative communication), plus Timeline symbols for home.

Visual Impairment Team

Pupils with a visual impairment are supported by the Visual Support Team. Support may include direct teaching, advice to schools, modification of resources, assessment of vision, provision and maintenance of equipment, teaching of specialist skills e.g. Braille, individual mobility sessions and liaison with statutory and voluntary agencies and orthoptists.

Hearing Impairment Team

Pupils with a hearing impairment are seen on a weekly basis by the Sensory Needs Team: Hearing who monitors and checks hearing aids and sets up and monitors FM systems so that students have the best possible listening experience.