A Remarkable Team

Our students are well supported by our remarkable team. A unique group of specialists, – experienced and committed.

Each student works alongside caring professionals, whose responsibility is to ensure that our student’s needs are met. Their development is planned and monitored, their outcomes are celebrated and reported to parents and professionals. These core groups of specialist teachers and therapists are instrumental in supporting students in working towards achieving our young person’s goals during their time at Sommerville.

Sommerville School’s highly skilled and deeply committed teaching team value every individual young person for who they are, encourage their progress, celebrate their achievements and inspire confidence in their futures. This is exemplified by two successive ORS rankings, placing Sommerville in the top 10% of all schools.

Clear, outcome referenced, assessment-based measurements enable us to demonstrate that we make a positive difference to the personal, social and learning lives of each young person in our care.

As an ORS fund-holder school, we are able to use this resource to employ our own team of specialists.

The specialist services include Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and language therapy, Behaviour specialists, Vision and hearing advisors and a personal development councillor.

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The physiotherapy team support families, students and teaching staff; we aim to assist our students with their physical needs while at school. Some of the many areas that the physiotherapy team work include programmes to assist balance and coordination, vestibular and respiratory systems, strengthening exercises including rehabilitation after surgery or injury, hydrotherapy/water therapy and toe walking. We liaise with specialists including rehabilitation specialists, orthopaedics, neurologists, and paediatricians. Regular on site orthotic clinics are run by the physiotherapy team. Physiotherapists apply for and monitor equipment needs, for example standing and walking frames.

Speech and Language Therapy

The Speech and Language Therapists work closely with teachers, parents/caregivers and the family to set communication goals for the students. They provide assessment,
intervention, advice and strategies to enable each student to achieve their communication potential. Intervention is provided individually and/or in groups/classroom sessions.
Speech and Language Therapists also work with students who have difficulties with eating and swallowing.
Speech and Language Therapists have a variety of programs and/or strategies suited to address the different needs of the students.
They provide training and support to teachers and teacher aides to enable them to provide the SLT programme in class.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists assist students to access the curriculum in the school environment. They work with students towards their IEP goals, make gains in personal care and life skills, regulate their sensory responses and develop fine motor skills. They assess students’ ability to complete the task, identify barriers, and collaborate with the team to provide solutions, e.g. sensory modulation, personal care programmes, vehicle safety, assistive technology, specialised equipment. They provide training and support for teachers and teacher aides to implement programmes in the classroom, modify the task or environment, and to use specialised equipment.


We are a team of three specialists with extensive training and experience in applied behaviour analysis. Unlike the other disciplines we work on a referral basis. So we are the go-to people when there are problem behaviours. Our work involves identifying the functions for the problem behaviour and providing interventions. Although we are often called in when things get tough we also ensure that we get to know students generally and a core philosophy of the team is that students’ time at school should be about fun as well learning. We are keen to promote the social, play and independent skills that students need to lead a meaningful life. The Behaviour Team provides training to staff and welcomes opportunities to provide group training to parents.

Te moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka

A choppy sea can be navigated (persevere)

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