Watergate School signs up Chroma to support SEN pupils

Watergate School, a special school in Lewisham, has partnered with Chroma, the UK’s leading provider of arts therapies to provide music therapy and Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) to their pupils.

Watergate, an OFSTED outstanding school, caters for pupils aged 4-11 years with severe learning difficulties, complex needs and some children have an additional diagnosis of autism.

Chroma will provide a range of music therapy and NMT techniques. To help maintain or improve skills for those pupils with a neurologic condition—typically speech and language, motor and cognitive skills and support those children with emotional needs, ensuring we approach children’s welfare holistically within the music therapy sessions.

Chroma Music Therapist Esme Bray will lead the therapy sessions, initially, three days per week working with children diagnosed with Autism, learning difficulties, cerebral palsy and global development delay.

Esme approaches music therapy from a client led perspective, tailoring sessions to each individual child, working with their strengths and gently guiding them to expand their capabilities in the areas of communication and fine motor control as well as providing a space for children to express themselves safely through an enjoyable non-verbal medium.

As part of a multi-disciplinary team, including teachers, higher level teaching assistants, therapy assistants, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists, music therapy sessions will help pupils acquire functional skills to improve communications, regulate mood, motivate and support emotional development, much of which has been hindered by the pandemic.

Esme said, “It’s wonderful to be able to deliver a music therapy service at Watergate School, we know from experience and science that therapies like music therapy can            

help pupils regain or attain functional skills to help them overcome significant challenges and barriers to learning and I am grateful to be able to be a part of the team.”

Linda Matthews, Headteacher at Watergate School said, “I am delighted to have Chroma come on board with us on our holistic approach to learning. Here, our pupils’ learning and achievement is our priority. We believe music therapy is the next best step in helping our pupils achieve their goals whether that be educationally, functionally or cognitively. I look forward to the longevity of the partnership and the outcomes it achieves.

“We are delighted to have Esme on board, she is extremely knowledgeable and intuitive, she has already made a positive impact with the teaching staff and on the lives of our children – who are always keen to join the sessions with her.”

Daniel Thomas, managing director at Chroma said, “This partnership offers a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to fulfil their potential, both educationally and functionally. It’s an exciting time for the school and one we are proud to be a part of.”