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Brentwood College

Skills For Life

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Physiotherapy - Helen Brandreth

Helen Brandreth is a Chartered Physiotherapist. She qualified in 2001.  Helen has worked in the NHS in Manchester as a Junior and Senior Physiotherapist rotating around a range of different areas of specialism.  This provided her with a wide range of valuable experience.  Helen has also worked in sports working with Manchester City Football Club Academy and with Trafford Metrovicks Rugby Club.

Helen has worked in private practice since 2006 in the Sale area. She has a mixed caseload and works with all different types of clients and types of injuries from children to the elderly. She works with patients with sports injuries, joint and muscle injuries, post-surgery and with neurological conditions.

In October 2021 Helen joined the team at Brentwood College, providing Physiotherapy Assessment/treatment and guidance. Her role includes providing hydrotherapy for the college students on a Wednesday morning additionally providing advice and exercise programmes that can be undertaken during the week whilst students are at college supported by other members of staff. The aim is to make sure the students maintain good muscle and joint range of movement and progress with strengthening exercises where able, increase cardiovascular fitness and improve overall mobility where possible.



Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) - Nella Wilson

Nella Wilson has been qualified as a SaLT for 13 years and as a Sensory Integration Practitioner for 7 years. She currently works for Therapy Excellence in Manchester as a Senior Specialist SLT and her role is to develop Speech and Language clinical services for Adults with Learning Disabilities as well as develop Sensory Integration services for the company.  Nella has a BSc (Hons) Communication Sciences, BSc (Hons) Alternative Medicine, PGCert Clinical Research, PGCert Sensory Integration, Regional Makaton Tutorship. She is registered with RCSLT, Sensory Integration Network, Makaton Charity.  Nella’s specialist areas of interest are: learning disability and complex needs, challenging behaviours, Sensory Integration, Mental health including dementia, sensory feeding difficulties.

For both communication and sensory integration, Nella uses a wide range of assessments depending on the needs of the student. Often formal assessments are useful but don’t always fit the learning disability population so information assessment and information gathering is used. Assessment can include case history, interviews with relevant others, questionnaires, direct assessment with the student, observation, data collection.  

At college, staff and professionals working with students need to be engaged in a total communication approach. Working with other staff and professionals will usually involve including the assessment of individuals both to find out details of how that person engages as well as their thoughts on what works well or not so well for students from their perspective. Following periods of assessment, staff, professionals and SLT collaborate to clearly identify a student’s communication needs as well as strategies to support them. This is reviewed formally (such as termly meetings) and informally (informal observations in class or brief update chats) and include as many people that are important to the student as possible. Where possible, staff, professionals and SLT plan and set goals for learning and engagement to ensure that communication targets are functional and realistic for the student within the setting.


Music Therapy - Rebecca Oughton

Rebecca has been working with students at Brentwood College for two years.  Music therapy is a person-centred and student-led therapeutic approach which uses improvised music as a tool to communicate. The music therapist listens to what the child or young person is ‘saying’ with their playing, singing, vocalising and body movements and responds musically, allowing the student and the therapist to build a relationship within the music where the child or young person can feel heard and appreciated for what they can offer. This can lead to an increase in confidence and freedom of expression, from which the therapist can begin to work on targets that the children and young people may find challenging – for example introducing turn-taking or choice making into the sessions, or encouraging physical development through the use of instruments and motivating music.

Within group sessions the music therapist is also able to encourage children and young people to acknowledge one another within the music that they are making together and work towards increased interaction between peers. 


Animal Therapy

Following the introduction of our college animals (6 chickens, a tortoise and 2 rabbits) staff have completed Animal Therapy training. Aspects of this are included in our animal care sessions to enhance our students’ learning and therapeutic experiences. 

In Summer 2021, our Therapy dog started working at Brentwood.  Working with the Canine Assisted Learning programme, the dog will be learning to work with students throughout college with a full timetable in place by Autumn 2022.  More information can be found here: