11 years on, Music Therapy continues to make a difference even in times of the pandemic
By Rachael Hannah, Music Therapist, EMT
In October 2021 I will be leaving Springhallow, eleven years after I started here. I will be very sad to say goodbye to this wonderful school and will be working over the next few weeks to make the transition as smooth as possible for the next therapist to take over.
Springhallow School is an Ealing LEA maintained day community special school for pupils aged 4-16 years with autistic spectrum/communication disorders. Children at the school have learning difficulties ranging from moderate to severe. The school also has a recently opened post-16 facility for 16–19-year-olds on a separate site.
Music therapy provision in Springhallow is one day per week, which is generally five sessions of individual &/or group work.
Following the long period of lockdown and school closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020, Springhallow school reopened to all pupils in September. The school was well organised with increased safety measures in place, and music therapy sessions also followed these measures: social distancing, mask wearing, ventilation, extra cleaning and arranging the staff and pupils in ‘bubbles’. Attendance was good throughout the term and luckily bubble closures were minimal.
In the January lockdown, I did sessions remotely: working from the school music room via ‘Zoom’ – either to pupils in another classroom in the school or to pupils in their homes. This was very successful in some instances and more difficult for other pupils. Once school reopened to all in March we resumed sessions as per the Autumn term.
I saw pupils in 1:1 sessions as well as working with class groups. The many changes brought about by the pandemic, the lockdowns and school closures have been challenging for these pupils in different ways, and it has been a busy year adapting the work to support each pupil individually.
Music therapy at Springhallow continues to be valued and well supported, and I would like to thank the school for their ongoing support.