First Impressions of Meath School
Stanley Luker is the Speech and Language Therapy Assistant (SLTA) at I CAN’s Meath School in Ottershaw, Surrey. Here he tells us about his first few months in the role.
“What an incredible school.” That was my first thought after I visited Meath School for the day soon after I was offered the role of Speech and Language Therapy Assistant. The students were very welcoming and the energy, passion and warmth of the staff was clear from the moment I arrived. Two months into my role as SLTA, I am pleased to say that this first impression was not wrong.
I had been in the field of special education for six years at an outstanding school as an LSA and later as an Instructor and I was ready to move on. I had learned in my time that Speech and Language Therapy is a crucial part of special education and Meath School seemed like the perfect place to make the move into the field. I was impressed by the publicity and testimonies and blown away by the idea of an SLT in every class. One SLT per ten or so children seemed radical to me compared with the 1.5 SLTs per school I was used to; however it is clear that the students benefit immensely from it.
The progress the students make and the targets they achieve are inspirational and it is something rather special to now be a part of. From within, I can now see how the staff manage to enable this. While their wealth of knowledge and expertise is astounding, their willingness to share and learn from each other creates an atmosphere in which staff are constantly learning and adapting methods in a way that reflects in the education of the students. Teachers, therapists, LSAs and care staff are always ready to listen to each other and give things a go if they believe it will benefit their pupils. This multidisciplinary synergy is a rare gem that creates a positive environment that puts the students’ education at its very heart.
As the SLTA, it is part of my role to work with students across the school individually and in small groups. They are excited to do their work and take pride in it and the milestones they achieve. It is clear to me that Meath has instilled an ethos in the children of putting in effort and being proud of who they are, something that is evident daily. They are happy to be in school, always pleased to see the adults and each other and are overall wonderful young people.
The staff across all disciplines have been nothing but friendly to me since I started while the SLTs were very patient with me learning the ropes of Speech and Language Therapy activities and incredibly helpful in getting me settled. The caring atmosphere that can be felt across the school is no doubt down to the attitudes of the adults.
I have thoroughly loved my first two months at Meath and being part of the school is a truly rewarding experience. The approaches, the attitudes and the atmosphere make it an incredible school of which I am now proud to be a part.