"Professionalism and personal support"

About: Bromley Healthcare / Occupational Therapy for Children Bromley Healthcare / Physiotherapy for children

(as a parent/guardian),

My 4 year old son J is a happy, cheerful, friendly boy. He was born with a form of cerebral palsy called Hemiplegia which affects his strength, mobility and dexterity to the left side of his body. Thankfully his condition is mild and most people, if they’re unaware of his condition, don’t notice it – nonetheless it’s there, and it will be for the rest of his life. He has grown up learning how to work around his condition, and is currently on a par with children of his age group.

However, the age of 4 is when differences between J and his peers start to become more noticeable as they become more active and more boisterous, as little boys tend to do. And the age of 4 brings greater concerns for parents, it is when primary school applications need to be submitted.

We live in the London Borough Of Bromley where school places are full to capacity, but more worryingly we live in a school ‘no-mans land’ – using the statistics provided by Bromley themselves we live outside the offer distance of every school in the Borough, and have done for at least three years! Under Bromley’s policy, J would simply be allocated a space at the nearest undersubscribed school – which could be anywhere in the Borough, and not remotely suitable to his needs and well being.

As regards his needs - J does not need special, personal one-to-one attention and he does not need specialist equipment, furniture or adaptations to existing buildings. However he cannot become ‘invisible’ within a large school population, he needs responsible adults to be aware that he may be unsteady on stairs if fully laden with bags and books, he may tire if he has to cover long distances, he may need a hand getting changed – he just needs little, but essential considerations.

Since birth, J has been observed and supported by Bromley Healthcare – and in particular the marvellous physiotherapists and occupational therapists at the Phoenix Centre. J’s physiotherapist, Helen Farmer, first became involved when he was about 6 months old. She was there when he began to crawl and when he began to walk, and has offered support throughout. J is very fond of Mrs Farmer, and she understood our concerns about J starting school.

Mrs Farmer, together with her Phoenix Centre colleagues in OT and Paediatrics, assessed J and provided clear, honest and robust reports on his history, current status and future prognosis together with their professional recommendations as to the most appropriate school environment in which J could fulfil his potential.

On 16 April 2015, J has been offered a place at a lovely small population/small site school very close to home that will enable J to fully participate in everyday school-life freely without concern for his safety or wellbeing.

We are absolutely delighted, and are sure that it was the direct involvement of Mrs Farmer and her colleagues at the Phoenix Centre in supporting J’s application that made all the difference in the Local Authority’s decision making process.

We are extremely grateful to the Phoenix Centre for all the support it has given J since birth, and their assistance with his school application amply demonstrates the professionalism and personal involvement they commit to the children.

Thank you so much Mrs Farmer and all at the Phoenix Centre for all you have done for us, and will continue to do.

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Response from Amanda Mayo, Head of Integrated Care - Bromley ICN, Operations Directorate, Bromley Healthcare

picture of Amanda Mayo

Thank you Mr R for this posting. I am so pleased that your son has been allocated the school of your choice as it can be a stressful time for any parent awaiting allocation of a school place let alone if you have a child who needs some extra care.

Helen and her team are outstanding and we are proud to have them working within our organisation. Postings like yours just put the icing on our cake, as an organisation delivering healthcare!

Your posting has brought a happy tear to my eye as I hope it does to others who read this.

Kind regards


Have a great weekend and I hope J continues to thrive at his new school!.

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