Buckinghamshire Therapies Strategy 2023 to 2026 consultation

Closed 9 Jan 2023

Opened 21 Nov 2022


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We want to hear your views on a draft strategy to support children and young people’s therapy needs in Buckinghamshire.

We have also developed a survey to ask young people about their views on the proposed changes. Young people can complete this on their own or with support from a parent, carer, or professional.

Go to the young people’s version of the survey

Some older young people may feel more comfortable completing the survey below for parents, professionals and other adults, including adults with experience of receiving support.

Please choose which survey you feel most comfortable with. The responses for both surveys are equally valued and important.


Our Therapies Strategy proposes a shared approach to therapy provision and support across Buckinghamshire. We want to ensure that:

  • children and young people's needs are identified as soon as possible
  • children and young people can access therapy support at the earliest stage

This will reduce demand for, and dependence on, the limited specialist provision available. It will also improve access to specialist provision for children and young people with more complex needs.

Guidance and best practice describe a move away from referring all children and young people to an expert therapist for support. For Buckinghamshire, we are proposing to:

  • move towards a better balance of support across universal, targeted and specialist levels of support
  • install a whole school approach to the delivery of therapy support
  • support the role of community delivery in supporting children and young people's development

This approach would develop expertise within a child or young person's everyday environment. The benefits of this are:

  • Children and young people would receive support with their development at the earliest point of intervention
  • Reducing the level of escalating need being seen in Buckinghamshire
  • Improving outcomes for children and young people

The strategy will guide continuous improvement in therapy provision and support up to 2026. 

We want to hear your views and suggestions about the draft strategy to help ensure it meets the therapy needs of children and young people.

Buckinghamshire Therapies Strategy 2023 to 2026

More Information

  • Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) supports children and young people to develop effective speech, language, and social communication skills. It also works with children and young people who have problems eating or drinking. 
  • Occupational Therapy (OT) works with children and young people who have ‘functional difficulties’ or a physical and / or learning disability which impacts upon their daily participation in activities. This means their ability to learn and develop, socialise and play may be compromised.
  • Physiotherapy (PT) supports children and young people who have difficulty with movement and treat short and long-term conditions that impact on physical development, activity, and their ability to participate in play, learning and socialising.

For more information, please see the draft Buckinghamshire Therapies Strategy 2023 to 2026 (PDF 0.42MB).

More Information

Our draft vision for children and young people’s therapy needs is:

  • To enable Buckinghamshire children and young people with therapy needs to live full, happy and healthy lives
  • To support children to develop the skills they need to access education and to take part in daily living activities. This will enable children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to realise their full potential

We will achieve this vision through the following draft priorities:

  • Boosting support available within community and universal settings
  • Ensuring early identification of therapy support or provision needs
  • Ensuring that the right support is in place at the right time and in an accessible location

These priorities have been developed using best practice guidance and co-production with key stakeholders. The 3 priorities are equally important.

More Information

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a Local Area Inspection in March 2022. The outcome of the inspection emphasised the need for a single Therapies Strategy for Buckinghamshire.

Timely therapy support enables children and young people with SEND to take as full and active part in their daily routines as they are able. This means that wherever possible children and young people can develop, thrive and reach their full potential.

Lack of effective therapy support at the right time and in the right place, can lead to a negative impact on:

  • educational attainment
  • employment
  • social mobility
  • mental health
  • involvement with the justice system

These then can have negative effects on longer-term health and wellbeing.

We are facing national and local challenges to therapy provision, such as a national shortage of therapists and increasing demand in Buckinghamshire.

The strategy aims to mitigate the impact of the national shortage of therapists on children and young people living in Buckinghamshire.

More Information

We have worked with key partners to shape the priority actions and outcomes set out in the draft Therapies Strategy.

A workshop was held on 25 May 2022 with key stakeholders to collectively shape the vision for therapy support and provision in Buckinghamshire.

In June 2022, key stakeholders were invited to provide initial feedback on the draft strategy. This included feedback from:

  • Schools
  • Children’s Education Service
  • Children’s Social Care
  • Specialist Teachers
  • FACT Bucks
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust
  • Oxford Health Foundation Trust
  • Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Public Health
  • Integrated Commissioning

Young people, parents and carers provided feedback at the Shout Out for SEND conference in October 2021. This was fed into the development of the draft strategy.

More Information

To help ensure this strategy meets the therapy needs of children and young people, we need to hear from a range of people, including:

  • Parent / carers of children or young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • Children and young people with SEND
  • Education setting employees (e.g. early years, schools, colleges etc.)
  • Professionals working with children and young people with SEND
  • Professionals working in an Early Help role (e.g. family support worker, within health visiting or school nursing etc.)
  • Speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists
  • Groups and organisations working with children and young people with SEND

Related documents

Before you respond to this consultation, please have a look at the following document:

Online events

More Information

We are running two online events with FACT Bucks for parents or carers to hear about the strategy and share their views. These will be held on Microsoft Teams and you will need to book to attend via Eventbrite.

  • Wednesday 7 December, from 7pm to 8pm
  • Friday 9 December, from 10am to 11am

More Information

We are running a feedback group for children and young people to share their thoughts and suggestions between November 2022 and January 2023. 

We want to hear children and young people’s experiences and views on the therapy services they access. This will help us understand what we need to improve and how we can offer better support.

If you, your child, or a child / young person you work with would like to join our feedback group or feedback individually, please contact us at preventioncommissioning@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

We will then contact you with further details of the feedback group or 1:1 sessions.

Queries and further information 

We understand that as part of this consultation, you may wish to share personal experiences about your or your child’s journey. 

Whilst we welcome this, we can only use the information you provide to inform the development of the final strategy. 

The responses to this survey are anonymous. We cannot identify you or contact you about anything you say in this survey. 

If you wish to raise a query or want more information, please contact: 

  • For queries in relation to your education setting, please contact your school or other setting

How to have your say

You can tell us your views in one of the following ways:

If you have any questions about this consultation, please email us at preventioncommissioning@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or phone us on 0300 131 6000.

Please tell us your views by midnight on Monday 9 January 2023.

What happens next

All feedback will be collated and analysed. We will use your responses to inform the final draft of the Therapies Strategy. We aim to publish the final strategy by Easter 2023.

Responses will also be used to inform the recommissioning of the Children’s Integrated Therapies Service.

We will update this page with the outcomes of the consultation.


We will use the information you provide here only for this activity. We will store the information securely in line with data protection laws and will not share or publish any personal details. For more information about data and privacy, please see our Privacy Policy.

If you have questions about data and privacy, please email us on dataprotection@buckinghamshire.gov.uk. Or write to our Data Protection Officer at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF.


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