Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

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Last updated: 12/06/2024

Parent's Newsletter - Feb 2022

Parent's Newsletter - Feb 2022

Date added: Wednesday 2nd February 2022
Latest updated: Thursday 23rd February 2023

Dear Parents & Carers,

Re: News and updates


I have a couple of news items to share with you all and a polite request in my last newsletter for this month.  January is nearly over and Spring is (hopefully) on its way...


Speech & Language Therapy (S&LT) at Vranch House

We are sad to announce that our S&LT, Elle Spark, will be leaving us in February 2022.  Elle has been a highly valued member of the school and Outpatient teams and she has been instrumental in moving the use of Augmentative, Alternative Communication (AAC) forward for many children and young people during her time with us.

Elle is leaving to explore the wider field of S&LT outside of Specialist provision and we wish her every future success and happiness in her new role.

A new therapy comes to Vranch House!

Those of you visiting the school recently may have noticed the magnificent black mechanical horse that has taken residence in our school hall.  Kirsty Scales, one of our dedicated physiotherapists, is completing a Hippotherapy course and has already reported back to our Chief Executive the huge potential benefits of this form of therapy for many of the children and young people we deliver therapy and educational services to. 

But what is Hippotherapy?  Leckey, the company who manufactures much of the equipment our pupils use on a daily basis, give a good description and summary of this type of therapy on their website:

"Hippotherapy, derived from the Greek word ‘hippos', meaning horse, is a form of physical therapy for children and adults that uses the motion of a walking horse to provide therapeutic movement to the rider. It is a treatment that is used to bring about change in children and adults, in areas including balance, strength, sitting posture or sensory deficits. 

Everything from neurological to musculoskeletal, developmental delay to degenerative conditions, genetic or acquired, there is an increasing amount of clinical evidence now available in support of the positive impact that the horse can have in rehabilitation and functional improvement, impacting on both the physical and mental well-being of an individual"

Extract taken from: https://www.leckey.com/search-results?q=Hippotherapy


Kirsty then went on to apply to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for funding for a mechanical horse, ceiling track hoist and associated equipment, and was successful!  We cannot thank the Masonic Charitable Foundation enough for their generosity and support in helping us to bring this exciting form of therapy to Vranch House.  We have already seen some incredible responses and results from having trialed this with a cross section of pupils and will be rolling this therapy out across the school as soon as Kirsty has trained fellow staff members in delivering this form of therapy.  You can see pictures of the horse on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VranchHouseSchool


Administering Calpol (Paracetamol) in school

Many of you have signed the medical consent form to say that you are happy for your child to be given Calpol (Paracetamol) by our Nurse team whilst they are in school.  If your child requires daily/regular paracetamol for pain relief or to help them overcome symptoms of other illness, can you please send a bottle of Calpol/paracetamol in with your child for the duration that they require this to be given in school.  We do not receive any funding for the purchase of such medicines and as we have grown in pupil numbers, we are currently spending a considerable sum of money on liquid paracetamol alone.


COVID - 19 Update

14 days after I last wrote to you all with an explanation of the new guidance of relaxing COVID testing, we have received more (and in parts self-contradicting) guidance on further relaxing of social restrictions and the wearing of face coverings.

The Management Team at Vranch House have once again reviewed our COVID risk assessments and, until such time as the infection and hospitalization rates drop and stay low in the Devon area, we remain unmoved in our present approach to protecting the pupils, outpatients, families and staff of Vranch House.  All staff will continue in their wearing of face masks, heightened hand and surface hygiene and limiting the mixing of class groups.

We respectfully ask that you wear face coverings, unless you are medically exempt, and make regular use of the hand sanitizing stations when visiting the school.

Dates for your diaries:

Friday 18th February 2022, 2pm - Spring term, 1st half, ends

Monday 21st to Friday 25th February 2022, inclusive - Half Term.  School closed to pupils

Monday 28th February 2022 - Spring Term, 2nd half, commences


As ever, if you have any queries or concerns please do contact me.


Yours sincerely

Ian Norton

Head of Education