Caroline Thorpe

Caroline is a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant working with children for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. Caroline was nominated by Lucy Rawcliffe, Speech and Language Therapist Clinical Lead.

“I would like to nominate our Speech and Language Therapy Assistant Caroline for this award. Caroline works in mainstream schools and this role can be challenging in a number of ways:

  1. She has a large caseload which means that children often wait a long time for a block of intervention. This can be frustrating when we know how much the children need the therapy and how much they benefit when it is provided quickly and consistently.
  2. School staff are sometimes not available to meet with Caroline and attend her sessions, rooms may not have been booked for her to work in, schools can cancel sessions at the last minute, or not inform Caroline if a student is not in school. This leads to wasted journeys and loss of therapy sessions which could have been used for other children.

Despite all these challenges and frustrations, Caroline is constantly positive and looking for solutions to make things better. She sometimes has to have difficult conversations with school staff and parents and is always compassionate in these situations, seeking to understand the situation from the other party’s point of view and to collaborate with them to provide the most appropriate care for each individual child.

During COVID-19, and since, Caroline has strived to provide an inclusive service, quickly setting up video therapy sessions for students in the home when face to face visits could not be attended, providing accessible and individualised therapy resources to families, and trying to problem solve when families did not have the technology or internet connections to access therapy sessions. Due to Caroline’s innovations, many children were offered teletherapy sessions during COVID-19, when many other services had stopped providing interventions. Beyond COVID-19 Caroline has offered to work additional hours over school holidays to provide extra therapy blocks so that as many children can access the service as possible.

Caroline is thoughtful and reflective, and seeks to liaise and engage with other professionals, such as social care, and school nurses, when this is indicated.”

“Caroline is excellent and looking at each child holistically, to consider their wider social, academic and mental health needs as she plans her sessions and interventions.”

“As one of the mainstream school Clinical Leads, I am so very grateful to have Caroline in our team. She constantly amazes me with her dedication and passion to the role and challenges me to look further at what we can do differently to meet the needs of the children we work with.  For these reasons I believe that Caroline would be an excellent candidate for this award.”