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For Professionals Working with Children & Young People

The Art Therapy Space is currently working in mainstream and private schools in East, West and South West London, providing Art Therapy for children aged between 3-15 years old. 

Our services can be contracted with an individual Art Therapist or by contracting a number of Art Therapists for larger service provision, for example, working across a number of schools. 

 Art Therapy can be full- or part-funded via a number of sources, some of which are listed below.


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (September 1990) states: “The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; that this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds... either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”  (Article 13)

The Arts Therapies are included in The Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan for Wales (Welsh Assembly Government, April 2008):

  • Section 12 (p. 28) lists Arts Therapies as those being regulated by the Health Professions Council and represented on the Welsh Assembly Advisory Committee.
  • Section 15 (p. 16) establishes the centrality of play specialists in the assessment and provision of behavioural management advice.
  • Section 23 (p. 30) states that the Arts Therapies provide an accessible and appropriate form of psychotherapy for those with ASD.
  • Arts Therapies are identified as a key intervention for ASD assessment (p. 52 and 53) and education (p. 54), and as a core therapeutic intervention (p. 57 and 59).
  • Services should be provided through Tiers 1 - 4 (p.24).


Art Therapy in Education

When pupils are experiencing emotional difficulties they find learning very hard and their inclusion in school life is affected. Art Therapy as a form of intervention can assist with an individual's psychological, emotional, educational, social and physical development.

Art Therapy carried out in the familiar environment of school, is highly accessible to children of all ages and their families, who might not fit into the criteria of a referral to agencies outside school. 

As an early intervention, Art Therapy can help reduce the escalation of some problems for children and their families by identifying many issues that can potentially lead to a greater level of intervention into adolescence and beyond.  

Art Therapy in schools provides support for pupils in line with the SEN Code of Practice. For example Art Therapists contribute to IEP reviews and multi-professional meetings.  

Art Therapy can compliment SEAL and help achieve targets set out in the local Children and Young People’s Plan.


Art Therapy in Health and Social Care

Art Therapy can provide support to children and families who are involved with local Safeguarding and Social Care Services or Child and Family Service / CAMHS. 


How Does Art Therapy Help?

Art Therapy can help improve behaviour, raise achievement, encourage attendance and help pupils take part more fully in school life.   

Pupils who may benefit are those:
  • In danger of exclusion 
  • Experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties
  • With social or communication difficulties
  • Struggling with particular life events such as bereavement, changes in family structure, or illness
  • Who are Looked After Children
  • Who are refugees
  • Who have suffered abuse, bullying or trauma
  • Who have learning difficulties or physical difficulties
  • Who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders

These pupils may present as withdrawn, anxious, angry, depressed, moody, violent or disaffected.


What Happens in a Referral and Assessment?

Staff play an important role in identifying vulnerable children. 

Children and young people referred to an Art Therapist need not have creative skill or flare. The Art Therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the art work. 

Once identified, the next step is to refer the child to us directly or through a designated member of staff.

We will then:

  • Liaise with parents, carers, teachers, social workers and where there is a Lead Professional.
  • Recommend either individual or group art therapy, on a weekly basis for a designated period of time.
  • Schedule sessions to fit with the child's timetable and be staff recommendation.
  • Make onward referrals if necessary.
  • Continue to liaise with staff on a regular basis for any ongoing concerns.


Funding for Art Therapy

Art therapy in education can be funded through a variety of sources including:

·         Main School Budget

·         Extended Services/Extended Schools:  (ended March 2011) Art Therapy comes under the core offer for mental health and healthcare provision: "Swift and Easy Access to Specialist Services”  You will find examples of funding for Art Therapy provided during school hours. 

·         SEN funding can be allocated as part of a child’s statement.  

·         Looked After Children: Looked After Children are allocated a budget via the local Council's LAC Resources Team.  Please contact your local office for more details.

·         School PTA:  As a community organisation, a school's PTAs might be entitled to apply for sources of funding that schools, as statutory bodies, cannot. 

·         Grant-making Trusts and local organisations:  Schools may apply through their PTA (once it has obtained charitable status) to all of the major grant making trusts - for instance BBC Children in Need / Big Lottery etc. 

·         Big Lottery Fund:  “Reaching Communities” and “Young People’s Fund 2” have both been open to applications for art therapy, particularly with focus around ECM targets.

·         The Children’s Fund (ended in April 2008) has been used to fund Art Therapy.  Continued funding in some areas had been allocated from the Children’s Trust.  

·         There also are several examples of schools using Art Therapy: Teachernet and at the Big Lottery Fund websites.

You can find more information sources at Useful Links

Please Contact Us if you would like to discuss any particular needs.














Images © 2008 Nicky Sutton & Laura Butt