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Contracts and additional services

From April 2020, Sheffield NHS Speech and Language Therapy Services will be offering contracts to schools in a new way.  This will not affect schools which already have a contract with us unless you want to increase your contracted hours.  Those schools would need to cancel their current contract and apply for a new one under this system.

Buying in additional services

The Sheffield Speech and Language Therapy Service provides an equitable service across the city into all primary and secondary schools.  However, resources are often insufficient to meet the growing need.  As a result, some schools and units choose to purchase additional speech and language therapy support to top up the level of service provided by the NHS.

Please contact Alice Woods ( if you would like to discuss your requirements further.

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The contract

  • Due to difficulties recruiting to small contracts, we are no longer able to take on contracts of less than 2 ½ days. If you are interested in a smaller contract, you may be able to work together with other schools to put together a larger contract. 
  • If you are contracting as a group of schools, one school will need to take the lead in managing the contract financially. You would need to make one payment to the Speech and Language Therapy service and decide amongst yourselves how you split the money depending on the amount of input each school is getting.
  • If individual schools are buying less than a day, the group of schools would need to take geography into account, given that the therapist would be travelling between schools during the day.
  • Contracts are for NHS Agenda for Change Band 6 therapists (i.e. around 3 years’ experience)
  • Contracts need to be for a minimum of 3 years. This is necessary to support recruitment (i.e. to make posts attractive to therapists not currently working in Sheffield who might be on a permanent contract elsewhere.)
  • Contracts are term time only.
  • Contracts employ staff on one session (half-day) more than is clinically required by schools. This is to enable the therapist to have supervision, training and development, mandatory training required by the Trust, and flexibility for training across schools without impacting on the input for individual schools.

A different therapist will provide NHS input for the school. For school aged children, NHS provision would cover

  • new referrals (seen within 18 weeks of referral), EHCP assessments and reports
  • work related to completed EHCPs.

A school could opt out of their NHS provision (e.g. if they wanted their contracted therapist to see a new referral in a more timely manner).

Children in Early Years (pre-school) seen within contracts would still be able to access NHS clinic pathways, in line with NHS waits from the point of referral (e.g. within the NHS at the current time, there is an 18 week wait for triage assessment, and a 12 week wait for language groups, so if a child is assessed in a contract they wouldn’t be able to access language groups for 8 months from the point of referral).

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NHS responsibility

  • The NHS would supervise and manage staff, and provide internal training and development. Funding of external training requests would need to be discussed with schools and agreed on a case by case basis.
  • The NHS would provide resources (laptops, phones, access to assessments etc)
  • The NHS would pay travel costs

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School responsibility

  • Schools would be involved in recruitment, i.e. be on the interview panel.
  • Sick leave / carer leave would be carried by the schools according to Trust policies i.e. not repaid out of NHS time.

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Maternity leave

In the event of your contracted therapist going on maternity leave:

  • We will try to recruit to 66% of your original contract to cover the period of the maternity leave
  • If schools wish to contribute a further 34%, we will try to recruit to the full post to cover the period of the maternity leave.
  • If we are unable to recruit cover for the maternity leave, we will refund 66% of the cost of the contract for the period of the maternity leave but schools would not receive a bought-in service.

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Charges are reviewed annually and increase to reflect any increases in cost to the Trust. Below are the cost to Schools for a Band 6 therapist for the academic year September 2023 – August 2024; these figures are provided as a guide:

Clinical sessions in schoolCost
A day a week for an academic year:£11,850
A morning a week for an academic year:£7,270

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Recruitment and retention

  • Recruitment takes around 5 months from the point of a formal request for a contract. It can take longer depending on notice periods of the successful candidate
  • Therapists would not start contract work until recruitment (including backfill if position is taken internally) is complete – i.e. posts will not be filled from current staffing.
  • If we are unable to recruit, we will not be able to take on the contract. In such cases, we will work with you to see if the post can be made more attractive to potential applicants.
  • Therapists would need to give 3 months’ notice if wanting to leave the post
  • If the therapist leaves the post, nobody new would be put in until the new recruitment had taken place (i.e. we would not fill the contract with NHS therapist time). The cost of the contract would be adjusted according to the time the post was left vacant.

Please contact Alice Woods ( if you would like to discuss your requirements further.

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