Do Magic Words Therapists get supervision and how does this work?

Our therapists, at all levels, receive regular supervision from highly experienced senior therapists. Each therapist is assigned a clinical supervisor and we try to keep this assignment consistent as much as we can as lots of switches of supervisor can be unsettling, especially for NQPs. If we do switch who your supervisor is, this tends to be at the beginning of a new academic year where possible. When therapists first come to work with us they receive weekly supervision sessions of up to one hour; no matter what their level. This is to make sure they are given as much support as possible to settle in and get used to how we work. NQPs will receive weekly supervision for the first 3 months. This normally drops down to fortnightly and then to monthly when the therapist and supervisor agree that they are ready. More experienced therapists will move onto less frequent supervision more quickly. Our level 2 therapists (NHS equivalent band 6) receive half termly sessions and level 3s (NHS equivalent band 7) will have termly supervision. If any therapist has a clinical or line management question or issue they will receive support for it as and when it arises from their supervisor or line manager.


Will I actually get to DO therapy or is your model mainly consultative?

Yes you will get to do therapy, and lots of it! We have an emphasis on doing therapy, not just talking about it. We have had feedback that Magic Words Therapists of all levels find that their first year with us, although challenging at times, brings them a huge increase in their therapeutic skills and knowledge. We make sure that all our therapists are able to confidently provide a wide range of therapy approaches to clients and we ensure they receive training wherever needed in order to do this.

We do use a consultative approach in some instances, when appropriate, but this is just one of a range of ways we are able to provide support in the settings we work in.


How much training do Magic Words Therapists get?

We have an annual CPD programme that is carefully designed to be balanced and comprehensive and to build our therapists to be real ‘all-rounders’ who are trained in all the skills and approaches needed to make sure the intervention they provide is effective and outstanding.

We offer 6 set CPD days per year to our therapists. This covers a broad range of topics. In recent years we have had big names in the speech and language therapy world come and deliver training to our team such as Gina Davies (Attention Autism), Alison Bryan (Colourful Semantics), Melanie Cross (Attachment Disorder), Sunita Shah (Bilingualism). This year we are very much looking forward to welcoming Maggie Johnson who will be training us on working with Selective Mutism. 

We have a really solid induction programme for new team members where they are trained to work in the Magic Words way along with training them on elemnets they may be missing such as standard therpay we offer like Lego Therapy, PECS, AAC use, Makaton signing (Eleanor Harris is a regional Makaton tutor), Colourful Semantics, etc.


Do you expect therapists to see big caseloads?

We typically allocate our therapists clinic clients and / or regular school days. With the clinic work caseload sizes are governed by how many days per week each particular therapist spends working in clinic. Therapists will tend only have clients that they currently see regularly (e.g. weekly or fortnightly) on their caseload. Our therapists who go into schools go in to a given school typically one day per week throughout the academic year. We do have some schools that buy in more than 1 day per week but 1 day is standard. In a 1day per week school our guideline is that the therapist should have up to 30 children on the caseload. Some schools will have as little as 7 children on the caseload for a day per week contract.


How many sessions would I be expected to provide per day?

In a clinic day we would expect a therapist to see clients for approximately 4.5 hours of their working day. The rest of the day would be spent planning and completing clinical admin.

In school we would expect slightly more than this. During the school hours, typically 9 – 3.30, our therapists tend to spend most of this time seeing clients, minus some time for a lunch break and case note writing in between sessions (typically 5 – 10 minutes per session), the clinical admin and planning then takes place before and after school. When we take on NQPs we do ease them in gently and do not expect them to be working at full capacity immediately.


What kind of contracts do you offer?

Our therapists tend to be fully employed by us on permanent, PAYE contracts. We offer term time only to those who would like to be employed this way (lower salary but only contracted to work during the 39 weeks of the school year) or full-year employment with annual leave.

However, we do take some therapists on who are already working privately for themselves to do subcontracting work for us.


What kind of career progression can I expect?

We have had several therapists who have stayed with us all the way from their first year as a NQP right up to our band 3 managerial level (equivalent to NHS band 7). One of our core values as an organisation is carefully recruiting excellent speech and language therapists that fit our organisational culture and then nurturing and investing in them. We actively encourage our therapists to develop in their clinical, professional and therapeutic skills throughout their time with us. We want to hire people who are as passionate and inspired about speech and language therapy as we are, and then we want to nurture that passion. We are keen for our therapists to develop specialisms when they are ready to do so and to be actively involved in product and service development as well as clinical research. We want people who share our ambition to push the speech and language therapy profession forward and make exciting developments and discoveries.


What areas do you cover?

We currently see clients who live or go to school in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, parts of Essex and North and West London. At present we have clinics in Milton Keynes, St Albans, Harrow and Cambridge, and we are about to open up a clinic in Northampton.

We are always expanding so if you are not sure whether we operate in your area just get in touch.


What qualifications do I need to work as a Magic Words Therapist?

To practice as a speech and language therapist an undergraduate / postgraduate degree is required from a recognised university that offers a vocational course in speech and language therapy (sometimes referred to in different terms such as ‘speech and language sciences’ or ‘speech and language pathology’) along with registration with the HCPC (Health Care Professionals Council) and the RCSLT (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists).


Which settings do you work in?

We work in primary and secondary schools, both mainstream and special schools, specialist units such as hearing impairment and ASD units, nursery schools and preschools, client homes and day care settings. We work with other agencies such as case management firms for looked after children or children in care.


Do newly qualified therapists get support to work through their competencies?

Yes. We have taken many therapists from brand newly qualified, through their competencies with full support to do so. This process tends to take between 6 and 15 months. We have had several therapists who have stayed with us all the way from their first year as an NQP right up to our band 3 managerial level (equivalent to NHS band 7).


Will I have access to therapy resources and assessments?

Yes. We have a comprehensive range of assessments including standards like the CELF 5 and CELF preschool, the TROG, RAPT, CLEAR, STAP, STASS, DEAP and PLS. We also have less well known, more specialist assessments such as the Western Aphasia Battery, the Comprehensive Test of Phonetics and Phonology, the SCAN-3 children (auditory processing),

Feather Squadron (auditory processing), the Childhood Communication Checklist (ASD/DLD) and the Test of Adolescent and Adult Language.

We have loads of engaging toys and games to be used with children in therapy at our clinics as well as intervention programme manuals, e.g. Time to Talk, Word Aware, Talkabout, Language for Thinking to name but a few.

We have a cloud-based drive that’s jam packed with resources including a wide range of black sheep packs, plenty of SuperDuper games and resources amongst many others. If ever our therapists feel we are missing things we try to purchase what we can and we have great fun designing and making our own resources as a team.

Every therapist is allocated an iPad full of therapy and assessment apps to use in therapy and we are always on the lookout for new apps that really work to enhance the therapy we provide.


What type of case note system do Magic Words Therapists use?

We use a secure online casenote system designed for allied health professionals called WriteUpp. This works very efficiently and we absolutely love it. Each therapist is allocated a laptop so that they are able to keep up with their casenotes as per the RCSLT guidelines.


Can I work for Magic Words and the NHS at the same time?

Yes. This is fine with us and we have had many therapists who’ve worked for us in this way. Many NHS trusts prefer their therapists not to see any clients independently or through an independent organisation such as Magic Words who they could potentially see through their NHS role. For example, a therapist working for a particular trust in a particular area would be asked by the NHS not to see any children living or going to school in that particular area. If you’re in any doubt you should speak to your NHS line manager.


Do you have set care pathways?

No, we decide on the type or duration of therapy that we offer clients based on a holistic analysis of exactly what their needs are. We make our decisions in accordance with the evidence base and what is clinically appropriate for that client.