Move Centre of Excellence Report 2020

‘The school has superb facilities, resources and mobility equipment which facilitates their student progress.  The school has committed high levels of resources to the MOVE Programme, including the provision of three MOVE Trainers and a MOVE Co-ordinator.

‘The MOVE Programme is referenced in a various places throughout the school, ensuring that all staff, parents and visitors are aware of the programme and its importance to the school.

‘Willow Dene School has the support of the ‘Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust’ (our physiotherapists), who have embraced the MOVE Programme and provide expert MOVE knowledge. This enables Willow Dene to provide a first rate MOVE Programme, reacting quickly to their student’s needs.

“Willow Dene is investing heavily in the resources that they provide for their students, both in manpower and equipment.  The classroom learning environment ensures that opportunities to practice MOVE skills are incorporated into everyday activities and there is a good range of postural/mobility equipment available to enable to students’ development.”

Willow Dene School is a MOVE centre of excellence and we continue to uphold the MOVE quality mark in the category of outstanding (accreditation renewed April 2020).

What is MOVE?

MOVE stands for: Movement for Learning and Life

The MOVE Programme helps people with severe disabilities acquire more abilities and independence to sit, stand, walk and transition. This is achieved through instruction, adaptive equipment, knowledge of education, therapy and family support. It is based on the principle of using and creating functional and routine opportunities to practice physical skills.

The MOVE philosophy is that movement is the foundation for learning.

MOVE focuses on what the child can already do, not what they cannot do.  It is a positive approach and goals are set that are realistic, achievable and functional. The aim of MOVE is that children are given opportunities to learn and practise new skills on a daily basis that will help develop independence, family life, social skills and well-being. Every achievement is recognised and celebrated.                                                                           

 With these increased abilities, there is:

1) Better health,

2) Easier for care providers to move or lift people,

3) More dignity, and

4) New opportunities for fuller participation and inclusion in family life, school and community.

“Life is no longer relegated to a bean bag, floor mat, wheelchair or bed.”


MOVE International

At Willow Dene we have a dedicated MOVE team, which includes staff who are trained MOVE practitioners and trainers. They work closely with the eleven MOVE classes, the physiotherapists and children’s families. There are more than 50 children on the MOVE programme and some children are going through the MOVE assessment process to create their own individual programme, targets and goals.


Once a child has been identified as a possible candidate for a MOVE programme, the team around the child, which includes the class teacher, a member of the MOVE team, the child’s school physiotherapist and the child’s parents or carers, meets to have an open discussion about what the child can do, what skills they have already acquired and identify short term targets leading to long term goals.

When the initial assessment has been completed, goals will be set that are meaningful to the child and their family. For example: to be able to sit at the table for a meal with the family.

Once goals are set the MOVE team will work out what skills are needed to achieve this goal and when these skills might be practiced within daily routines and the possibility of creating new opportunities to practice skills.

The MOVE team will look at the amount of support and prompting the child needs to start learning the new skills to achieve their short term targets and long term goals. Over time this support and prompting will hopefully decrease as the child succeeds in their targets and gains confidence in their new skills.

When the child’s individual programme has been created, the skills identified and the targets set, the MOVE Team will help classes integrate teaching MOVE skills into their everyday routines, giving the children every possible opportunity to achieve and reach their full potential.

We keep an accurate picture of children’s progress towards MOVE Motor Milestones by regularly assessing them and collecting evidence of their progress.

Our MOVE Technologist works with our physiotherapy team to develop the use of the latest equipment which will support and encourage mobility skills.  Children on both school sites have access to Medimotion bikes and the use of the school gyms.

Our MOVE team also identify motivating environments and resources which can be used by individuals or small groups to progress towards their MOVE goals.

We enjoy celebrating MOVE achievements which we do regularly, through the website, Twitter, newsletters and assemblies.  When children MOVE on from Willow Dene we provide them with a transition report.  Annually we join together to celebrate National MOVE Day.

Our school governors keep up to date with all our MOVE news through our link governor for MOVE.

Our commitment to MOVE includes investment in training to ensure continued high quality provision as the school grows.  During spring 2016 we hosted a MOVE ‘Train the Trainer’ three day course at Willow Dene and welcomed MOVE practitioners from all over the country. We regularly attend MOVE Conferences and we are part of the MOVE London Practitioner Group and the MOVE trainer group. We host MOVE training days, MOVE parent coffee mornings and open days and will continue to do more in the future.  We now have three MOVE trainers based at Willow Dene who offer a range of training opportunities for professionals and parents. We also deliver MOVE Practitioner training on behalf of MOVE to schools starting out on their MOVE journey. We are glad to support other schools in the development of their own MOVE teams, providing guidance, encouragement and assistance to implement the ethos and practice of the MOVE programme.

Feedback from our most recent training:

"The discussions were very valuable, also the trainer gave lots of time for us to ask questions.... the delivery of the course was enthusiastic and knowledgeable" - Beatrice Tate School

"We always make sure our training courses are delivered by knowledgeable trainers with a wealth of practical experience, which is why we consistently receive such great feedback. Thank you to Willow Dene School" - The MOVE Programme at Enham Trust.


The Willow Dene Gym’s at Swingate Lane and Oakmere Road

The Willow Dene Gyms are a collaboration between the school, the Move team and the physiotherapy team. We have a dedicated space on both school sites that has been developed into a working gym. We currently have several Medimotion bikes at Swingate Lane, one in the Gym and others in dedicated areas around the school. At Oakmere Road we have two Medimotion bikes and an iJoy. The impact of this highly specialised and cutting edge equipment on our children’s physical skills has been so positive that we are now looking for new and innovative ways to develop mobility skills leading to independence.

Identified children have weekly exercise sessions using the Medimotion bikes. Children of all abilities can use the bikes as they are designed to be accessible to children with limited independent mobility.

Medimotion bikes provide children with the opportunity to:

•Build muscle strength

•Take deep breaths and raise heart rate

•Build up stamina and exercise tolerance

•Loosen muscles to work against stiffness

•Take part in regular fun exercise

•Promote fitness

The iJoy is a horse riding simulator that promotes balance, builds core strength and supports posture. Our children use it to help them to develop movement in sitting. It improves muscle strength in a targeted way through the different settings:

  • The pitching motion tones abdominal muscles
  • The rolling motion strengthens inner thighs and mid-torso muscles
  • The yawing motion targets lumbar muscle groups

Children that use the gym have shown great excitement from their very first session and often ask for more sessions. All of the equipment supports children to develop their stamina, exercise for longer periods and to move and coordinate their bodies in new ways. Children are demonstrating that they are able to transfer these skills to other contexts, such as independent sitting, walking in their gait trainer, walking independently and even using a conventional bike. Since 2016 our Principal Physiotherapist has used the gym equipment to conduct research into the benefits cardio vascular exercise has for children who are not independently mobile.



For more information on the MOVE Programme, please visit the Enham Trust website: or contact the school and ask to speak to a member of the MOVE team.