MOVE Programme

At the end of 2020, we asked special schools using the MOVE Programme about the mobility progress their students had made since September 2019. They consistently told us about the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on their pupil’s physical development, with 93% stating that multiple lockdowns have affected their students' mobility. Despite this, they also highlighted that the MOVE Programme had been a huge help in preventing regression throughout multiple lockdowns.


Disabled children have been the hardest hit

While multiple lockdowns have impacted all children, disabled young people have been particularly negatively affected. Our qualitative evidence from education and physiotherapy professionals highlighted the reasons why: during the COVID-19 pandemic it is not just access to education that they have missed out on, but also access to therapy input and specialist equipment. Added to these challenges are delays to medical procedures needed for long-term health conditions. All of these factors mean that disabled children are not accessing the opportunities they need to practice skills, leading to regression in their physical development and poorer overall wellbeing.

Our findings are supported by The Disabled Children’s Partnership 'Longest Lockdown' report, which found that over 70% of disabled children could not access vital therapies, and over 50% of parents had witnessed deterioration in their child’s condition due to this lack of access to therapy and medical procedures.

Bridging therapy gaps, upskilling education staff and empowering families

At a time when disabled young people have been at home for long periods of time with reduced access to education or therapy input, the MOVE Programme has been key to many children’s continued skill maintenance and development. This is because the programme is collaborative and empowers the whole team supporting the disabled individual, including families and education staff.

Children who have been shielding at home have been able to maintain and even progress their skills because their families have been supported to continue providing movement opportunities at home.

MOVE has been vital for us as it has helped young people and their families to have the skills, motivation and confidence to maintain and improve their physical independence at home…I was astounded by the amazing head control I saw from one of my pupils recently!– PMLD Lead, London

For children who have continued to access the school environment throughout the pandemic, the lack of therapy input has been mitigated by their teachers being heavily involved in their mobility progression.

We have had significantly less physiotherapy input for many months now…However, as a high number of our education staff are MOVE trained, they have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure motivating movement opportunities are provided throughout the child’s school day- Assistant Headteacher, London

By upskilling the whole team, the MOVE Programme has helped to bridge gaps in provision and has enabled 549 children to gain or maintain mobility skills in 2020.

Recover With MOVE

We support the Disabled Children's Partnership's call for an ambitious and funded COVID recovery plan for disabled children, covering not just education but also health and wellbeing.

We recommend the MOVE Programme as a best-practice framework to support positive health, wellbeing and education outcomes that should be accessed by all children that could benefit. The MOVE Programme is a cost-effective, holistic method that is supporting disabled children to mitigate the long-term health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, regain lost mobility skills and continue making progress.

We are committed and ready to enable all disabled children to reach their full potential. Add your voice to our campaign by using the hashtag #RecoverWithMOVE and sharing our infographics!