Physiotherapy Research & Development Hub…innovating from the ground up

Unlike many special schools, Humberston park has developed its own integrated evidence-based approach.  Our physiotherapy team is an innovative research and design hub which infuses therapeutic interventions into educational approaches, helping to maximise the potential of our children.  We are passionate in driving forward new ideas and innovations to improve practices which will impact on our pupils’ physical development.  Please contact the School if you would like further information.

Led by our Consultant Physiotherapist, Dr Frances George, our work and approach towards posture, standing and dynamic control is not only innovative it is also one of a kind. Our physical development programme is part of world leading research into neurological and physical development.  We are constantly challenging and driving the field of posture and rehabilitation to improve the impact and outcomes for not only our pupils but for all children with complex physical, medical and sensory needs.

Our specialised research and design hub sees innovative projects which span across industry, academia and physiotherapy, and which are embedded within everyday practice.  This is important, as we strive to make developments which have a direct impact on our pupils and their family’s everyday lives. Some examples of this are:

Posture & Assessment

Dr Frances George, has done extensive research into postural assessment, developing a standardised assessment to improve postural interventions as part of her PhD doctorate.  This work is now changing clinical approaches to postural assessment with therapists across the UK and wider using the assessment tool developed.  The impact of this is improve practices and services for children with postural issues:

  • Supporting clinical rationale by providing an accurate, standardised assessment supporting an evidence-based justification clinical intervention. Child-centered approach with postural approaches tailored & individualised to equipment selection and provision
  • Improved effectiveness, accurately assess body alignment and evaluate effectiveness of equipment provision. Enhanced Efficiency supporting more targeted and appropriate equipment being prescribed
  • Quality Assurance whereby clear justification of clinical decisions optimises use of funds and resources. Supporting sustainability through which the most appropriate piece of equipment can be provided.

See Dr Frances George talk about the innovate research undertaken to improve assessment in posture and postural development:

Publication: Development and Content Validity of the Clinical Assessment of Body Alignment for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Published in Pediatric Physical Therapy in Vol. 32, No. 2.

Available at:

Dynamic Standing

Our involvement in the design and research on the Meerkat stander its impact has opened up opportunities for children to develop their postural control and functional abilities anytime, anywhere with anyone.

Our research on this field is world leading. We are currently working with the university of Huddersfield & Keele University, exploring the impact targeted dynamic standing has in order to set out clinical guidance on dynamic standing training programs for children with neurological disabilities. Our work on dynamic standing is being disseminated across the UK and wider. Links to our research can be found here:

Publication: George F, A case series exploring static and dynamic posture: how making static equipment dynamic may improve movement and function of children with neurological impairment. APCP Journal 2018;9:56-63

Available at:

Abducted Standing

Our pioneering work on abducted standing to improve hip integrity, has seen us take our practice on the road presenting to family, carers and therapists across the UK, Denmark and USA. This approach has now become a national standard across the UK.

Partnerships & Research Collaborations

Collaborative relationships with UK institutions, including: University of Huddersfield, Keele University, York St John university, Innovation, NHS Humber & North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) Research & Improvement System (IRIS).

Training sessions in posture management and postural assessment in clinical application delivered to University of Huddersfield undergraduate physiotherapy students.

Co-researcher on dynamic standing research project currently ongoing with lead researchers from University of Huddersfield and Keele University.

Research bid application to the NIHR (National institute for Health and Care Research) in process with University of Huddersfield and Keele University.

Contributions to undergraduate modules on the physiotherapy and Occupational therapy courses on posture assessment, paediatric physiotherapy within education and posture management approaches in clinical and community settings. Also provides support to undergraduate students in research design for undergraduate research projects.