Frances Johnstone, Director

Principal Speech and Language Therapist


With 17 years of clinical and management experience in the NHS, Frances has a track record of driving service innovation.

Frances has worked extensively with children and young people aged 0 - 19 with complex medical and developmental needs and their families in a range of clinical settings.  These include:

  • special schools

  • mainstream schools

  • Autism Outreach Service

  • pre-school special needs service

  • community dysphagia service

She specialised early in her career in working with children with complex needs and her most recent role has been as Principal Speech and Language Therapist in Paediatric Dysphagia (eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties).

Frances’s extensive post-graduate clinical training includes:

  • PECS

  • Attention Autism

  • ADOS

  • Talking Mats

  • Intensive Interaction

  • Makaton

She is also a qualified Elklan tutor.

Frances completed a post-graduate qualification in paediatric dysphagia in 2003 and has significant experience in supporting children and their families through a variety of feeding challenges. She is also qualified to implement the SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) approach to feeding. 

From a leadership perspective, Frances has held numerous management positions to include management of special schools and early years SLT services, management of a community dysphagia (eating, drinking and swallowing) service, and Professional Management of a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy Service.  She has a proven track record of designing and implementing effective service change, ranging from the development and review of clinical carepathways, to service wide re-design projects. Examples of some of the projects she has successfully implemented are:

  • Paediatric (0-19) SLT Service re-design successfully implementing the Care Aims Philosophy

  • Secured additional funding from Clinical Commissioning Groups following comprehensive service review

  • Successful re-design of multi-disciplinary feeding team resulting in increased capacity and streamlined support for families

  • Development, implementation and review of competency levels for therapy staff

  • Policy and service development with special schools’ senior leadership teams related to communication and feeding, successful embedding cultural change within the school settings

  • High quality bespoke INSET training for schools linking to their school development plans with exceptional feedback from staff

Frances is a firm believer that with the right attitude, anything is possible. 

With a truly collaborative approach to all aspects of her work, and a focus on outcomes and impact, Frances supports outstanding teaching practice in school settings, and builds respectful, trusting relationships with parents. Through these strong links, Frances works to improve the lives of those with communication and feeding challenges.