Speaking and Listening

All classes offer a carefully considered learning environment that is engaging and stimulating.  Effective communication is a vehicle for all other learning and is embedded into all teaching practice, enabling our pupils to express their ideas, needs and feelings in positive ways in all aspects of their lives.

The SCERTS framework provides a specific framework for enabling pupils to become a more successful social communicators. This is achieved through the development of spontaneous, functional communication and promotion of emotional and physical well-being through secure relationships with trusted others.

There are three Partner Stages to meet the full range of ages and communicative abilities
1. Social Partner – these are pupils working at a Pre-symbolic stage of communication: communicating through gestures and vocalisations
2. Language Partner – these are pupils working at a Symbolic stage of communication: communicating with speech, photos, pictures, sign language, speech generating devices
3. Conversational Partner – these are our pupils working at a subject specific level of learning who have Sophisticated Language skills and are able to engage in Reciprocal Communication: communicating in sentences through speech or alternative augmentative communication (AAC)

We use Intensive Interaction to teach the fundamentals of communication and to help our pupils grow into confident, independent learners.

The Fundamentals of Communication are:

  • Learning how to have fun with other people – learning how to play
  • Learning to give, extend and share attention with another person – then developing such shared attention into and across sociable or joint ‘activities’
  • Learning about the significance of proximity and sharing personal space
  • Learning how to take turns
  • Learning to use and understand eye contact within social interactions
  • Learning about non-verbal communication such as gestures, facial expressions and body language
  • Learning to use and understand vocalisations, developing more varied and extensive vocalisations that gradually become more precise and meaningful
  • Learning to regulate and control emotional responses and arousal level

Speech and language therapy is provided throughout the curriculum and integrated into all learning opportunities. We use a total communication approach which includes Objects of Reference, Core Vocabulary, symbols, Language Boards, Makaton and the spoken word.  We use pupils’ preferred communication strategies to promote choice making, expressing feelings, emotions and views and to interact meaningfully with adults and peers.

We have a number of families with English as a second language; bi-lingual support is available within school for families who speak Polish, Urdu, Punjabi, Hinko, Pushto and Bengali. Support from the Local Authority’s translation service is available to families who need further support.