Communication, social interaction and concept development are paramount for any child and young person and our aim is for all our pupils to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally with others in a range of social situations, appropriate to their levels and needs.
As a special needs school which caters for pupils aged 4 -16 years old with a range of complex needs, we strive to ensure that literacy is accessible for all and proportionate to the level and need at which each pupil is working, in order for all pupils to develop the functional skills needed to cope at an adult level in everyday situations such as reading a magazine or completing a job application form.
We create motivational learning opportunities that both enable and challenge learners using appropriate communication techniques including the use of voice, cues, on body signing and Makaton which all depend upon each pupil’s learning needs. Through the use of sensory objects/stimuli/switches identified in individual sensory profiles, we promote independence to develop the pupil’s ability to make choices.
Throughout the whole school day whether in lessons or during personal care, lunch times, transitioning or when out in the community, staff verbally and visually prompt the students before any activity happens. Ongoing observations between class staff and professionals, discussions and rigorous and accurate assessment procedures informs teaching and learning and is the key to the successful progress of phonics learning where appropriate.
We also ensure that all pupils have equal access to literacy, regardless of their ability through a balance of different teaching and learning methods set out in a framework within which teaching and non-teaching staff can operate and understand that despite the language delay that a majority of our pupils may experience, particularly in learning vocabulary and grammar, reading materials need to use vocabulary and concepts that are within the pupils’ understanding and experience to ensure that comprehension is possible.