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English Curiculum

Improving our pupils’ communication and literacy skills is essential to improve their life prospects.

All pupils develop their literacy skills at a pace and level appropriate to their needs. The primary goal being to develop life-long skills that can be used long after the pupils no longer access a classroom.

West SILC English III-1 icon(1)
Informal Curriculum
CMLN - Communication

Improving our students’ communication is essential to them leading inclusive meaningful lives.

Using Intensive Interaction techniques, we support our students to develop their ability to engage in social communication, express their emotions and communicate wants and needs, including how to say ‘no’!

As students develop the Fundamentals of Communication we introduce the skills needed to indicate choices and make requests using more conventional systems used though the SILC including photographs, SCERT’s, PEC’s and augmented communication systems (AAC).

It is essential that students with CMLN have the desire and ability to initiate communication, therefore any attempt by them to do so takes priority within any task.

We have consistent routines within the Partnership to allow pupils to build on previous learning experiences and have the many hundreds of opportunities to practice initiating communication.

Anticipation of these routines is supported by musical cues and /or Objects of Reference.

CCA - Communication and Language

In CCA, we follow a pupil centred, play based curriculum to develop skills in the 'Fundamentals of Communication' through intensive interaction. The activities pupils engage in are used as a vehicle to promote communication and interaction and to ensure positive relationships between pupils and staff.

All staff are skillful communicators and they use these skills to engage the pupils in 'intensive interaction' sessions. We use a playful approach with a focus on the pupils' interests to ensure they are motivated to join us in activities.

We have a private Speech and Language Therapist from Talking House who supports our pupils and staff to create communication targets, resources and strategies to help our pupils’ communication skills. These include Attention Autism sessions, Makaton, symbols, sequencing, communication and PODD books, AAC, communication aids and aided language displays. We can also refer pupils for NHS speech and language therapy input.

The SCERTs framework underpins planning and assessment and prioritises learning and development of Social Communication and Emotional Regulations skills. These skills are essential to enable our pupils to access the curriculum and wider world.

Many of our pupils demonstrate 'spiky profiles' where their Maths and English skills are more advanced than their core skills. We differentiate the learning for these pupils to ensure they don't lose skills they have developed but are still able to make progress in communication, physical development and PSHE. We absolutely promote high levels of progress for all learners and value adult led focused learning where appropriate without losing sight of individual needs.
Semi-Formal Curriculum
Communication and Literacy

Improving our pupils’ communication and literacy skills so they are literate communicators is essential to them leading as independent lives as possible.

Using a range of resources, strategies and intervention techniques we support our pupils to develop their ability to engage in social communication, express their emotions and make progress with their communication skills.

Communication covers the ability and motivation to communicate in a widening range of situations, interacting, co-operating and working with other people.

Speaking and listening/ signing and watching covers the development of receptive and expressive language through speech and/or sign/or symbols and PECs.

Literacy combines the skills of reading and writing, including, exploring, enjoying and learning about sounds, words and text and experiencing a rich variety of books.

We use a variety of appropriate packages including the Read, Write Inc synthetic phonics scheme and Lexia to support pupils’ progress in reading.

We have a private Speech and Language Therapist from Talking House who supports our pupils and staff to create communication targets, resources and strategies to help our pupils’ communication skills. These include Attention Autism sessions, task plans, using colourful semantics, Makaton, symbols, sequencing, communication and PODD books, ACC, communication aids, aided language displays, word maps, sentence strips. We can also refer pupils for NHS speech and language therapy input.

Circle time occurs at least on a daily basis which further develops relationships between adults-peers, peers-peers. In addition, it develops pupil confidence to communicate in a wider context, giving opportunities to share news and achievements/concerns.
Formal Curriculum
Literacy - Priesthorpe

Pupils at Priesthorpe have a minimum of eight English lessons per fortnight (as part of a two-week timetable) and KS3 students have two additional literacy lessons. However, the development of literacy is recognised as a collective responsibility across all curriculum areas. The promotion of literacy is evident across the school. Every classroom door displays a poster detailing the member of staff’s current reading book and every Tuesday and Thursday, 10 minutes of reading is timetabled into the school day. Partnership English lessons broadly follow the mainstream curriculum; however, this is highly differentiated in line with the needs of the class and is supplemented with additional skills and phonics lessons where necessary. Within reading lessons, the class is divided into groups and specific interventions take place with a focus on phonics, word recognition, spelling, comprehension and the development of vocabulary. Within the mainstream curriculum, the long-term plans are thematic in nature which allows staff to choose texts appropriate to the profile of the class. Students have the opportunity to study prose, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction. Within all schemes, there is a focus on spoken language in addition to reading and writing. We use a variety of appropriate packages including Read, Write Inc. and Lexia Power Up to support pupils’ progress in reading. We also deliver specific interventions to key students based on their reading ages. We endeavour to provide as much 1:1 reading intervention as possible to accelerate progress and close gaps in knowledge. The intention is that this will allow pupils to access Entry Level Certificates and GCSEs as they advance to KS4. All staff share the firm belief that literacy is essential in the development of independence. Students have the opportunity to take part in work experience and life skills trips into the community, which further reinforce the skills they learn in a classroom-based setting.

Literacy 14-19

We develop functional reading, writing and speaking and listening whilst we work towards Functional Skills qualifications to celebrate and confirm pupil’s development and achievement however this is not the end goal. These qualifications support the independence and employability skills that our pupils develop whilst accessing the curriculum.

During classroom-based learning pupils are supported to develop their reading skills using material they will find in real world situations. Job advertisements, application forms, menus, leaflets, newspapers, posters, recipes and instructions are all used to replicate real world scenarios. The pupils are supported to develop their ability to find, extract and interpret information. To infer and compare as well as understand the basics of language. The environment is stimulating and represents tasks pupils will find in real world situations to ensure they are given every opportunity to develop transferrable skills.

Our curriculum helps pupils to read for purpose, in different contexts such as symbols and logos as well as understanding the range of signs they may encounter in and outside college. The pupils are given opportunities to practise these weekly when taking part in life skills trips.

We use a variety of appropriate packages including Read, Write inc, Lexia as well as age/developmentally appropriate reading schemes to support pupils’ progress in reading.

Our aim is to move them towards automaticity. Research shows Lexia helps improve the reading gap for more than 50% of those surveyed. We often combine the use of phonics and ‘real books’ in varying degrees based on the pupils’ capacity and levels of engagement. Though this approach may typically be seen as mutually exclusive research highlights this approach as particularly impactful for raising reading, writing and spelling attainment (Solity, J.E. & Vousden, J. (2009) Real Books and Reading Schemes: A perspective from Instructional Psychology. Educational Psychology, 29, 4, 469-511).

When developing writing skills, we focus on comprehension of language, sentence structure and context-based writing. Pupils have regular practise on being able to write formally and informally the difference between the two and in what situations the two may be found. This takes the form of practising the conventions of writing letters and emails. These skills are practised regularly as part of their literacy lessons.

Pupils take part in weekly or biweekly work experience and life skills trips into the community which further reinforce the skills they learn in a classroom-based setting. Writing skills are reinforced with the completion of work experience diaries and their work on the ASDAN Employability qualification.

Pupils are expected to complete homework which not only reinforces their learning at college but develops self-help and organisational skills and an awareness of timescales.

Pupils are each given a diary that they are expected to bring to college every day and keep organised, this includes awareness of future events/meetings to support them in developing their independence. Embedding the idea of independence and responsibility in all aspects of their school life.

 

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