What We Teach : English
English at Bradstow School
Language and communication skills are essential for all our learners at Bradstow School and we recognise that the skills developed in English promote learning across the curriculum. We aim for our learners 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.
We teach our learners the skills they need to communicate in ways relevant to their individual needs, developing and accessing regularly their skills in communication, reading and writing. Cross-curricular themes have been developed to incorporate National Curriculum objectives and functional independent objectives whilst meeting the individual needs and learning styles of our learners.
As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School we understand that every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them and to have their views taken seriously (Article 12). We support young people to communicate in the most effective way by providing a variety of communication systems and aids as detailed below. Further relating to our literacy program is Article 9 - every child has the right to stay in contact with both parents unless this might harm them. Our learners do this through weekly letters home and are also encouraged to stay in touch with their parents through phone calls, Skype and visits where available and appropriate.
At Bradstow School, writing is interpreted as any activity that communicates and records events, experiences, information, thoughts and feelings; the most appropriate form of recording selected according to young person’s needs and abilities. All relevant communication and ICT aids are used to support and foster writing.
Using strategies from The Power of Reading schemes of work are aimed towards writing outcomes across a range of genre linked to reading, drama and Speech and Language.
This is achieved using quality texts which support the PSHE outcomes and, therefore, the wider curriculum. There is a balance between fiction, non-fiction and poetry and an emphasis on whole texts rather than extracts. Teachers use a variety of teaching methods to deliver the curriculum and achieve set learning objectives.
Using SOLAR to assess the progress of all our young people following the WSP ‘Writing’ steps, where the young people will have tailored success criteria labelled as ‘I can’ statements. These statements reflect small, digestible steps of progress to provide all young people with accessible and achievable assessment expectations, which ensure accurate and representative progress.
Our aim is to enable young people to:
- Develop an understanding of sequencing through a range of differentiated communication modes.
- Develop core functional skills through the use of photographs and symbols e.g. letters home.
- Develop skills in using objects photos and symbols to organise and sequence events of the day across the 24 hour curriculum, e.g. using schedules, ‘now and then’ boards etc.
- Develop fine motor skills through use of, manipulative toys, games and activities.
- Develop hand/eye co-ordination through tracking activities, exploring patterns, forming shapes and letters, colouring, developing and practising handwriting.
- Develop skills through tracking, over-writing, copying and tracing using variety of mediums to allow mark making to take place if functional and meaningful.
- Develop symbol processing skills through the use of technology.
For our young people, reading refers to gaining meaning from a range of sources. This could include photographs, objects of reference, symbols, Makaton signs, gesture, environmental stimuli, electronic communication devices and text.
Using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme in Key Stage 2+ and 3, phonics is delivered in discrete sessions where appropriate. Our learners phonics levels are monitored using teacher assessment and our assessment programme SOLAR to ensure progress is on track and that sessions are relevant and targeted.
Young people have a reading book and a reading diary recording when they are heard reading. In addition to the reading carried out during Read Write Inc. sessions, pupils are heard reading 2 – 3 times a week by a member of staff. Young people are encouraged to take home their reading books and reading records each day.
Using strategies from ‘The Power of Reading’ schemes of work which are aimed towards writing outcomes across a range of genre linked to reading, drama and Speech and Language. This is achieved using quality texts which support the PSHE outcomes and, therefore, the wider curriculum. There is a balance between fiction, non-fiction and poetry and an emphasis on whole texts rather than extracts. Teachers use a variety of teaching methods to deliver the curriculum and achieve set learning objectives.
We use Accelerated Reader across the whole school to promote reading for our learners. Accelerated reader is a computer based program that manages and monitors independent reading practice. Young people choose books at their own level and read at their own pace.
When finished, pupils access a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that the young person has understood what has been read. Accelerated gives both young people and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help the child set targets and ongoing reading practice. This is promoted across our 24 hour curriculum.
Our aim at Bradstow School is to enable students to:
- Discriminate between different representations.
- Develop symbolic representation, through objects, photographs, symbols or text.
- Developing skills in sequencing, with a specific focus on left to right to aid reading.
- Develop functional reading skills appropriate to individual needs in a range of environmental contexts.
- Developing reading for pleasure from a range of sources.
We use SOLAR to assess the progress of all our young people following the WSP ‘Reading’ steps, where young people will have tailored success criteria labelled as ‘I can’ statements. These statements reflect small, digestible steps of progress to provide all young people with accessible and achievable assessment expectations, which ensure accurate and representative progress.
Bradstow School focuses upon the broadest interpretation of speaking and listening all with a focus towards the development of functional communication skills.
We work in partnership with a Speech and language therapy team, designed to develop communication skills and independence through communication assessments, observations and implementation of progressive strategies.
- Communication encompasses all forms of communicative response and intent to include the following:
The use of body movements (turning to the voice, eye-contact, facial expressions and pointing – using eyes, head, feet and hands).
- Gestures / body language (clapping, waving, reaching, facial expression, idiosyncratic movement or gestures).
- All aided (all communication that requires an external device/equipment) and unaided (all communication that does not require external device/equipment – signing/voice/gesture and body language) communication systems
- Communication aids (photographs, objects of reference, symbols, Makaton signs, gesture, electronic communication devices).
- Vocalisation and speech.
- Total communication’ – encompassing all of the above systems.
Young people have access to a wide range of literature in our library to enrich and broaden their experiences. We celebrate the endeavours and achievements of all our pupils and hope that they enjoy their learning. We aim to provide a happy learning environment which enables our pupils to grow in confidence and interact socially.
At Bradstow School, speaking refers to all forms of expressive communication. This includes all forms of verbal and non-verbal communication for example, to express, greet, request, instruct, comment, and inform.
Our aim is to enable students to:
- Make their wants and needs known.
- Engage and interact with staff in order to develop relationships and social skills.
- Engage in meaningful activities.
- Develop functional and intentional communication skills.
- Develop communication methods which replace socially inappropriate functionally equivalent communicative behaviours.
- Communicate their opinions and emotions.
- Use functionally appropriate, aided and non-aided communication tools (photographs, objects of reference, symbols, Makaton signs, gesture, and electronic communication devices).