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How your child with speech and language difficulties is supported in school

There are a wide range of impairments covered by the term speech and language difficulties, including the following:

  • Expressive language – for example your child’s ability to speak in sentences
  • Language comprehension – your child’s ability to understand what people say
  • Social communication – your child’s ability to understand and use language in everyday situations
  • A broad variation in the age at which normal language develops.

Schools can refer children to a Speech and Language Therapist, who can assess your child’s needs and identify ways to support them in school.

The type and level of support required will depend on your child’s needs.

Schools will use a graduated approach - a system to identify and meet the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Most children and young people with speech and language difficulties will make good progress and achieve well when the right support is in place.

Quality First Teaching

Quality First Teaching is high quality teaching which provides appropriate learning opportunities to all pupils, whatever their individual needs. It is the first step of a graduated (or stepped) approach in responding to pupils who have, or may have, SEND. Staff knowledge and understanding of SEND is a key factor to good Quality First Teaching. outcomes.

All staff must have knowledge and understanding of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the The Equalities Act 2010.

Examples of what might be expected at this level of support:

  • Staff will be appropriately trained to support children with speech and language needs and the development of their skills in this area
  • Staff will use a range of screening methods to identify your child’s needs
  • Staff will be aware of the implications of your child’s speech and language difficulties in developing relationships with others
  • Staff will work with you to help you to support your child’s speech and language development at home
  • Staff will provide an environment where children can listen and talk to each other, and provide opportunities for games
  • Staff will give your child feedback and help raise their self-esteem
  • Staff will actively teach listening skills and simplify instructions
  • Staff will be aware that your child may need more time to complete tasks, or may need to do some things differently
  • Staff will use resources such as calendars, visual timetables, symbols and pictures to support learning in the classroom
  • Computer programmes will be provided, if appropriate
  • Classroom support including gesturing or signing that visually shows your child what is expected of them
  • A buddy system will be in place at lunchtimes and playtimes
  • A predictable, structured environment tailored to your child’s needs
  • Opportunities will be provided for individual and small group work in a quiet environment
  • Speech and language therapists will provide guidance to the school on how to meet your child’s needs
  • Use of specialist equipment and resources as appropriate.

SEND Support Plans

Some children will need support that is ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ what schools provide for all pupils. This is called SEND Support

The special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and the teacher will work with you and your child to create a SEND Support Plan which should be reviewed three times a year. This will be based around your child’s strengths and needs and will identify outcomes for your child that will be agreed with you.

It will be important to identify the main characteristic of your child’s main area of.need. However, support plans will identify all the needs of your child within the following four broad areas:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and physical

Targeted SEND support might include:

  • A specialist teacher from the Outreach Team from The Bridge  School to provide further assessments and advice
  • Advice and/or assessment from a speech and language therapist, with appropriate interventions put in place at school
  • An individual programme devised with advice from a speech and language therapist, which where appropriate,may include short blocks of direct speech and language therapy
  • An individual language support programme
  • Specialist equipment and resources as required
  • Pre-planning arrangements for assessments