- What sort of training have all your staff had about Speech, Language and Communication Needs? Would you be willing for them to undergo more training?
It will be helpful to know about training that they have received as part of an inset day, or during staff meetings and important to check that your child’s teacher was there. If the training was some time ago, for example over two years, ask what training they have planned for the future.
- What changes to the school setting do you make for children and young people who have SLCN? What do you do that is different?
Have a look at the features in the section describing what a classroom should look like to support a child with SLCN as these will help a school to provide a communication supportive environment for your child. There should be changes to the physical environment, including visual clues, extra resources, and careful planning of the layout of the classroom. Ideas for supporting children with SLCN should be known by all staff, including those who supervise at lunch-times, those who work in the office and all classroom staff. It is helpful for the same approaches (for example symbols/pictures) and strategies to be used throughout the school as this is less confusing for children with SLCN
- Can you tell me about the ways in which you have been able to support children with SLCN in your school in the past?
Look out for the features described in the checklist in the answer that you are given. The school should be able to tell you about strategies that they have used that have worked, the ways that they liaised with speech and language therapists and other professionals like educational psychologists. They should tell you about the support that they give during unstructured times such as playtime as well as in the classroom. They should be able to tell you about the ways that they shared information across the school, with all staff, and the training that they put in to make sure that everybody understood how to support the child.
- How do you work with the professionals that support my child, e.g. speech and language therapist (SLT)/Educational psychologist (EP)?
The school might say that when the SLT/EP visits the school some of the time is spent working with your child. They should also say that some time is spent meeting with key people such as the class teacher and teaching assistant, sharing information and supporting the way your child is included in the classroom. An SLT should contribute to an Individual Education Plan that may be written to support your child and there should be opportunity for school staff to contact the professionals for support if needed. It might be that the SLT goes into school to offer training to the staff.
- Will my child get individual time to work on their SLCN targets?
It might be important that your child has individual time to work on their SLCN targets and if this is the case there should be flexibility so that there is some time for your child individually if they need it, but they also have plenty of time with their friends doing group activities or enjoying being in the class. SLCN targets can also sometimes be supported in the classroom, and it may be that individual time is not needed. This should be agreed by the adults supporting your child and shared with you.
- How is information regarding my child’s difficulties passed through the school?
The school should be able to tell you how information about your child’s SLCN will be shared with all staff. They should be able to describe how staff pass on information when your child changes to a new teacher, for example by writing a report or having a face to face meeting to discuss ways to support your child. Reports and information from SLT and other professionals should be shared and discussed, including information on ideas for support and changes to classroom work. There should be opportunity for you to meet with the school regularly to share information and communication between you and the school should be supported through the use of a home/school diary.
- My child gets really anxious at break/play times. What will the school do to help him feel safe?
The school should make sure that your child is supported at all times in the day, including break-times. They should be able to tell you about how they make sure the lunchtime supervisors and staff know about any difficulties that your child might have. They should use ideas to help children with the social aspect of playtimes, for example buddy stops (where your child can go if they are alone at playtime and would like a friend) and make sure that staff know how to encourage successful involvement in games for all children. All children should understand about how to have successful playtimes and help others who are finding playtime difficult and this can be done through circle time activities and discussions about friendships and playing. The school should know how to help your child with their anxiety and make sure your child has the opportunity to talk about this if they need to.