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Secondary School Questions

  • 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 teachers were 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 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 pupil 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

  • How do you work with the professionals that support my child, e.g. speech and language therapist? Educational Psychologist?

The school might say that when the SLT/EP visits the school some of the time is working with your child. They should also say that some time is spent meeting with key people such as the SENCO 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.

  • How do you ensure that there is a whole school approach to SLCN?

The school should be able to tell you about the ways staff share information and knowledge about SLCN. They should tell you about training opportunities that they have shared and that there are regular opportunities to learn more about speech, language and communication built into INSET programmes. There should be consistent use of language by all staff, including shared use of positive language. The headteacher and senior leadership team should encourage new developments about language and communication, and take on board recommendations and advice from external professionals, for example speech and language therapist. Assemblies and whole-school events should use the same strategies as are used in classrooms, for example visual supports, signing, etc. The school should be able to describe how the behaviour management system takes a pupil’s SLCN into account.

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