Since early 2012 the OFSTED framework has had an increased focus on the teaching of literacy skills including communication. Students experiencing communication difficulties are at substantial risk of low achievement and therefore missing their literacy targets. Government figures show a 58% rise over a five-year period in those students with speech language and communication needs (SLCN) as their primary special educational need (SEN).
The achievement of pupils
Last year alone, 80,000 boys in England started reception class struggling to speak a full sentence or follow simple instructions. Over time, young people with SLCN make progress in language development but remain significantly behind their peers as their underlying language deficit remains. However, with continued support, they have the potential to do well at school and have a range of life chances.
New Options provide regular, evidence based and engaging therapy and input. The student’s baseline assessment information is placed on our digital Pupil Progress Tracker where we can then plot the student’s speech and language progress and attainment over time, through regular input and reviews from New Options.
Quality of teaching
High-quality teaching is underpinned by understanding effective communication in the classroom. It is key to identifying professional development activities and approaches where staff can develop their skills in supporting communication.
The training packages offered by New Options provide continuing professional development opportunities for the staff at your school. We also offer practical seminars to increase the efficacy of staff support input and the generalisation of learned skills from direct therapy sessions with the New Options’ team.
Behaviour and safety
The impact of SLCN is well documented in longitudinal studies. Without the right support, SLCN has been shown to affect academic achievement, self-esteem, academic success, and improved life chances. Should behaviour be a key priority for your school, New Options can review the speech, language, and communication needs of the pupils who are a concern and provide support and interventions, focussing on language skills as appropriate.
Leadership and management
Within the leadership and management section of the framework, there is a key role for overseeing the sustained improvement of all aspects of communication. There is also a specific criterion around promoting pupil’s learning and progress in literacy. Speech and language skills have a broader role in wider literacy development as many phonics skills are essentially based on speech. If literacy is a key priority for your school, New Options can help your setting develop a strong focus on spoken language through direct therapy for identified children with SLCN. We also offer a range of training programmes for your staff which could improve pupils’ speaking and listening skills as well as supporting their written language skills. A key part of effective support is the ability to identify pupils’ needs effectively. Schools are recommended to profile and monitor children’s needs to achieve cost effective identification and support. Our Communication Screening Tool© can help staff identify and prioritise children with SLCN and access timely and effective intervention from our team.