At the Loyne School communication is at the heart of everything we do. As a school we believe communication underpins a pupils’ access to learning and is essential for emotional health and wellbeing. A Total communication approach is adopted across the school. Total Communication encourages the use of all forms of communication alongside the spoken word, such as gestures, vocalisations, sensory cues, objects of reference, photos, Makaton signing and symbols. This approach supports a child or young person’s ability to understand and communicate with those around them.

All staff receive training in supporting pupils communication and have access to specialist support within the school. The school receives input from the local NHS speech and language therapy service that provide specialist assessments, interventions and therapy within the school. In addition to this the school employs its own in-house speech and language therapist to enhance the communication provision across the school.

Within the school a range of communication systems are used. Many pupils use symbol based communication systems, such as PECS, using the symbol software packages within school. Other students require more high tech devices such as communication apps on the iPad or with the use of our eye gaze technology. Specialist assessments are used to assess students’ understanding and use of language, to identify areas of strengths and the next steps to develop skills further.

Educational targets are set for all pupils to develop communication and these are worked on across the school. These communication targets are continually assessed and monitored. A range of specialist interventions are used to support communication development within school, for example the WellComm is used to support early language development and the Talkabout programme to support pupils’ social skills.