Literacy and communication is a whole school focus at Orchardside.
We believe that speech, language and social communication skills are the foundation to becoming a literate learner. Orchardside recognises the link between language difficulties and challenging behaviour. We also acknowledge that many of our young people have unidentified speech, language, literacy and social communication needs. This has a profound impact on their educational outcomes, social outcomes, employability and mental health.
Our school aims to create a communication friendly environment that enriches our learners’ relationship with language by maximising every opportunity we have to promote speech, language, literacy and social communication skills. We believe that by identifying and addressing these needs, our learners will have an opportunity to improve their future outcomes and also challenge low aspiration.
We aim to ensure all our staff working with students have the expertise to improve the literacy skills of our students in all lessons. Members of staff are now Elklan practitioners enabling the school to be more effective in their support of children with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). Orchardside practitioners use the accredited programme to differentiate the literacy curriculum effectively by personalised learning embedding this knowledge in targeted interventions.
We are due to offer all staff high, quality Elkan training and resources tailored by our Speech and Language Therapist in 2020.
We have a very clear process of identifying and assessing the needs of all students. Analysis by SEND intervention team determine the severity of need and what level of provision the learner should access. Progress is monitored and reviewed weekly.
For students needing immediate support with their literacy skills, we have individual programmes delivering the following tailored schemes to quickly raise the student’s ability to effectively engage in the curriculum:
- Weekly focus on Literacy through Tutor Time
- Lexia reading programme
- Units of Sound
- Language For Thinking
- Vocabulary Enrichment
Our Assessment and Marking Policy requires teachers to be supporting students’ improvements in Literacy through their regular assessment practices.
We have secured the service of a Speech and Language Therapist to work with individual pupils on improving their communication skills and understanding the structure of language and communication. This will further secure improvements in the levels of literacy of those students supported in this work.
Our Pupil Premium funding has been used to support these initiatives and impact on closing the gap in attainment of those disadvantaged students.
Literacy is fundamental, not only to our students personal and social development, but also their ability to understand, evaluate, dissect and disseminate knowledge consequently empowering them to function effectively in society and cultivate the tools necessary for a happy and successful life.