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Paddock School

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Language & Literacy Summary

The Communication, Language and Literacy curriculum is designed to empower our students to become lifelong learners and effective communicators. By providing personalised, meaningful learning experiences, we aim to develop each pupil’s functional communication and literacy skills to equip them with the tools they need to communicate, express themselves, and navigate the world around them and foster a love for literacy. 


All students at Paddock have communication needs; therefore, a large focus of the curriculum is around developing these skills. Our Speech and Language Therapy team follow a total communication approach, working closely with class teams, to find and use the right combination of communication methods for each pupil. Most learners, whether verbal or pre-verbal, access Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) systems to enable communication in the most effective way. This typically involves Aided Communication, such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), ALDs (Aided Language Displays) and Pixon books. The majority of our pupils are visual learners, therefore the use of Makaton sign, symbols and photos alongside spoken language, greatly support their understanding, as well as their use of language.  

 We have a multi-sensory approach to our literacy teaching. This enables us to make learning more accessible and engaging for all our learners. We use visual supports, concrete resources, auditory cues, and movement-based activities to provide a range of experiences within literacy. For example, students may trace letters in sand trays, listen to stories accompanied by music or sound effects, or use props from a story book to enhance comprehension. 

Our curriculum emphasises the development of writing skills that are meaningful and relevant to pupils' daily lives. We focus on teaching practical writing tasks that have real-life experiences, such as writing their name, creating shopping lists, or composing simple messages. By connecting writing activities to functional purposes, we enable pupils to see the value and importance of their literacy skills. 

Reading is supported through a flexible curriculum approach which takes into account the learning styles of our pupils. The Little Wandle SEND programme is used as a systematic approach to teaching phonics. This approach supports children to learn to read using the right level of challenge for each child and using a graduated approach.

Little Wandle Link

For some pre-formal pupils, phonics is embedded through different curriculum activities, e.g. Attention Autism, music and sensory activities rather than delivered as a formalised programme. These activities develop their auditory, visual and tactile discrimination skills. Teachers regularly review learning to identify whether there is a need to introduce more formal phonics learning.  

As many of our pupils are visual learners, they may have developed sight reading skills that surpass their ability to decode using phonics. Pupils have opportunities to read for pleasure throughout the day; these could include visits to the library, reading during self-occupation times, sharing a book with an adult and whole class story times.