Curriculum offer for ‘My Communication’

Everything we do must focus on getting our students ready for their lives ‘after The Meadows’. We understand that few factors will have a greater impact on our students’ life chances in adulthood, than their ability to communicate. Therefore, across our four Key Stages and three Pathways, our core aim is to identify the right functional modes of communication for each individual student and then support them to be the best communicators they can be. So when they leave our school for the last time, they are able to participate as fully as possible, in the wider community.

Pre-formal:

By creating engaging and meaningful, multisensory learning experiences, students’ intentional communication skills develop. As their communicative responses become more consistent (through their use of informal modes, such as body language, facial expression and vocalisation), students are introduced to more formal modes of communication, such as switches, objects of reference and on-body signing. The central aim is to increase students’ autonomy.

The pre-formal pathway is delivered in a largely cross-curricular format in Key Stage 3. In Key Stage 4 and 5 it is delivered through the careful selection of accredited units from ASDAN Personal Progress in KS4 (points 1 to 4 of the Achievement Continuum) and ASDAN Life Skills Challenge in KS5 (at ‘Working Towards Entry 1’ level). 

Semi Formal:

All students within the semi-formal pathway have an identified mode of functional communication (verbal language, Makaton, PECS, symbol-supported communication, voice-output communication devices). The development of this mode forms the bulk of their ‘My Communication’ provision. In addition to the core focus of developing their expressive language, students have subject-specific teaching in Reading, Writing and Listening.

In KS3, students are exposed to all the genre outlined in the 2014 KS3 National Curriculum for English, but texts are significantly adapted to ensure developmental appropriateness. In KS4 students will study ASDAN Personal Progress Units (points 5 to 10 of the Achievement Continuum). In KS5, students will work towards accreditation in ASDAN Life Skills Challenge at Entry 1.

Formal:

At the formal pathway, students are proficient users of their identified mode of communication. Expressive and receptive language development remains a strong focus; however, the emphasis of learning shifts to the promotion of students’ Reading and Writing skills.

Within KS3 students work through the Long-term English Plan. This document ensures students cover the appropriate range of genre, outlined in the 2014 KS3 National Curriculum for English. In KS4, students complete units from OCR Entry Level 2-3 Life and Living Skills. In Key Stage 5, students work towards accreditation in ASDAN Life Skills Challenge at Entry level 2-3 and ASDAN Personal and Social Development at Entry 1-3. As students progress through the key stages, there is an increasing emphasis on functional literacy as the focus of the curriculum moves towards employability.

Graham Spencer

graham.spencer@themeadows.sandwell.sch.uk