Headteacher: Ms B Underwood
Teacher in Charge: Ms A Nicoll
Designation: Speech, language and communication needs
Age range: 4 to 7
The unit provides for children from reception to year 2 (ages 4 to 7). All children enter the unit on a full-time basis except for those under statutory school age who attend for the morning session only. Once the children are settled, secure and have made sufficient language and social progress they are included back into the mainstream.
The language unit caters for children who have a primary need of speech, language or communication. However, the children may also have related difficulties ranging from specific auditory problems, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD. The unit is available to any child who has a statement relating to speech, language and communication regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. We address the children’s particular needs, and build up their self-esteem and confidence hopefully enabling them to make a smooth transition back to mainstream.
The unit has a full-time teacher, a full-time nursery nurse, a part-time (2.5 days per week) speech and language therapist and a part-time inclusion support teacher.
Children will have a statement of special educational needs. The unit caters for children who have communication and interaction difficulties in the area of speech, language and communication, including social communication, and associated behavioural difficulties.
All children have equal access to resources available within the school and unit. Depending on individual need, some additional resources are available for providing inclusion opportunities or support for physiotherapy or occupational therapy activities.
The children’s needs are initially identified through the formal statutory assessment procedure and are recorded in each child’s statement. Over the first few weeks in the unit, the children are observed and assessed in a variety of formal and informal ways. An individual education plan (IEP) is then drawn up incorporating learning, social and language targets as appropriate for each child. These targets are shared with all staff, the parents and the child. Whenever possible, the child is involved in identifying their own targets. New targets are set once old ones have been achieved.
A meeting is held with parents once a term to review progress and discuss and share new targets. An annual review is held once a year. Everyone involved with the child is invited to the review and invited to contribute a report for the review. More regular reviews are held if it is considered necessary.
The children follow a broad curriculum which meets the requirements of the foundation stage curriculum (for reception) and national curriculum at an appropriate level. The curriculum is flexible and is adapted to meet the needs of groups or individual children.
There is intensive work on developing basic skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing and numeracy, as we consider these to be essential skills for accessing all other areas of the curriculum. Work in the classroom is supplemented by regular outings and educational visits.
There is a balance between whole class, group and individual work designed to meet individual learning needs and to encourage language development and social skills. In addition, activities relating to speech and language and IEP targets are integrated into daily activities.
We follow appropriate aspects of the religious education curriculum. Parents can withdraw their child from religious education if they wish.
Each child has a home-school diary, which is kept in the child’s reading folder. Staff may write information to parents about the child’s day, particularly highlighting aspects where the child may have been successful. Parents are encouraged to write about family events and to put in any important notices the staff may need to know.
There is a parents association open to all parents to become involved with the life of the school and parents are welcomed to help out in any way they can – hearing children read, working on computers. There are termly parent and teacher consultations where the child’s IEP is reviewed and updated. We also have regular coffee mornings for parents to meet together. Parents attend the annual review of their child’s statement. An annual record of achievement is written for all the pupils in the summer term.
The staff liaise with a range of services and other professionals as appropriate and necessary for individual children. These include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, the Child and Family Consultation Centre and the Educational Psychology Service. The school nurse and any other health professionals involved with the child are invited to reviews and kept up to date with reports.
Children have the opportunity to be included with children from the mainstream school for part of their time at Heathfield. Pupils will be allocated to classes with Heathfield mainstream school, as appropriate. They will sometimes join these classes for literacy or numeracy, or sometimes for the foundation subjects. This enables them to learn to function within the mainstream class with support. As the children grow in confidence they spend an increased amount of time in the mainstream. This is always in close consultation with the teacher in the unit, the class teacher and the inclusion support teacher.
Not all the children have Heathfield as their local school, so when it is appropriate for a significant increase in inclusion into mainstream to commence, the inclusion support teacher makes telephone contact with the child’s local school. This is confirmed in writing. The child will attend their school with appropriate support. Close contact is maintained between the two schools to ensure the success of this process. The SENCo and headteacher from the local schools are always invited to the child’s annual statement review.
Each child’s learning is closely monitored while they are in the unit. Any individual inclusion programmes or changes to inclusion are planned and discussed with mainstream staff and parents before it takes place. Children must transfer out of the unit at the end of year 2 but children may move on to different placements at other times if it is felt necessary or appropriate. Formal meetings with parents are held so that all concerned can discuss progress and consider the appropriate next steps for the child. Some of the children may be ready for a mainstream placement and some go on to other special settings.
The year 2 annual review is always brought forward to the autumn term to allow time for decision making and planning of the transition. The transfer from the unit is managed according to each child’s needs and varies depending on the new setting. For children returning to mainstream or when placements involve some days in mainstream, it may involve an increase in inclusion. Children from the unit may transfer to the Heathfield Junior Language Unit which offers places on a part-time basis.
Heathfield Nursery and Infant School
Telephone: 020 8894 4074
Fax: 020 8893 3419
Updated: 1 February 2011