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GSO Test

Speech, Language & Communication

This term describes difficulties across one or many aspects of communication including:

School Support for Speech, Language & Communication

The school works with NHS Speech and Language Therapy Services when advice and plans are needed for pupils who have specific needs in this area.

The majority of the school’s intervention focuses on the last two bullet points in the above list.  This is because problems like weak spelling and vocabulary would fall into these categories.  In the majority of cases, pupils will improve spelling and vocabulary if they engage with a structured programme which helps to close gaps in these areas.

Lexia (spelling and reading programme)

Targeted pupils will be added to this programme after an initial screening test.  If your child is placed on this programme, it does not necessarily mean that there is a speech and language need;  it does mean that your child may have gaps in spelling/phonological knowledge which this programme will address.  Pupil progress is tracked over a period of time and impact is measured.

Accelerated Reading (reading programme)

Every pupil in the school is placed on this programme and remains on it until they leave our school.  However, some pupils are more carefully monitored because they have been identified as pupils who need to make accelerated progress to develop their language skills and close the gap between themselves and their peers.  These pupils are tracked weekly in library sessions.

How Parents Can Help

Parental support can have huge impact in this area.  Simple strategies like reading regularly with your child can sometimes be the only intervention needed from parents.   It is always the first suggestion put forward by staff.  Please refer to our page on Helping your Child with Literacy.  Also, this list of Questions for parents when reading with their children will help to develop the comprehension skills which teachers are teaching in lessons.  These questions can be used across all abilities, all age groups and with any book.

Tackling spelling at home can be difficult.  Pupils have been in education for a while and have spent years copying lists of words yet are still not able to recall the spelling of these words in tests and written work.  They are, understandably, not excited about the prospect of learning spelling.  Creative Spelling Strategies might be more appealing while still providing much repetition.

Handwriting is another aspect of communication which poses a challenge.  Issues with handwriting are often more about not taking enough care or rushing work.  For these pupils, the whole class approach to handwriting will suffice.

The cover of Speed Up by Lois Addy

There are, however, pupils who have specific needs which have an impact on their ability to be able to write legibly. 

These pupils have spent much time trying to improve their handwriting through copying pages and pages of text and have not seen much improvement. 

For these pupils we recommend a more kinaesthetic approach which is available in this book by Lois Addy. Due to the nature of the programme, it is difficult to deliver in school but easier to deliver at home.

Using Laptops in School

There is a small number of pupils who benefit from being able to use personal devices to record their written work.  We work with parents to decide when this would be an appropriate step to take and generally this is only offered to our older pupils.   If, however, your child does have specific needs or difficulties with handwriting, we suggest that your child starts to improve their touch typing skills from Year 5 onwards. 

During ICT lessons, pupils use a program called https://www.typingclub.com/  but most free online typing programs would work too.