Total Communication and supporting all our pupils to access their learning is at the heart of everything we do. One strategy we use to support this is signing utilising the Makaton system. It is one layer amongst many for pupils and staff to communicate ensuring everyone can express themselves and feel valued. Makaton incorporates speech and signs (gestures) to help people communicate as well as facial expressions, eye contact and body language to give us as much information as possible when we interact. Makaton is used throughout our school and we find it very affective in supporting our pupils with their choices, building their vocabulary and communicating generally which in turn then helps them to develop socially and grow vital self-esteem. Makaton is critical in helping students with communication difficulties at Highfield meet their full potential.
Here are some links to learn Makaton and ways to support your child with signing at home:
We have on average 10% of our students who have a visual impairment.
We work closely with the Qualified Teacher for Visual Impairment (QTVI), and the Qualified Teacher of Multi-Sensory Impairments (QTMSI) alongside school staff and the SENCO to help support our students in all aspects of their visual impairments.
Staff from CSIT visit school roughly once a week.
This includes assisting in functional visual assessments, carrying out equipment and adaptation checks, and reformatting / modifying work to enable our students to access the curriculum in order to maximise their potential. We deliver interventions in Positive Looking, Fine Motor Skills and Keyboard Awareness to support a wide range of visual skills.
For our students who require further interventions for Habilitation, we work alongside the Hab Specialist to deliver regular and targeted formal mobility and orientation training, using either a range of pre-cane techniques (such as sighted guide) or long cane techniques. These interventions help to develop identified areas of need and to support their EHCP outcomes, enabling students to travel both within school and the local community with increased confidence and independence.
Stride Theatre delivers PSHE through the use of drama, speech and movement. We aim to cover a wide range of topics to ensure the students have valuable life skills and coping mechanisms. By using drama, improvisation and movement techniques the students have the chance to act out how situations will feel to them and what they may look like from another perspective. We also encourage openness of opinions so these can be explored and modified if needed. This has proved to be effective for many students as it is ‘real life’ which makes it more understandable for them, and as they can speak openly, they have the chance to speak for themselves. We also use games and group discussions to ensure the sessions have a variety of activities to suit every individual.
Stride Theatre use the government guidelines of the PSHE curriculum which include:
- Themselves (Self-awareness, emotional wellbeing)
- Relationships (friendship, families)
- Health and safety (Healthy living, personal safety, personal hygiene)
- Community (Environment, citizenship, rights and responsibilities, respecting differences)
Taking these into account we have developed our topics into the below headings, within each of these there are many ways to deliver each subject and we tailor our sessions to make sure they are delivered according to the groups needs, interests and goals.
We begin with basic listening, speaking and movement skills, this provides a base to work from.
One day a week we have a visiting Music Therapist.
Student’s are provided with short theraay sessions to support with communication, emotional and sensory regulation.
Seb also spends time with some of our classes with more complex needs such as the SCERTS class.