The Judges were looking for evidence of how the External Professional had made a positive impact on children in school. The work being described needed to have taken place in the previous year (2015). At this time, support for SLCN was delivered by two specialist Teaching Assistants – Narinder on the right of the picture) leading the work in the EYFS and Talit (holding the trophy) who worked with Year 1 upwards. From modest beginnings has grown our Inclusion Team – newly launched in September this year. Richard Curtiss (CEO of The Root of It) said that Nelson Mandela’s bid had shown that not only did the children make huge gains but also that there was a sustainable legacy as staff gained new and lasting skills which would stay with them into the future. Sue describes the Nelson Mandela journey In the Autumn of 2013 we sought help from an independent speech and language therapy (SLT) service. We knew that despite our best efforts, the language levels of our pupils could be improved. More pressing for us at that early stage however, was the number of children with obvious speech, language, communication and interaction difficulties (SLCN) who were not receiving any input from local services. We wanted a therapist who would come into school and provide treatment! Initially the therapist assessed our most needy children: plans and programmes were put into place. As soon as it was agreed to commission an on-going service (using our Pupil Premium money*), in partnership with the therapist, a longer-term plan emerged. We began to realise that we could (and should) use the therapist not only as a ‘clinic in a school’ but also as a source of expertise and advice to help us build sustainability, understand the nature and impact of SLCN and be confident to learn how to do things for ourselves.
Our Therapist was very clear with us that if we were to successfully achieve our overall aim – which was to skill up our own staff to be able to support children with SLCN so that, in the longer term, we would become more autonomous and less reliant on specialist services, we would need to take on the two-stranded approach of both prevention &intervention. If we didn’t address the problems early on, we would never reduce the numbers of children needing help later.
With the therapist we have developed a proper pathway which, eventually, will become part of our Whole School Language & Communication Strategy. Based on the pyramid model, we have a two-pronged approach which encompasses both prevention & intervention. To be able to sustain quality management of SLCN we know we must use our resources to greatest effect and be able to deliver universal services ourselves, support those children who need targeted input at tier 2, and be confident to use out therapist for the tier 3 children.
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