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Old Hall Special School

Everyone working together to achieve outstanding outcomes for our pupils and families


Old Hall is a Communication Friendly Setting that prioritises communication as a ‘golden thread’ of learning with an aim to develop and promote independence and quality of life through a culturally rich environment. The intent of highlighting Communication as a curriculum subject in isolation to English, reflects the context of the school and one of its overarching aims; to enable pupils to access a broad and balanced pupil centred curriculum.

In order to foster the school’s ethos and rationale of developing self-confidence, self-respect, responsibility and self-reliance, aspiring to become a centre of excellence for communication will only serve to pique pupil’s curiosity and inspire them through offering an insight of how to access their worlds using a variety of differentiated communicative methods.

A range of teaching approaches are utilised to enable pupils to experience different methods of communicating in order to prioritise affording them the opportunity to express and celebrate pupil voice. All communicative strategies taught across the school are interchangeable and complement each other, enabling fluidity of learning and coherence across the curriculum subject. This opportunity to frequently ‘bump into language’ and have opportunities to communicate in a meaningful way, allows pupils to be a proactive part of the society around them and be fully included in all areas of life.
At Old Hall we strive to develop social communication and emotional regulation through the use of appropriate strategies regardless of academic level.

Expressive and receptive communication is pitched at different levels in accordance with pupils’ Special Educational Needs. These multifaceted approaches to language are integrated throughout the curriculum and timetables have been adapted to include communicative strategies to be visible though out school.

Communication Strategies used at Old Hall



PECs (Picture Exchange Communication System)

Makaton signing

Intensive Interaction

On-body signing – Caanan Barrie

Verbal language

Objects of Reference


Sensory Cues


Visual Timetable

Eye contact and eye pointing

Communication in Print Symbols

Low Tech Voice Output Communication Devices i.e. Big Mac switches, Step-by-step switches, iTalk, talking cubes, talking photo albums

Tactile raised symbols

High Tech Voice Output Communication Devices i.e. Go Talks, Listen to Me,

Intensive Interaction

TACPAC – communication through touch and music

TACPAC – communication through touch and music

Communication Books

Class Symbolised Schedules

Aided Language Boards

TaSSeLs: Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners




Additionally, we foster a multiagency approach to communication working alongside Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) to discuss and agree targets with class teachers which are worked on as a continuation from the sessions. These are reviewed by SALT on request if teachers feel that they need reviewing or adapting in order to effectively challenge pupils’ learning and extend their knowledge base.

Dr Karen Treisman 2017 states that ‘Every Interaction is an Intervention’. This quote is a true reflection of the schools’ ethos that values each individual child for who they are through partnership with families and the community. We recognise that forming strong relationships forms the basis of effective communication interventions. Furthermore, the school’s culture reinforces the actuality that all pupils with Speech and Language Communication Needs (SLCN) require significant support as a result of careful planning and meaningful interventions.  This is what we aspire to achieve.

Communication Aids

Our communication display board

Celebrating the different ways that our children communicate

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