English Vivian H in ch cliffe
Speaking and listening, reading and writing, represent the channels through which the whole-school curriculum is taught and by which children’s knowledge, skills and understanding are demonstrated. The general requirement for English across the Key Stages (KSs) is that English should develop pupils’ abilities to ‘communicate in speech and writing and to listen with understanding’ (Dft, 1995). Teachers of children with special needs may have difficulties understanding what is meant by ‘effective’ here (and elsewhere in the general requirements: ‘effective speaking and listening pupils’, ‘effective readers’ and ‘effective writers’). However, most teachers will interpret this as a challenge to provide a curriculum which enables pupils to communicate as effectively as possible. Teachers working with children with special educational needs will interpret communication (within the three attainment targets (ATs) for speaking and listening, reading and writing) in its widest sense, to include augmentative communication for some pupils, e.g., objects of reference, manual signs, and symbols as identified in the access statement in the Common Requirements of the orders. The Common Requirements state that appropriate provision should be made for pupils who need augmentative communication, thereby giving pupils opportunities to use whatever means of communication is available to them (e.g., communication aids, manual signs, symbols, gesture, facial expression, vocalizations, etc.) This has raised the status of augmentative communication and has helped focus our attention on what pupils with special needs can already do with their existing communication skills in modes other than, or supplementary to, speech.