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English, Literacy & Communication

English enables people to express themselves imaginatively and creatively and to communicate with others effectively. It is a key subject which enables people to develop the skills needed for daily life both socially and educationally. Competence in English is a life skill, which we develop, not only in English lessons but also throughout the whole curriculum.

At Three Ways School we endeavour to make learning relevant and fun and offer a tailored curriculum at three differentiated levels; formal, semi-formal and pre-formal using the Equals – My Communication schemes of work, National Curriculum Standards and the Three Ways School PMLD Curriculum. We also work towards OCR and AQA accreditations at Secondary and Sixth Form level, with the opportunity to work towards GCSE qualifications where appropriate.

Our English Curriculum covers speaking and listening (Speech and language interventions where appropriate), reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation, comprehension, writing and phonics.


Speaking & Listening

Three Ways School offers a Total Communication Approach to ensure that all pupils are given an equal opportunity to access communication at their own level of understanding.

Three Ways School uses verbal language, Makaton, symbols, objects of reference, and a range of AAC devices to support both expressive and receptive communication.

Teaching staff work closely with the Speech and Language Therapy Team who provide an integrated in-house service to effectively implement a variety of communication systems throughout school including advisory target setting with class teachers, 1:1 sessions, specialist group and whole class sessions.

Pupils will:

• be taught to express themselves as clearly as possible to a range of listeners and in different situations using appropriate means including AAC.

• be taught to understand and respond to others including through the use of social stories.

• be taught to join in as members of a group and use conversational skills where appropriate.

• be taught to communicate verbally or non-verbally as appropriate.

• join in a range of drama activities, multisensory stories, Storysharing® sessions.

• be introduced to some of the main features of standard spoken English and encouraged to use them.

• be taught about language variation.


Storysharing® is a communication initiative used to encourage personal narrative in people of all ages who have Special Educational Needs. It is embedded in the Equals – My Communication scheme of work and supports in the following ways:

• Improves speaking and listening skills

• Develops social skills among peers

• Encourages group conversational skills

• Memory and event recall

• Sentence structure and sentence completion

• Developing story and personal narrative

• Develops emotional and social well-being as well as supports pupils in feeling a sense of pride and ownership over their own stories


At Three Ways School, our philosophy and beliefs on a well-structured progressive phonics programme focus on supporting the pupils map sounds onto spellings, decoding words, word recognition, in turn increasing reading fluency.

Letters and Sounds is our agreed phonics programme across the whole school. This enables fluency and continuity of teaching and learning from Early Years Foundation Stage, through to the end of key stage 4.


Reading is an extremely important element of education and should be encountered every day. Every class, according to the National Curriculum guidelines should be accessing reading, phonics, being read to, comprehension activities and guided reading DAILY. While at Three Ways School we appreciate that each of these elements can take an entire lesson to complete and we understand the nature of how they overlap, there should still be an effort made for pupils to access reading and set phonics & reading activities daily.

Reading is supported in a variety of ways including Big books, sensory stories, story sacks, reading schemes and interventions and online resources including Reading Eggs.

Pupils will have access to reading records to track progress at home and at school.


We have a well-structured progressive handwriting programme focusing on the whole child, their needs and abilities. With specialist support and provision, pupils’ experience a multi-sensory, holistic approach to develop fine and gross motor skills on a daily basis, supporting the development of future pencil grasps when the pupil is ready. Cursive handwriting is our agreed writing style across the whole school.

PMLD Curriculum & English

Pre-formal communication at Three Ways School is assessed and advised using the following assessment tools:

• Routes to Learning

• Engagement Model

• BSquared Engagement Steps

• Affective Communication Assessment (ACA)

Pupils working at a pre-formal level are encouraged to develop differentiated like/dislike, want/reject responses, express anticipation supported through burst/pause technique and develop shared attention through:

• Intensive Interaction

• Story Sharing

At Three Ways School, pre-formal communication is aided and advised by the Speech and Language Therapy Team and the Three Ways PMLD Curriculum.


English will be assessed by using:

• Teacher assessment including Plans for Learning targets, supported by the Speech and Language Team

• Pupil self-evaluation

• BSquared Engagement Steps, Progression Steps or National Curriculum where appropriate

• Annual phonics assessments

• Teacher-led monitoring of reading scheme progression

• SATS, AQA, OCR and GCSE qualifications where appropriate

• Staff will moderate samples of work to ensure consistency in levelling.