Mayfield School believes that our English and Literacy curriculum should develop our pupil’s love and desire to be effective readers, writers and overall effective communicators. Being an effective communicator gives us choices, control in our lives and is key to developing literacy. We want our pupils to have the ability to gain and provide information in their lives, which will help them to gain independence. Our ultimate goal is that all our pupils become functional readers and writers with an increasing vocabulary. We do however recognise that our pupils are all on a different types of journeys and as such provide a curriculum, which helps them to reach their own individual goals.
Our pre-formal pupils are in the early developmental stages of communicating. They need the opportunity to learn from their immediate environment and gain skills such as responsiveness, making choices and memory. This pathway offers pupils a multi-sensory approach to their learning that may include, but are not limited to, sensory storytelling, objects of reference, call and response activities, Tac Pac and Intensive Interaction. It aims to move pupils from being passive learners to active through the development of exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation skills.
The semi-formal curriculum really puts communication and emergent literacy at the heart of learning. Based on the Equals unit “My Communication”, our semi-formal English curriculum, has three key principles known as the 3Ms - Motivation, Means and Mate delivered across ten areas of communicative learning. Our lessons are designed so that pupils are motivated to communicate, have the appropriate means to communicate and have someone to communicate to, a mate. This makes it process based, with the understanding that pupils will learn the process of communication by communicating, and the more opportunities they have of communicating, the more secure their learning will be. Alongside the cornerstone of communication, we also deliver pre-reading and pre-writing skills within the Semi-formal curriculum. This includes the development of the fine and gross motor skills required to use mark-making tools, which we do in partnership with Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists and encourage pupils to explore pre-writing activities. Pre-reading activities include sharing books with adults and becoming familiar with stories, songs and rhymes, recognising familiar signs and symbols and developing and awareness of letters and sounds.
Mayfield’s formal curriculum looks to develop fluency and comprehension in reading and writing and to offer a more academic, formalised learning framework. Pupils working within this curriculum have access to reading schemes and corresponding comprehension activities, which are rotated as the pupils mature to reflect more age appropriate subject matters, whilst maintaining reading at the correct academic level – Read Write Inc books, Project X and Dockside. They follow the Read Write Inc Phonics Scheme and the Penpals writing scheme. Pupils have access to a range of reading materials including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays and we hope to foster a love of independent reading.
A high proportion of our pupils exhibit some difficulties in language and communication and a deficit in vocabulary. Our Total Communication Approach, means that our pupils have access to a range of non-verbal means of communication and an integral part of their education is learning how to use these means to access the curriculum and further their ability to be an active learner. This includes low technology solutions such as the use of symbols, PECs and visual aids to more high technology communication systems such as Eye Gaze technology or communication apps such as Proloquo2Go
being used across the school. Makaton signing is used across the school enabling pupils to have a common language to communicate with staff and their peers regardless of their verbal abilities.
Whichever, literacy or communication pathway our pupils take, we hope that all our pupils, when they leave Mayfield, will be ready to be active communicators and literate in their world. We want all pupils to have a means of letting people, familiar and unfamiliar, know what they want and how they want to achieve this. We want pupils to have a desire and the means to gain information and to provide information to others, in order to have control and choice over their lives.