Quick Links

Quick Links

Back to top

Cliffdale Primary School


Why we teach Communication

We want all of our children to increase their communication skills and have ways of communicating effectively. By the time children leave Cliffdale they will have developed functional communication skills so they can successfully express themselves, as well as understanding and enjoying interactions with others.

Communication is more than just verbal speech…

How we teach Communication

Communication can be defined as a meaningful interaction between two or more individuals to request, resist, choose, comment and develop social interactions. Language and communication skills are essential for all our pupils and we recognise that the skills developed in communication promote learning across the curriculum, and are at the centre of an outstanding curriculum. Our curriculum is designed to ensure children are continuously, and consistently practising and developing their communication. 

Total communication involves using any means of communicating which provides support to initiate and take part in communication and interaction. This means making use of every possible communication tools available to the pupil.

At Cliffdale primary academy this includes:

  • Symbols
  • pictures
  • Makaton signing
  • Reduced language at the right level for an individual
  • Photos
  • Objects of reference
  • Natural gesture, facial expression, and body language
  • Picture exchange communication system (PECS)
  • Information technology
  • Aided language board/displays and communication books
  • Attention Autism/ Bucket time
  • Play therapies (identiplay/ special time/lego therapy)
  • Music and singing
  • Intensive interaction
  • Speech and spoken language
  • Oral motor programmes

We work closely with families, Speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to provide personalised targets for every child to be incorporated into all parts of the curriculum. We provide resources for home to ensure a consistent communication approach.

Children’s communication is extended to practise comprehension skills in real life situations as well as supporting social communication, for example through scripted conversation.

What difference Communication makes to our children

Effective communication enables pupils to be fully engaged in their learning and experiences at school.

Pupils have a variety of available tools to communicate there needs and this leads to lower frustrations and anxieties. This promotes readiness and engagement in learning in an enabling environment.

Pupils are more confident and resilient. Successful communication allows pupils to have an effect on their environment – make requests and choices, understand routines and form positive relationships. Pupils at Cliffdale form strong relationships with staff and peers and this is evidenced when on the playground and in classrooms.


  • Earwig Academic Learning Journeys
  • Annual Reviews
  • Termly Reports