Speaking & Listening



Communication is fundamental to all aspects of our curriculum and all aspects of the school day. At Beatrice Tate School, pupils are supported to develop their communication skills so that they grow up to be as independent as possible.

Each pupil has at least 1 communication based target taught across all subjects including tutorials.


Three overriding termly themes are used to provide a structured context for speaking and listening units. These are: People, Events and Creativity

The following termly programme of units may be combined in different ways to respond to the specific needs and priorities of individual pupils or groups of pupils, but the year-by-year progression through the units are not be compromised. A number of different communication systems, approaches and resources are in place to ensure sure that all students develop this essential life skill. These include:

  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) resources (iPads and Proloquo)
  • Use of symbols, pictures, photos and objects in teaching and throughout the school
  • Objects of Reference
  • Signalong
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Touch cues
  • Intensive interaction
  • Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) e.g. switches, Go-Talks and so on

Speaking and listening is taught as a separate timetabled subject in all key stages to enhance assessment, skill development and tracking of progress. Lessons are taught in ability groups and pupils receive a speaking and listening lesson lasting one hour each week.

  • In Key Stages 4 and 5, speaking and listening is taught in cross-key stage vertical ability groups for sensory communication, PECS, Signalong and speaking and listening (no signing).
  • Speaking and listening content is guided by the EQUALS schemes of work supported by EQUALS Literacy materials.
  • Additional learning objectives and activities for pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties can be found in the EQUALS Literacy Strategy: “Prerequisites for Literacy”

Units for 14-16 pupils can be found in EQUALS MOVING ON : Literacy