Pentrehafod Comprehensive School has a Speech and Language Specialist Teaching Facility, which opened in 1997 to provide secondary education to pupils with speech and language impairments within the City and County of Swansea. Three specialist teachers, 11 teaching assistants, (TAs) form the core of a team who work with the pupils and subject teachers to provide appropriate learning opportunities for the pupils.
Each teaching area within the Specialist Teaching Facility is well resourced with five laptops (including headphones and microphones), and interactive promethean board with accompanying PC.
The staff within the unit work closely with subject teachers, collaborating to produce resources and learning opportunities to support the delivery of the curriculum. Subject areas across the curriculum contain large amounts of subject specific vocabulary. STF staff use language specific differentiation, visual aids and multi-sensory techniques to provide introduction, consolidation and reinforcement activities for the children within the STF classes. The collocated services are also able to access this resource.
An example of the work undertaken is looking at the oceans and rivers in an STF geography lesson. The staff felt that ICT could offer huge benefits to help the children with their work in this area of the curriculum and so set about locating materials to support the work in this area.
The class teacher has used a range of internet based resources with the pupils which have been visually stimulating to the pupils but also interactive to allow them to engage with the learning material. Activities such as the geography activities on Sheppardsoftware.com have been used along with teacher led discussion and questioning to enable the pupils to learn where various continents and oceans are in the world as part of their studies.
Each level of the games within the Continents and Oceans section gives a brief tutorial before the game which gives the staff and pupils a clear explanation about what is required in the activity.
The interactive activity supported the pupils by allowing the pupils to use the pen to move and match the shape of the continent and ocean to the corresponding shape on the map. If the pupil made a mistake it pointed out to where it needed to go so that the pupil can learn from their mistake. At the end of the activity the pupils have the ability to track their scores in this activity and the teacher can print these out using the network printer in the class to keep a record.
After the introductory period of STF lessons the children are then able to move to the laptops to be able to undertake the activity themselves to reinforce what they have learned at the start of the lesson.
The pupils have found the use of the interactive whiteboard to be very motivational and have enjoyed working as a small group with the software. The language development of the pupils has improved both in terms of the subject specific information but also their wider social communication skills as this type of collaborative activity helps support the work language and social development of the pupils in this area.
The well resourced classroom facilities and the size of the group means that the pupils are able to access information and present it in a supported way using either the support of the software or staff within the facility.