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Speech and Language Unit

Speech and Language classes for children with Developmental Language Disorder and other language needs

Teacher in Charge of Speech and Language Unit: Ornela Duka (materntiy leave) - Nicholas Reed in her absence. 
Principal Speech and Language Therapist: Amandine Lepachelet

The Unit classes at Miles Coverdale are very much part of the mainstream school.

The classes provide for twenty pupils with speech and language needs including Developmental Language Disorder, aged between three and 11 years old, in two classes, with a full time Teacher and Teaching Assistant.

The teacher in charge teaches in the Resource Base and there is a speech and language therapist who works with all pupils, either individually or in a small group.

  • What is Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)?

    Children with Developmental Language Disorder, or DLD, are as able and healthy as other children in all ways, with one exception; they have enormous difficulty talking and sometimes also understanding language. 

    DLD is a term that is used to describe difficulties with learning and using language. These difficulties are not associated with factors such as general learning difficulties, or conditions such as cerebral palsy, hearing impairment or autistic spectrum disorders. Children with DLD are often as clever as any other child of their age but they still have difficulties with speech and language. 

    A child with DLD will not develop speech and language skills in the expected way. More often than not, there is no obvious reason for this difficulty. 

    This means, for example, a child with DLD might be bright, but struggle to understand the language used in the classroom. They may have lots of ideas but find it hard to make sentences to say what they are thinking, but they do not have any other condition that may be causing these problems. 

    DLD looks different in all children, and is really complicated to understand because we don't know the cause. We know that the speech and language part of the brain does not develop in the same way as others, even though there are no other problems, and that genes play an important part in causing DLD. Unfortunately, there is no medical test to see if a child has DLD or not. 

    Studies have shown that in 5 year olds, DLD affect about 2 children in every classroom (about 7%) and that it is more common in boys than girls. 

  • What can go wrong?

    As a child learns to talk they need to:

    - Learn to understand words, sentences and conversations (often referred to as receptive language)
    - Learn how to talk using words and sentences (often referred to as expressive language)
    - Know how to use language the right way socially with others. For example, listening as well as talking, taking turns and talking to a teacher differently than to a friend (often called pragmatic language)
    Say speech sounds correctly so that they can understood by others

    A child with DLD does not develop the ability to do these things in the right way. They may have difficulty in all of these areas, or in one more than the others. 

    Specialists might talk about a child having a 'spiky profile' which means they might be good at some aspects of language, but not others. For example, they may have good understanding but poor vocabulary and expressive language. 

Children with DLD can have a range of difficulties

    I struggle with reading and writing. 

    I can sound muddled and disorganised so my talking is difficult to follow. 

    I don't understand what lots of words mean. 

    Sometimes I know the word I want but I just can't remember it when I need it. 

    I can't always say what I want to even though i've got ideas. 

    In most ways, I'm as able as friends in my class. 

    I might have behavioural problems and get frustrated or withdrawn. 

    I can't follow when people say long sentences - it's confusing. 

    I can talk in sentences but my speech can be difficult to understand. 

    I can find it hard to join in and work or play with others. 

    I am quite smart, so even though I don't understand the words, I watch so I know what's going on. 

  • What sort of language difficulties do the children in our Unit have?

    All the pupils in the speech and language classes have language difficulties, and some have speech difficulties, which are severe enough to prevent them from learning in a mainstream class – most of the children have Developmental Language Disorder (previously known as specific language impairment)

    Some have difficulty understanding language, others have difficulty expressing ideas and making themselves understood and others find it difficult to recall words they know and to order them in sentences. Some pupils may need help in several of these areas. Some children have significant difficulty producing speech sounds.

    Many of the children in the speech and language classes speak more than more language and experience difficulties with language or speech skills in all the languages they are hearing and using. 

    Each child has different learning needs and it is the responsibility of the teaching teams in the classes to assess their difficulties and strengths and to plan an All About Me profile for them.

    Children with ASD, Down's Syndrome or other disorders that have associated Speech and Language needs would not benefit from a placement in our Unit. Please see the Local Authority's Local Offer page for more suitable placements. 

  • Which children come to the Provision?

    The application for a place in the Resource Base is through the Local Authority.  Please speak to either your child's Speech and Language Therapist or your school SENDCo for more information. 

    Children in the classes all want to communicate and do not have a sensory hearing loss or additional learning difficulties such as ASD or Down's Syndrome. This would not be an appropriate setting for children with these learning difficulties. 

  • Are there opportunities for mainstream inclusion?

    Children in both classes integrate with mainstream children for Phonics/Reading every day. There are many further opportunities throughout the year for children to take part in workshops, themed weeks and other planned experiences with their mainstream friends.  

    All the children also have lunch, playtimes and assemblies with their mainstream peers, and participate in whole school events.

  • When do children receive Speech and Language Therapy?

    The Speech and Language Therapist works in the classes with the whole class, small groups and individuals. She is involved in planning learning with the teaching staff at every level, as well as developing the classroom environment to ensure that children’s language and communication skills are supported throughout the school day.

  • Who else sees the children?

    The Educational Psychologist attached to the school, visits the speech and language classes to observe and work with individual children and can advise staff and parents about suitable schools when children transfer out of the classes at the end of Year 2 if necessary. 

    The school nurse carries out regular medicals. 

    Children can also be referred for Occupational Therapy if they have motor or sensory integration difficulties.

    Children can also be referred to our school Play Therapist if they have Social, Emotinal and Mental Health needs. 

  • How are parents/carers involved?

    We welcome parents/carers coming into school to meet staff or participate in classroom activities whenever they can. They can telephone the school at any time to arrange to talk to the teacher in charge, the class teacher or the speech and language therapist.

    Each child has an All About me Profile, which identifies 2 or 3 outcomes for them to achieve usually in relation to their communication skills, in addition to the curriculum. These outcomes are reviewed termly by teaching teams and the speech and language therapist, and parents are invited to come in to school to discuss the outcomes, suggest others and share ideas about how to help their children at home. Copies of the agreed outcomes are sent home to families and each child is part of this process, so that they are aware of their own outcomes.

    Each child has a ‘home school’ book which they can take home every day. Staff use it to write comments about the child’s school day and families use it to let staff know what children have been doing at home.

    There is homework which the children take home weekly, which may involve specific activities or give some suggestions about how to support children’s communication and learning at home.

    Every term there is a stay and play afternoon for both the speech and language classes. Families are invited to come in and get involved in classroom activities, usually related to a topic, like ‘Healthy Living’ or a curriculum area. This is an opportunity to see what the children are doing and to meet staff and other parents.

    Parents/carers are invited to statutory assessment meetings, Annual Review meetings and Open Evenings to discuss their child’s progress.

    There is a termly class newsletter, which is posted on the school website informing families of the curriculum topics to be covered over the coming term alongside any other pertinent messages.

    We run regular parent workshops to help parents support their child's development. 

  • Where do children go when they leave the Provision?

    Most children stay in the Provision until the end of Key Stage Two (Year 6), leaving in the July at the end of the academic year. They then transfer to their local secondary school. On occasions, children may go on to further special educational provision, for example a special school.

  • What do parents say about the Unit?

    'You hvae helped him a lot and I can't thank you all enough. I will miss you all but i'm happy he is ready to move on. I've seen a big improvement in all his developments. Class E and Class P teachers we love you all!'
    Quote from parent June 2022

    'Over the past few years at Miles Coverdale, he has made considerable progress in his language abilities. He uses lots of more words in daily activities as well as being confident in expressing himself or repeating if he is not clearly understood. I think he has learnt how to take his time and think about the words he wants to say before he expresses them. Although he has a way to go in his language abilities, he has come very far and made great progress.'
    Quote from parent June 2022

    'He has improved a lot and has built his confidence. Thank you to everyone that added to his knowledge. And thank you for the help and support.'
    Quote from parent July 2019

    'We have noticed huge improvements in his development since he's been placed in the Resource Base. He has become more confident in everyday tasks. His speech has developed enormously, as well as his social skills becoming much better. He is trying really hard to initiate play and conversation with other children and he enjoys group play dates. We really appreciate all the help the school provided for him and all the hard work and support from the teachers. Thank you!!'
    Quote from parent July 2019

    'I couldn't have asked for a better setting for my child from when he started his education at Miles Coverdale. He has flourished into this confident, well spoken little boy who I am extremely proud of. He's very independent, happy and loves going to school. I cannot thank the teachers / support staff enough for all the time and effort they have given to my child, this is proven by how far he has come in the 3 years he has been in the Speech and Language Resource Base. I'm now looking forward to seeing how far he progresses in the mainstream part of the school in September. Once again thank you to all the staff for all the time and dedication they have given to my child.'
    Quote from parent July 2019

    'His experience in the Resource Base has been very positive, he has massively improved his reading, writing and maths skills, and his confident has grown. He has made fantastic friends with his peers alike. The Resource Base has provided an environment that has nurtured his learning in a way that was beneficial to his progress and development. He joined the Resource Base as a timid youngster and is leaving as a confident, well spoken little boy. Thank you guys for your support and hard work. 
    Quote from parent July 2018

    'We feel very grateful and thankful for all the help and support that Miles Coverdale has given him. Miles Coverdale has given him a chance to join in different clubs and school activities which have benefitted him a lot. As a parent we feel very proud to see him looking so confident while performing on stage. Thanks for the equal opportunity that you have given him and he is surely going to miss Class P and everyone at Miles Coverdale'
    Quote from parent July 2018

    'When our son came to you, he desperately wanted to communicate, but could barely speak five words. Today he leads sections of assemblies and speaks for his class on the School Council. (You) are nothing short of miracle workers. We can never repay how you've helped our child. Thank you!!!
    Quote from parent July 2018

    'Her speech has improved dramatically and she has become more confident. This was one of the best things that has happened to her and I don't know how her speech would have gone without your help. As her Mother I want to thank you so much for helping her blossom and I hope that you continue to keep helping young children.'
    Quote from parent July 2017

    'He has developed tremendously in the Resource Base. He was practically non-verbal when he started in 2014 and now is conversational and understanding and developing his vocabulary constantly. His years spent here were life changing for him. The attention and dedication he has received from all in the Resource Base has been amazing.'
    Quote from parent July 2017

    'He has done amazingly in the Resource Base. When he first got referred, he used his own made-up sign language and very little words. His confidence has grown, his ability to communicate is amazing. The staff and especially teachers in the Resource Base have been amazing, we really cannot thank you enough.'
    Quote from parent July 2017

    'When he started at the Resource Base he was a very shy and retreated little boy who did not want to speak or interact with others. After completing his placement in the Resource Base he has blossomed and really developed and now is confident when communicating with others. This is mostly down to the hard work and dedication the teachers have put in and I could not recommend you highly enough.'
    Quote from parent July 2017

    'She has improved a lot in language and confidence in herself. She has improved in sharing and being kind with other people.'
    Quote from parent July 2017

  • What do children say about the Unit?

    'When I was in Class E I felt scared and nervous. I changed my feelings by having friends. I learnt awesome things that made me happy. I was scared without my Mum and Dad. I got the hang of it and I wasn't scared without my Mum and Dad. I love phonics.'
    Quote from pupil July 2018

Parent Workshops Summer 2023

Summer Workshops

Parent Workshops Spring 2022-2023

Parent Workshops Spring Term

Parent Workshops Autumn 2022-2023

DLD Resource Base Parent Workshops Autumn 2

Introduction to DLD (2/11/21)

Paget Gorman (9/11/21)

Cued Articulation (16/11/21

Behaviour 4 Learning (24/11/21)

Cued Articulation (19/05/22)

Colourful Semantics (10/11/22)

Paget Gorman Session 1 (30/11/22)

Handwriting (01/02/23)

Blank's Level Questions (09/02/23)

Paget Gorman Session 2 (15/03/23)

Paget Gorman Session 3 (10/05/23)

Line Coding (25/05/23)

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