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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Friday, 24 June 2016

Narrowing the Gap: Part 2: Ben’s Story: Raising Attainment, by Susan McMackin, SaLT

We are all teachers of SEN. How we can make the difference.

Ben’s Story: Raising Attainment

SLCN, communication, child development, language, speech and language

0-2 years

Ben is a happy friendly baby. He is never any trouble and sleeps and eats well. He is a bit late to talk but so were his father and brother.

3-5 years

Ben is a lively physical boy. At nursery he sometimes gets frustrated when he doesn’t get his own way. He flits between activities and takes a while to settle. He talks to adults but it can be hard to understand him. Staff have noticed that his vocabulary is slow to develop so they work on some simple language games and focus Ben’s attention before giving him instructions.

6–11 years

Ben is behind his peers but his teacher always gives him plenty of time to answer questions and carry out tasks. Ben is finding literacy hard and receives extra help. He has attended several Language Link groups and is beginning to follow instructions and learn vocabulary more easily. Ben is a lively member of the class but is learning to control his impulsive behaviour and has responded well to time-out sessions.

11-14 years

A transition support plan was created for Ben. His KS4 mentor helps him find his way around the school and supports him at lunch & break times. The year group manager meets Ben weekly for tutor time and emails mum regularly. At first Ben refused any additional support but his KS4 mentor accompanied him and now he goes on his own. Ben has a short attention span and finds it hard to listen in lessons so the SENCo works with teachers to promote more paired work and practical tasks in class. Ben is doing well in DT and attends DT club. Ben’s attendance is 96%.

14-16 years

Ben still struggles with English but his teacher uses media in lessons and Ben engages with this. Student Support helps Ben to keep a record of key vocabulary for study. Ben has a small group of friends at school. His work experience was at a garage. An LSA went on Ben’s first day to settle him. His report was excellent. Ben is expected to get 5 GCSEs.

Leaving School

A transition support plan was created for College. Ben is doing the Motor Vehicle course. He loves the practical but ‘could do without the written stuff.’ The college helped Ben to secure a placement at the garage where he did his work experience and he continues to develop his literacy and numeracy skills through work based learning. His attendance at college is excellent. Ben has met some friends on the course.

How does Language Link help to raise attainment?


Standardised  Assessment: Online,  TA-led to identify a child’s ability in key areas of language.


Provision Maps: Live, instant data gives picture of general language levels and tracks effectiveness of group and individual interventions.


Support Plans and Resources: Planned small intervention groups making the best use of a TA’s time and expertise, whole class strategies for teachers.


Repeat Testing: Offers evidence of any improvement in language skills. Measured outcomes for Pupil Premium and Ofsted.

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