Teaching and Learning at Manor School


At Manor School we believe that children learn best when they are happy and motivated. We adopt a highly individualised approach to teaching and learning to ensure that all our pupils have their needs met and can access the curriculum at their level.

All our classrooms are positive learning environments, carefully designed with the needs of the pupils in mind.

In all lessons pupils are challenged and stimulated using a range of teaching strategies and resources. Teachers plan enjoyable and engaging lessons, with differentiated activities to meet the needs of the whole class. Throughout their school day pupils access whole class, small group, individual and independent learning opportunities, based on their individual needs and specific learning targets. We have a high staffing ratio in our school to ensure that all pupils have sufficient guidance in their learning. All staff attend regular training sessions to ensure they are aware of current teaching methodologies, specifically those related to special needs. At Manor School we celebrate all pupils’ achievements and pride ourselves on having a happy school where children love to learn.

For more information please see our Teaching and Learning Policy

To support staff in their teaching and pupils in their learning we have a fantastic MAST (Multi-agency support team) on site. The MAST support all staff to develop their understanding and knowledge of communication systems and approaches, Occupational Therapy equipment and programs, behaviour management, and autism approaches. The MAST run a staff training program throughout the school year and work within classes to support staff and pupils.

Occupational Therapy Team

The OT team aim to promote the children’s availability to engage in their learning and play as well as support their skill development to increase efficiency and independence within learning and self-care tasks. This is accomplished through providing specialist therapeutic equipment, collaborating with teachers and class staff to support the implementation of therapeutic recommendations within existing lessons and classroom activities in a purposeful and meaningful way, and with some children (Tier 1 and 2) offering blocks of individual or small group sessions, accompanied with a class staff member.

Please see the OT page on the website for more information

Speech and Language Team

The SaLT team at Manor School aims to support all children in their learning, and all staff in their teaching, in a variety of ways.

Our ‘whole school’ tier of support provides:

• training to all staff, through half-termly CPD sessions, enabling them to make effective use of appropriate strategies and resources across our school environment (including Intensive Interaction, PECS, Makaton signing, Blank’s Levels of Questioning, key words, Communicate in Print software, using symbols, etc.),

• training to small groups of staff on a rolling basis, enabling them to gain a more in-depth knowledge and theoretical background of communication development and how best to support it, as well as honing practical skills and reflecting on their application in the classrooms (including official Makaton and Elklan training courses),

• support in the dining areas for our children and staff to use PECS and Makaton signing where applicable, and appropriate levels of language and questions,

• an emphasis on the importance of using Makaton signing to support all of our children’s communication development, through our ‘Makaton sign of the week’ competition and associated display board,

• posters to be displayed in classrooms and common areas, keeping key information about the use of strategies and resources fresh in everyone’s minds as they interact with our children,

• a resource library of toys/games which are distributed to classes according to their topics,

• a resource request service, including: all PECS resources, Makaton signs (in line drawing and/or video format), schedule symbols and strips, token and now-next boards, visual instructions for routine self-care activities, word-walls of topic vocabulary, symbol-based lotto games, sequencing resources, belt symbols, simplified and symbolised adaptations of focus books, etc.,

• and, an open-door policy for advice to any member of staff, at any time.

In addition, all parents/family members/carers are welcome to make use of our open-door policy (this includes telephone and email as well) and our resource request service at any point during their child’s time at Manor School.

Our intervention tiers of support encompass the ‘direct intervention’ and ‘indirect intervention’ pathways. Following initial assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist on entry to Manor School, our children are assigned to one of these pathways, according to how the SaLT team and classroom staff can best meet their needs. Both pathways aim to support children’s learning and staff members’ teaching through:

• comprehensive assessment periods and detailed reports,

• goal recommendations and ongoing advice regarding target selection and wording for each child’s Personal Intervention Plan,

• individualised support to each class team in how to embed the children’s Speaking and Listening targets into everyday interactions and teaching opportunities in the classrooms,

• individualised support to each class team in the setting up and running of daily group sessions focussing on the children’s Speaking and Listening targets, including groupings, staffing, activities, making and modelling the use of appropriate resources, and providing opportunities for staff to receive feedback and discuss their practice reflectively.

The direct intervention pathway additionally enables those children to access blocks of individual or small group therapy sessions. These aim to enhance children’s access to the world around them, both socially and educationally, by supporting the development of key skills needed for interacting with others for a variety of reasons and for engaging with the curriculum. As these sessions often take place within the classroom, and/or with a member of the class team present, they also aim to support classroom staff to make their teaching more accessible, taking into account the children’s learning and communication needs.

At Manor School, we believe that all children have the right to have a voice which is heard and acknowledged. The provision and ongoing support of appropriate Alternative and Augmentative Communication systems to any children who cannot make themselves understood through their speech is therefore a strong focus throughout the school, and an area where the SaLT team provides a high level of support. This includes the use of Makaton signing, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and in some cases Voice Output Communication Aids. These systems can have a significant impact on the extent to which a child is able to access and contribute to a happy learning environment.