Communication with groups of and individual students includes using both verbal and non-verbal methods. Examples of which are using simple language, Megaton sign language, symbols and pictures like Widget (symbol software), accessible timetables, touch cues and gestures, electronic methods like Interactive Whiteboard (BIB), ‘Pads, switches and Big Mack’s (recordable switches). Communication using these methods is intended to be accessible, empowering and enabling and is personalized according to individuals and small groups dependent on ability and understanding.
With parents and career we communicate daily via student communication books, which describe activities participated in and any other relevant information required, for example general overview of student’s well-being, eating and drinking, confirmation of medical needs fulfilled, seizures and recovery, upcoming events or changes to timetable, requests for information or practical needs (money for trip etc).
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This is supported by only including necessary information to be shared between class teams and parent/career, attempting to maintain confidentiality. Other methods of communication include a regular newsletter, arena/career coffee mornings, termed reports, letters home and annual reviews. Parents/career will also be contacted via phone for emergencies or situations requiring immediate attention or solutions.
All staff employed and volunteering at the organization participate in regular communication starting with the main notice board which is updated daily to inform of timetable and staff changes, activities to consider, visitors, absences or late arrivals and anything else identified to be shared. The board is accessible to all, conveniently situated, and staff are aware of the necessity to check throughout the day. Other methods include memos, team meetings, whole staff meetings, appraisals, one to one informal, email.
Students on placement at the organization follow the same communication route as employed staff, they will also have an appointed mentor to meet regularly with and will be expected to maintain confidentiality and adhere to the organization’s guidelines. Communication with other partners like social services, SALT etc is via efficient methods like email, which is protected by password and initials or first names only used rather than full names to maintain student confidentiality. Student records on site are shared when necessary with only relevant people.
Other communication takes place during onsite visits and annual reviews, as well as letters and phone calls are also opportunities for communication. Any verbal exchanges of information are recorded and filed and then supported by the inclusion of student passports, support files etc. Other forms of communication utilized at the organization include the website and social media which support by being efficient, accessible, regularly updated and follow guidelines for confidentiality.