What else do we offer

As well as lessons within school we provide many opportunities, such as swimming, cooking, trips, visits within the local community and residential visits as they get older.

Usually we offer after school clubs for our children and young people on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are fun sessions linked to a variety of interests – for example outdoor learning, dance, boccia and other sports, music, craft or social activities. They are supported by our DGS staff.

During the longer holidays we provide holiday schemes which are once again fun days based on encouraging socialising and following their interests. These are also supported by our DGS staff and places are allocated according to the number of requests we receive.

DGS pupil voice – talking mats

To gain the views of our pupils we use a range of strategies but one which we find particularly effective is Talking Mats.

Talking Mats is a well-researched communication tool that uses a mat and visual images to support people with communication difficulties to express their views on specific topics.

Talking Mats are an interactive resource that uses three sets of picture symbols:

  • topics
  • options
  • visual scale

Talking Mats can support children and young people in the following ways:

  • Enables them to communicate how they’re feeling about certain thing
  • Allows them to become more independent and involved in decision making around their education, health and care
  • Support them to understand the issues you’re discussing with them
  • Encourages involvement in goal setting/target setting
  • To determine outcomes
  • To develop relationships with communication partners

When working in this way it is important for us to have thought carefully about the topic or questions to be asked and ensure the necessary picture symbols are there ready.

We then need to ensure anyone working with the pupil gives them plenty of time to process their thoughts and respond.

We also check our understanding of what they have communicated with us and give them an opportunity to change anything.

We then take a photo of the completed mat so that we can act upon any issues or for our records about their views.

50 Things To Do