Verbal Behaviour underpinning outstanding personalised learning
Manor School has a particularly effective approach to ensuring that pupils’ learning is highly personalised and well focused on meeting their individual needs. In all classes across the school, this is guided by personal intervention plans (PIPs). These are used to ensure that learning activities are well matched to pupils’ level of development. The production and revision of PIPs involves all members of the school’s multi-agency support team (MAST) as well as teachers and teaching assistants. Consequently, therapy is an integral part of classroom practice.
The school has adopted the Verbal Behaviour (VB) teaching methodology as one of its principle approaches. This uses the principles of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) but in a more natural environment, focusing on what motivates and engages pup ils. The school particularly uses this teaching methodology in three dedicated classes for pupils who have especially complex needs. These pupils were not able to engage with learning effectively and were not able to communicate functionally.
A formal assessment system (based on level of development) is used to identify the pupils who would benefit from this approach and to monitor their progress. It assesses the ability of pupils to, for example, ‘request’ and ‘imitate’ as key indicators of the level at which they are functioning. It also seeks to identify the missing key developmental points which are fundamental to learning and identify specific areas that need to be developed. This information is then used to plan exceptionally personalised teaching to meet pupils’ individual needs.
Actions has the school taken to establish expertise in this area?
- The headteacher and lead behaviour practitioner brought expertise from their
previous s chool and started to implement the principles upon appointment.
- They have established a fully integrated MAST who train staff and support class teams to implement interventions in classrooms. This is led by an assistant headteacher and includes a lead behaviour practitioner, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, a family liaison worker, interventions HLTA, therapy assistants, Makaton tutor and Poppy the dog.
- Members of the team receive professional supervision and continuing professional development to maintain the currency of their skills, knowledge and understanding.
- Visits from an external behaviour consultant, online VB courses and visits to other schools using ABA/VB approaches involve all members of staff responsible for leading or teaching specialist VB classes.
- Staff have also been trained as Makaton, ELKLAN and Attention Autism tutors to support this approach, and personalised teaching in general, across the school.
Evidence of the impact on pupils’ outcomes?
The school’s tracking information shows that pupils taught in the VB classes make accelerated progress compared to the progress they were making before they were taught using this methodology. This is because they previously found it more difficult to access learning because they lacked the necessary communication skills.
The approach particularly develops pupils’ functional communication skills. The key outcomes are that pupils learn the fundamentals of communication, develop the motivation to communicate with the listener and have sufficient skills to have their needs and wants understood. At the school, for example, all pupils are now able to attend or access group sessions at an appropriate level. They acquire the pre-requisite skills for learning, such as requesting, imitation, following instructions and waiting. In turn this contributes to improved self-esteem and independence.
Age Range (select all that apply) : 5-7, 7-11, 11-14
Approximate number on roll : 100-300
Region : London
School Website : www.manorschoolbrent.co.uk
Name of person submitting information : Jayne Jardine
Role of person submitting information : Other
If other please state job role : Principal