The Language Unit provides a personalised curriculum to suit the learning style and specific needs of each child, promoting independence and a positive mindset.
The Language Unit is a specialist unit for children with Education Health Care Plans, for whom speech, language and communication is the primary need.
The Language Unit provides a multidisciplinary approach to learning, employing three Speech and Language Therapists, an Occupational Therapist and a Therapy Assistant.
Each class is taught by a Specialist Teacher and supported by Specialist Teaching Assistants providing a high staff to pupil ratio.
There are four mixed age-group classes:
Nursery and Reception - Apple Class
Year 1 and Year 2 - Cherry Class
Year 3 and Year 4 - Pear Class
Year 5 and Year 6 - Lime Class
Pupils in the Language Unit have opportunities through out the day to access mainstream education. The Language Unit is integrated into the mainstream school, classrooms of the Language Unit classes are situated amongst the mainstream classes.
Due to the high demand of Language Unit tours, we now offer two open days each term for prospective parents to look round. Please call or email:
0208 672 6024
All applications must be made via Wandsworth Special Needs Assessment Service (SNAS).
Mr Samuel Hitchen
Head of The Language Unit
Language Unit Curriculum Statement
All pupils who attend Smallwood’s Language Unit have been identified as having speech and language as their primary area of need, but many have additional needs including Autistic Spectrum Disorder and physical or sensory needs.
Pupils have access to a broad and ambitious curriculum that is adapted in response to individual strengths and needs. The curriculum on offer matches that accessed by mainstream pupils in the school, and is complimented by provision related to the individualised outcomes in pupils’ Education and Health Care Plans.
- To provide all pupils with a wide range of challenging and ambitious learning experiences that promote independence.
- To adopt a flexible approach to the delivery of the curriculum for each individual pupil, by carefully planning rich learning opportunities that are well matched to strengths and needs.
- To effectively remove barriers to learning, prioritising strategies that actively promote the development of speech, language and communication skills, to ensure that each pupil reaches their academic potential.
- To holistically embed therapy approaches and recommendations across the curriculum, most notably those from SALT and OT.
- To ensure that pupils regularly access play based multisensory learning opportunities, including outdoor learning.
- To effectively prepare pupils for the next stage in their lives, including developing their self-care and independent living skills.
- To promote the core values of Smallwood Primary School and Language Unit:
Never Give Up
Believe in Yourself
Everyone is Equal
Always Take Part
In line with our mainstream pupils, the starting point of our curriculum offer for pupils in the Language Unit is the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework and National Curriculum. The unit is organised into 4 classes using parallel year groupings as follows: Nursery/Reception, Year 1/Year 2, Year 3/Year 4 and Year 5/Year 6. All classes have high staff to pupil ratios and substantial day to day support from our Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapist.
The curriculum is delivered by:
- Creating communication friendly environments where pupils are given regular opportunities to explore language and communication and where adults effectively model the use of language
- Providing regular child led play activities, including in our KS2 classes
- Maximising opportunities to access mainstream lessons and integrated learning activities
- Ensuring a personalised approach that is built around the specific needs of individual pupils and that allows for flexibility in, for example, the groupings of children within the unit and across mainstream
- Adopting a holistic approach to supporting families, regularly providing support and training for parents/carers
- Creating regular opportunities for language unit and mainstream colleagues, as well as our speech and language therapists and occupational therapist, to plan learning opportunities together
- Fully integrating speech and language and occupational therapy targets into the curriculum at the planning stage and ensuring progression and growing independence in these vital areas
- Effectively using interventions to impact on pupils’ progress in line with their personal EHCP targets
- Using a range of up-to-date technology and ICT equipment to remove barriers to learning and positively impact on pupils’ progress
- Using a wide range of visual supports and aids to support learning activities including integrating the Colourful Semantics approach to promote literacy and language skills
- Ensuring regular access to sensory circuits and sensory supports under the direction of our occupational therapist
- Providing access to a programme to develop life skills including self-care, often through role play opportunities and the use of social stories and sensory supports
- Providing access to activities and interventions to develop social communication skills
- Maximising opportunities for all pupils to experience outdoor learning opportunities, taking advantage of the extensive grounds at Smallwood.
- Providing ongoing therapeutic support during the school holidays
- Engaging in effective, well planned activities to prepare pupils for transitions within Smallwood and beyond
- Integrating pupil voice into the ongoing review of our curriculum offer through, for example, the use of One Page Profile and child contributions/attendance in Annual Reviews
Pupils leave Smallwood Language Unit as confident, motivated and resilient learners who have been well prepared for the next stage in their journey through life. They are able to approach learning tasks independently and to use a range of strategies to effectively solve problems. They express their opinions and needs and have well developed social communication skills. They have good self-care skills and a sound understanding of how to navigate day to day life situations in the wider community as well as in more familiar environments. Above all, pupils leave Smallwood Language unit with a sense of pride and achievement and being able to articulate the many skills and attributes they have gained along the way.
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and Language Therapy is at the heart of everything we do at Smallwood! All children attending our language unit have a primary need of speech, language and communication and a focus on communication is key to all teaching and intervention in the language unit.
In Smallwood Language Unit we have 8 days of Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) support a week. Our SALTs are employed by the NHS and work with every child who attends the language unit.
The Speech and Language Therapy Therapists (Language Unit)
Sarah Cook (Lead)
3 days a week
3 days a week
2 days a week
Within the Language Unit, the SALT team work with the classroom staff to ensure that communication targets are embedded across the curriculum and that staff have the training and expertise to maximise each child’s communication skills. Each child in the base receives direct speech and language therapy at least once a week within the Language Unit, including assessment and observation, and lessons planned and delivered in collaboration with the class teacher. The SALT team work collaboratively with class teachers to set and review targets, plan lessons and classroom activities and to monitor and adjust the classroom environment to make sure it is ‘communication friendly’ to support the needs of all children in the class.
The SALT team also regularly run whole team training for the language unit and the wider school and targeted training around supporting individual children to continually up-skill staff to meet the communication needs of all children. The SALT team attend all annual review meetings and liaise regularly with parents. There is a weekly drop-in session for parents to meet with a therapist to discuss their child’s progress and to receive advice and strategies for supporting their child at home.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything you would like to discuss.
If you have any queries, please contact: Sarah Cook firstname.lastname@example.org (Speech and Language Therapist, Wandsworth Resource Base Team).
Occupational Therapy (OT) has become a large part of the Smallwood Language Unit. Despite all children having a primary need of speech, language and communication, many of our students also have additional occupational therapy needs.
OT focuses on our students being as independent and successful as they can in all aspects of their daily life. It covers areas such as self-care, fine motor skills, handwriting, gross motor skills, food 'pickiness', emotional regulation, and sensory regulation.
Our occupational therapist works privately through Kiki’s Children Clinic 2 days a week at Smallwood Language Unit.
Angie Conroy, one of the language unit’s teaching assistants, also works as a therapies’ assistant, in particular an OT assistant, 3 days a week.
Francesca Arlotta (OT)
2 days a week
3 days a week
The OT and OT assistant work closely with all of the language unit staff, ensuring OT targets and recommendations are embedded within the curriculum and in the classroom, as this is where our students spend most of their time! Intervention also occurs through small group sessions, class-based sessions and 1-on-1 work and assessment.
The OT also regularly runs whole team trainings within the school and to families of students. The OT is always able to provide advice and strategies to parents to help them to support their child at home.