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Please let us know by 8.15am if your child is going to be absent from school by telephoning 01282 682260 and choosing option 1. Alternatively you can use the parent app or email attendance@pchs.lancs.sch.uk.

A Total Communication Environment

We adopt a ‘Total Communication’ approach and embrace that communication is not just about talking. We also emphasise the importance of body language, signs, symbols, objects and more creative mediums such as music and art. This facilitates individuals with communication difficulties to interact with others in the way most accessible to them. 

Total Communication involves pupils and staff using every form of communication available to them, with particular emphasis on what is relevant to individuals. This can include: spoken language (verbal communication), non-verbal communication (e.g. body language, facial expression) and Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). 

AAC systems used at PCHS&C include:

  • Voice Output Communication Aids
  • Makaton signing
  • Symbols
  • Core communication boards
  • Core communication books
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Pragmatic Organised Dynamic Display (PODD)
  • Objects of reference
  • Visual supports e.g. TEACCH
  • Intensive interaction
  • Communication passports

A Total Communication environment supports everyone to increase their functional communication (communication used in everyday life). It aims to improve quality of life, develop social communication skills and facilitate more communication opportunities for students, staff, family and friends. Careful consideration is given to the learning environment in order to make the communication systems on offer as effective as possible. Consideration of a sensory supportive environment including lighting, background noise, position, posture and objects that may distract, will help individuals form connections and facilitate successful interactions.

When pupils start school, we often do not know what their communication potential is. It is our role as educators to recognise their level of understanding and to identify their preferred methods of communicating. A ‘Total Communication’ environment helps us to identify personal communication strengths and challenges and allows us flexibility in using the most appropriate communication method with each pupil. It also helps us make informed educational decisions regarding the communication methods that will support a pupil’s lifelong learning and future pathway. We work closely with outside agencies, as well as commissioning our own independent providers, to ensure the best communication outcomes for each individual.

Language provides the foundation of thinking and learning and should be prioritised.  Providing communication opportunities, consistent modelling and using a combination of effective tailored strategies will facilitate the development of personal preference and the skills to access purposeful engagement with others.


Joanne Chatburn

SLT Lead for ED TECH and Communication (MA in Inclusive Education and SEN, research interest communication)

Hayley Horrocks

TA3 for Communication



Speech & Language Team

Laura Gibbons

Lead Teacher for Communication and AAC (Assistive Technology for complex communication, physical & learning needs)

Louise Wilkinson

TA2 for Communication

Sandra Gregory

Independent Speech & Language Therapist

Nicola Fielden

Independent Speech & Language Therapist

Communication Provision

We believe communication is at the foundation of good quality teaching and learning. Therefore, relevant communication support is provided for all students who attend PCHS&C. The diagram below shows how this provision is delivered.
Click on the sections of the triangle to view the offer. 


About – Ace Centre
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A Total Communication Environment
The Springboard Curriculum

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Understanding & developing communication
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Resource 5 – A total communication approach
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Total Communication – Sense
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A Total Communication Approach SLT
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My Communication – Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
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Inclusive communication overview RCSLT
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Pendle Community High School & College
Pendle Vale Campus, Oxford Road, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 8LF
Tel: 01282 682260

Headteacher: Debra Grogan
Chair of Governors: Trevor Ashton (Address c/o above)

Receptionist: Samantha Gray (M,T,W)
Rebecca Brown (W,T,F)
E-mail: reception@pchs.lancs.sch.uk


Paper copies of the information on our website can be requested via email

Universal Provision at PCHS&C

This forms part of the Total Communication environment that we offer to every student who attends PCHS&C. This includes, but is not limited to:

• Visual supports around school to support understanding and expression of language
• Symbol supported curriculum
• Differentiated curriculum to meet individual needs
• Core vocabulary boards in all areas of school/college
• Use of Makaton signing
• Interactive class visual timetable
• Objects of reference on doors and in classrooms for key transitions
• Staff trained in use of communication friendly approaches
• Staff trained in Autism friendly approaches
• On site communication team including Speech and Language Therapist
• NAS accredited school
• Sensory supportive environment
• Zones of Regulation
• Sensory regulation/movement breaks

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Targeted Provision at PCHS&C

This is input targeted towards individual student’s needs but continues to be met at a classroom level and can include:

• Individual TEACCH timetables for identified students
• Intervention groups e.g. AAC club, Jabadao, Lego Therapy
• Now – next boards
• Working for boards
• SaLT programmes carried out by TAs
• AAC (personalised) in class
• Work stations for identified students

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Specialist Provision at PCHS&C

This input is only delivered by a qualified Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT)

• SaLT assessment/review
• 1:1 sessions carried out by SaLT working on SaLT targets towards EHCP targets
• Group sessions carried out by SaLT working on SaLT targets towards EHCP targets
• SaLT reports
• SaLT target writing
• Attendance by SaLT at Annual Review meetings

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