Gwynedd schools lead way in supporting children with communication needs

By Dylan Davies   |   News editor   |
Wednesday 23rd February 2022 8:30 am
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Elklan status Gwynedd schools
Ysgol Hafod Lon in Penrhyndeudraeth and Ysgol Pendalar have secured ‘Communication Friendly Setting Elklan’ status. (Gwynedd Council )

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Two Gwynedd schools are making the most of an innovative way of working which has helped the communication skills of their pupils.

Ysgol Pendalar and Ysgol Hafod Lon were the first special schools in Wales to secure the coveted ‘Communication Friendly Setting Elklan’ status.

This followed two-years of hard work by both schools with key members of the teaching staff received training. All school staff were then trained through a cascade process of learning and delivering the programme to pupils throughout the schools in Caernarfon and Penrhyndeudraeth.

Cllr Cemlyn Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Education said: “We are delighted that Ysgol Pendalar and Ysgol Hafod Lon have achieved this achievement – and were indeed the first special schools in Wales to do so.

“Communication of all kinds is essential to ensure that all individuals within schools are heard.

“The work completed to achieve this quality mark demonstrates a clear commitment from both schools to putting in place the best conditions for engaging all their learners and staff. We are extremely proud of their achievements.”

Elklan was established in 1999 by two speech and language therapists, Liz Elks and Henrietta McLachlan, to train education staff to become more effective in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

The programme widely used in Gwynedd schools and promoted by the local Health board’s Speech and Language Therapy service to support pupils with additional communication needs.

Achieving the ‘Communication Friendly Setting Elklan’ accreditation has been a significant Investment of time for both schools working in partnership with the Speech and Language Therapy service and supported by the local Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion Service.

Liz Elks, Director of Elklan Training added:

“Each school has specialist teachers known as Lead Communication Practitioners who are an ongoing resource to train new staff and continue to build each school’s capacity to support communication.

“Lowri Roberts, who tutored the programme, has high praise for all those who took part and I am especially pleased as these are the first schools to attain the coveted Elklan Communication Friendly Special School status in Wales.”

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