West Hill School

Helping children Achieve
as much as they possibly can
and to Flourish in adult life

Teaching & Learning

Structured lessons

In Seniors there is a consistent lesson learning journey across all subjects so that pupils know what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will learn it before the learning evaluation.

Great emphasis is placed on visual and practical learning activities and strategies, with care taken to make learning motivational and relevant.

Learning to learn

We spend time carefully teaching and reinforcing learning strategies so that pupils can ultimately problem-solve and work as independently as possible.


In addition to the approaches used in Optima, teachers are trained in the use of Elklan, a programme designed by speech and language therapists, to enable them to be more effective in supporting children with speech, language and communication challenges.

The impact of this approach to language across the curriculum is that teachers:

  • Understand the importance of their role in developing children’s communication
  • Can support the communication development of all children in the school environment across the curriculum and in the playground
  • Have a range of strategies at their disposal which can be used to support children’s communication whatever and wherever they are being taught
  • Are more confident in interpreting school leadership reports and programmes , which means they can be implemented more easily and effectively
  • Know how to modify their interactions, which is of benefit to ALL children
  • Can change the way they speak to children so they understand more of what is said
  • Can encourage talking by using specific strategies, such as modelling language, which can be used anytime, anywhere
  • Know how to support a child with interaction difficulties
  • Know the types of children they can work with and those who need to be seen by the Speech and Language Therapist
  • Are more confident in talking to parents about their child’s speaking and listening skills
  • Share a common language with the Speech and Language Therapy service

Supported communication

We use Makaton signing for those children who need help to communicate, and Communicate InPrint symbols are used extensively throughout the school.


During your child’s time at West Hill we try to ensure that there are always opportunities for wider social and academic interaction. While your child is in a class group for the year, there are a range of ways in which pupils may associate, socialise and learn with other children.

These include:

  • mixed reading groups
  • vertically grouped classes
  • setting for subjects where and if beneficial
  • additional curriculum enrichment sessions
  • lunchtime and after-school clubs
  • residential trips and other school trips
  • curriculum theme days
  • unstructured times (such as before school play)
  • joint class delivery in subjects such as PE

Read our Behaviour for Learning policy here.