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Aurora Hanley achieves Elklan Communication Friendly Status

Aurora Hanley, an Ofsted Outstanding rated special needs school in Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent has added to its impressive array of awards by achieving Elklan Communication Friendly Setting (CFSe) accreditation.

We are passionate that every young person deserves the opportunity to succeed – and as our students often have complex communication needs associated with Autism spectrum conditions, finding tailored solutions to help students develop their communication skills and confidence is essential.”

Elklan CFSe accreditation is awarded to schools that have trained and supported all their staff in communication and language development. Schools achieving Elklan CFSe accreditation will also have shown evidence of embedding this knowledge in targeted interventions and through the implementation of a Communication Policy. 

Six Teaching Assistants from Aurora Hanley completed 10 weeks of training. Two of the group were then chosen to become Lead Communication Practitioners – and went on to deliver additional Elklan modules to all school staff. A comprehensive audit was then carried out before CFSe accreditation was confirmed.

A number of creative strategies and games are employed to help students break through their own barriers to effective communication, including Vocabulary Jenga and the aptly titled ‘Barrier Game’. This was an activity where students are asked to collect three random objects from outside and then describe them to their partner, who has to guess what it is. A visual display includes prompts for the students which shows them how to communicate with each other during the activity, and of course photos for evidence.

Tracy Whitehurst added: “The training we received from Elklan has built on the skills of the team at Aurora Hanley, and empowered them to deliver a varied and creative program. This approach is helping our young people break down some of the communication barriers they experience so they can maximise their skills and abilities in preparation for future life.”