Total Communication Base

Our vision is of a school without barriers for deaf children.

We are a specialised resource that supports children from Emmbrook Infant School and Emmbrook Junior School. The provision is an integral part of the two schools with a culture of inclusion and a strong focus on achievement for deaf children.

We adopt a child-centred approach to communication. This means that we respond directly to the needs of the individual and all forms of communication are equally valued. We use speech, Sign Supported English and BSL. Support packages for the children follow a ‘needs led model’ so that the level of support is tailored to the individual needs of the child.  With this flexible approach we ensure that the whole curriculum is made accessible to our deaf children and supports their individual aptitudes and talents. 

We are very proud to be rolling out our introductory programme of teaching BSL as the schools ‘chosen’ MFL in the Junior School. This exciting new curriculum will not only teach the mainstream children signing but also train their class teachers at the same time, up skilling the whole school community to Signature Level 1 standard by the time pupils leave in Year 6.

The schools have been adapted to provide acoustically favourable classrooms, including infrared Soundfield systems in all classes in the Infant and Junior schools.  We use personal FM systems to help pupils listening in class, small group work and 1:1 interventions. Children are encouraged from a very early age to become independent in the use of their equipment, to remove, clean and fit their hearing aids/cochlear implants and to report difficulties. Key staff perform daily listening checks on hearing aids and cochlear implants to monitor the sound quality and to enable pupils to recognise and respond to any changes and interference that may occur.

We care about needs of the whole deaf child and foster high levels of self-esteem, confidence and a positive self-identity.  We take full advantage of the wide range of opportunities to develop confidence and self-esteem alongside hearing peers as well as a sense of the child’s own deaf identity. We encourage children to work independently and develop good personal and social skills.

We work closely with the Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service and cochlear implant/audiology centres ensuring that children within the resource have joined up care with excellent communication between specialists.  Qualified teachers of the deaf, a speech and language therapist, an educational audiologist, an educational psychologist, specialist teachers, mainstream teachers and learning support assistants all work closely together with the children. We welcome children with complex additional needs and the schools work in close partnership with external agencies to support the development and progress of each child.

We have strong links between home and school – this relationship is of the utmost importance to us.  Daily links are fostered through the use of a Home School Book, in which information is shared and parents can raise issues of a day -to-day nature or seek guidance. We offer an ‘open door’ policy of family support in which regular contact is encouraged and parents are invited to discuss any issues of concern, without the need to wait for more formal meetings such as Annual Reviews or Parent Consultation evenings.

If you are considering Emmbrook Infant or Junior Schools for your child please get in touch.  Visits are warmly welcomed.

What our parents say about us….

“Starting school can be a nerve-wracking experience for any family, but for those whose children have complex additional needs, this milestone often comes with an extra dose of stress and anxiety. When our son started Reception year, we were worried how he would navigate the new environment, communicate with his peers, and access the curriculum. Emmbrook Infant School and the Total Communication Base in particular, however, have made this experience easy for us and enjoyable for our son. With the help of the Qualified Teachers of the Deaf and specialist Learning Support Assistants, Gabriel has not only settled in without any problems, but has also developed a real love for learning. Thanks to the patience, expertise and, above all, a truly caring approach from everyone at the Total Communication Base, Gabriel is now genuinely thriving at school. He has started developing his Deaf identity, grown in confidence and learned how to advocate for himself. As parents who are new to the world of hearing loss and special educational needs, we have always felt very well supported by all members of staff – they have taken care to ensure we are well-informed, re-assured and have the tools and knowledge to support Gabriel’s learning at home. As a parent, you really can’t wish for more! Sending our son to Emmbrook Infant School has genuinely been one of the best decisions we have made as parents.”