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Whole school policy

Casual encounters with teaching or support staff in the corridors, or ancillary areas, often cause distress to pupils who stammer, as they are expected to talk to adults who may assume that they can do so easily.

Occasionally, their failure to reply may be seen as rudeness and a complaint may even be made to a form tutor. Some pupils may get a reputation for misbehaviour and start to live up to that if they feel that their needs are misunderstood.

In the clip, the member of staff talking in the corridor to the two boys does not personally know them. But she follows good practice when Matthew stammers, as he replies.

All teaching and support staff should be included in basic training so that they are alert to the possibility that a pupil may stammer and have the knowledge to give support. This requires a whole-staff training policy for teachers, assistants, office, dining room, library staff, caretaking and cleaning staff, and volunteers working with the pupils.

Pupils who stammer should be expected to behave as politely as other students but the acceptance by all staff for all pupils of alternative methods of communicating should be emphasised.

Greetings should be acceptable when offered by gesture, nodding, smiling, as well as conventional speaking. Gestures, such as pointing to food in the dining-room, or to an individual library book should be permitted. PHSE programmes could be developed to include these issues and develop an understanding and acceptance of diversity.

Summary

  • All staff and volunteers should be trained to follow a consistent school policy to support the communication needs of all pupils.
  • There should be acceptance of alternative methods of communication.
  • PHSE programmes for pupils could include these issues.