The Shrubberies School

Whole School Curriculum


Total Communication in School

Establishing a Total Communication environment for all.

The Shrubberies School promotes the process of Total communication for children and their communities throughout the county of Gloucestershire. Our Philosophy is that communication is a basic human right through which people are valued by themselves, different communities and Societies.

The Shrubberies School is part of the Gloucestershire Total communication Project, Our aim is to ensure that all pupils with Total communication needs in School have a consistent and coherent approach to meeting their needs throughout their lives and environments, helping to make consistent and positive differences in their lives. We follow strategies which enable children and young people to have equal opportunities to:

  • express their needs
  • make friends
  • be included
  • make Choices
  • achieve independence
  • learn
  • express feelings
  • feel less frustrated
  • Understand others.

Staff at the Shrubberies School support students with a variety of communication strategies, depending on the needs on the individual. These include:

  • Signing- GTC
  • Symbols- Using the communication in print programme
  • PECS- Picture exchange communication system
  • Communication profiles and placemats
  • Objects of reference
  • Photographs
  • Eye pointing and E-Tran frame
  • VOCAS- Voice output communication aids
  • Voice output - Go Talk, Big Mac-switches.
  • ipads – using Proloquo2go, Widgit Go
  • Intensive interaction.
  • Music Therapy
  • Visual aids
  • anything that promotes more effective two-way communication

We have two teachers who are responsible for Total Communication at the Shrubberies School. Requests are made by teachers and parents who require a short term intervention to assist students to learn new communication strategies. There is a weekly lunch time signing club for students to learn new signs and practice signing. Gloucestershire Total Communication have produced five signing DVD’s which cover basic signing, intermediate signs, religion, food and drink, colours and animals these are available to purchase.

Support is offered to parents to discuss communication needs at home, assistance with Symbols, signs and schedules, training parents to programme the Proloquo2go app to ensure the app meets individual needs.

Information for Course one of Gloucestershire Total Communication can be found on the following website.

The Extended Curriculum

The extended curriculum is the learning opportunities that are provided to extend the formal curriculum and ones that are provided that are outside of the formal curriculum. These include;

  • The use of different learning environments
    • Soft Play
    • Pond area
    • Sensory Rooms
    • Swimming
    • Outdoor Gym
    • Multi use games area (MUGA)
    • Gardening area
    • Playground
    • Hall
  • Residential Trips – all Key Stage Three and Four  are offered residential trips where appropriate
  • Educational Visits are an important part of the curriculum and students have many opportunities to learn in the wider community
  • Sporting events and activities 
  • Theatre performances
  • Taking part and watching musical performances 
  • Counselling sessions support individuals and small groups
  • Music Therapy supports communication and interaction on an individual basis
  • The School Council and Online Safety Group 
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Award is offered to Year 11 students
  • Careers


The Incidental Curriculum


Our ethos and values are at the core of everything we do. They underpin our teaching and learning, and provide an environment which prepares our pupils as confident, happy citizens.


The Incidental Curriculum is a continuous, integrated part of the school day. It is the learning that occurs spontaneously without planning. The Shrubberies School and Apperley Centre are responsive environments which reacts to students responses and uses all situations as a learning opportunity. Examples of this are;


  • Outdoor Play and Learning
  • Communication skills
  • Behaviour
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Independence
  • Interactions between staff and students
  • Modelling of social interactions
  • Respect shown to each other
  • Healthy living through healthy snacks
  • Friendship and relationships
  • How to stay safe (including online)
  • Lunchtimes, sitting at dinner table sharing a sociable meal
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Regulating anxiety 
  • The use of appropriate touch etc.


For any further details about the curriculum please contact Wendy Newby, Headteacher, on 01453 822155