Symbol software can be used to produce learning materials for students progressing towards reading text. Symbols can also support behaviour and attentiveness. This is of particular importance as the government’s inclusion initiatives mean that many children who would have previously been placed in special schools now access education in a mainstream setting.
In schools where a high proportion of the pupils have English as an Additional Language, symbols can provide a way to introduce students to a new language or new words.
In mainstream primary schools, it has been found that as many as 60% of the children have chosen to use symbol supported materials instead of unsupported text because they provide additional visual stimulation and motivation to learn. Yr 5 teacher - "The symbols key visual learners in. 2/3 of the class prefer symbolised resources."
Class teacher - "All the symbol support for the pre-learning of key concepts on the solar system has helped Yan to access the curriculum. This has increased his self-esteem and confidence. He was able to use the resources/games with other members of his class. He was able to answer questions that others could not."
Class teacher - "Joint teaching with Y3 teacher on creative writing. We used symbols to support the 5 different story elements. Most children were able to use the symbols to plan their own stories over two hour sessions independently."
The Symbols Inclusion Project (SIP) is a collaboration between Widgit Software and Warwickshire IDS (Integrated Disability Service) on the use of symbols to support inclusion and curriculum access. The purpose is to create genuinely inclusive learning environments for all children and young people.