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Kingsweston School


Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

Makaton is based on British Sign Language but signs are used alongside speech at all times. Using signs can help people who have no speech or speech may not be clear, and symbols (for example on picture cards) help those unable to sign.

Makaton is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual's needs and used at a level suitable for them.

What are the benefits of using Makaton?

Makaton is regularly used in mainstream schools, to support all children to develop communication, language and literacy skills.  It is also supports integration, as children and young people with and without language difficulties can communicate with each other, learn and play together more easily.

Some of our pupils may feel frustrated as they may know what they want but are unable to express it. Makaton reduces this frustration, allowing them to communicate meaningfully and effectively which promotes independence.

Tips on using Makaton

  • Always use your dominant hand to sign (you may need both hands for some signs).
  • Not every word in the sentence needs to be signed. Sign key words. Keep it simple and speak naturally when you sign.
  • Always say the word you are signing and add facial expression as this helps others’ understanding.


For more tips watch Chapter one - what are Makaton signs and symbols? video from NHS Kent Community Health.

Let's talk Makaton @Kingsweston School

At Kingsweston School, students are encouraged to use Makaton Core Signs every day, which are modelled  by supportive staff.  Makaton Core Signs are the signs needed for everyday communication, e.g., to express immediate needs like food, drinks, toilet, and home.  It also includes vocabulary for more abstract concepts like time and emotions.

kws makaton core signs.pdf

Every term, students are challenged to learn new Makaton Topic Signs, which are displayed across the school, shared with parents, and used by staff during topic lessons, e.g., Story time.


Term 2 - World War & People who help us (2023/2024)Term 3 - Rainforest & Jungle (2023/2024)Term 4 - To infinity & Beyond (2023/2024)


Term 2 - Wicked Weather: Autumn (2022/2023)Term 2 - Wicked Weather: Winter (2022/2023)Term 3 - Human Body (2022/2023)Term 4 - Celebrations (2022/2023)Term 5 - Invaders (2022/2023)Term 5 - EY Fairy Tales (2022/2023)Term 6 - Kingstock Festival (2022/2023)Term 6 - EY Fun Fairs & Festivals (2022/2023)