The transfer of responsibility for children with severe learning difficulties from the Department of Health to the D.E.S. brought with it a statutory obligation for the local education authorities to make educational provision for all mentally handicapped children. From this point on, the developmental needs of such children, including their needs in respect of opportunities for language learning, were to be met within the school. In the preceding chapter it was suggested that language acquisition is an outcome of social processes and that for this reason it is particularly sensitive to the social and physical context. Schools provide a context for language development which is already shaped by the design of the buildings, the way in which children are organised into teaching groups and the expectations of teachers regarding the forms of educational experiences which will be most beneficial. This chapter begins to describe the context of language learning within special schools by focussing on the pupils and the school staff. This is followed by a discussion of the teacher’s formal responsibilities in respect of language and communication, the use of sign and symbol systems in the schools and the way in which language activities are integrated within the school day.