Professional development in speech, language and communication: findings from a national survey
In summer 2016, more than 1200 members of the children and young people’s workforce responded to a survey from The Communication Trust, which asked about their experiences of professional development in speech, language and communication (SLC). Their responses revealed that, although they were nearly unanimous (99%) in their belief in the vital importance of children’s SLC skills, there are significant gaps in their professional development in this area. The majority (53%) reported that they had had little to no initial training in typical speech, language and communication development, and 60% had little to no training in identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.
Supporting the children and young people’s workforce to enhance their knowledge and skills is a vital part of the Trust’s work. The Trust has developed a report presenting our findings, which span every educational phase, and include responses from those working in a variety of roles across education, childcare, and health. We offer our recommendations on how government and national bodies, local authorities and training providers, the voluntary sector, and the workforce can work together to improve access to quality professional development in speech, language and communication.
The quality of the Trust’s support and the advice that we give to policy makers and commissioners is dependent upon a sound understanding of the workforce and a commitment to ensure our work is always driven by what is happening in practice. We are grateful to all those who took the time to complete the survey, as well as all those who helped to share it, and to our Consortium members, who played a key role in the consultation.
You can access the report at www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/workforcesurvey.
The new Speech, Language and Communication Framework is here!
We are very excited to launch the improved and updated Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF).
The SLCF is a free online professional development tool, accessible to all, which sets out the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children and young people need in order to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.
The SLCF self-evaluation tool enables individuals to evaluate their skills, knowledge and confidence in SLC, to highlight their professional development needs, and to find training, resources or information to ‘fill the gaps’ identified by the SLCF. Individuals can track their CPD progress over time, allowing them to see where their knowledge and confidence has increased.
In addition, the SLCF provides short online universal level activities to support learning or enable practitioners to check how much they know about a particular aspect of SLC development or speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).
The SLCF also has a group function allowing groups of practitioners, departments, whole settings and organisations to assess their collective strengths and development needs and track progress over time. This function can enable settings to prioritise and plan CPD for staff, to inform objective setting and appraise staff based on their CPD progress.
Register for the new SLCF for free today at www.slcframework.org.uk.
If you have any questions regarding the SLCF please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We would really like to hear your thoughts and experiences of using the SLCF, and we would be grateful if you could spare 10 minutes to complete this survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MLYN9N2.
What is Platform 3? – the video!
We are very excited to share a new Platform 3 video which is now live on our website here and on YouTube here. The video provides an overview of Platform 3 and the steps involved in completing the Level 3 Award via this online route.
Platform 3 is an online and cost effective learning route for the delivery and undertaking of the Level 3 qualification: Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication. Platform 3 helps all practitioners working with children and young people from a wide range of background, access this continuing professional development (CPD) Award.
Why is this qualification so important?
Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) is the most prevalent special educational need in state funded primary schools and is associated with the 3 most prevalent needs in secondary schools: social, emotional and mental health, moderate learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties. Raising the skill level of everyone working with children and young people helps to increase the quality of provision and ensures better outcomes for children and young people.
Bercow: Ten Years On Inquiry regarding children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) - Share your experiences of SLCN support
As part of Bercow: Ten Years On, a project designed to examine support for children and young people with SLCN in England, I CAN and the RCSLT have launched an inquiry.
The Bercow: Ten Years On project team are inviting individuals and organisations to contribute. There are two ways to take part:
- Submit written evidence sharing experiences of the reality of SLCN support and information for children, young people and their families and the impact of this on outcomes for children and young people.
- Complete a short online survey into the support children with SLCN are getting, and the scale of the issue.
This first phase is aimed mainly at people who work with children with SLCN, or who have responsibility for providing services. However a wide range of stakeholders are invited to engage with their call for written evidence, this includes:
- Practitioners:individuals who work with children and young people in a range of settings, such as advisory teachers and teaching assistants, early years practitioners, youth offending teams and speech and language therapists.
- Parents, carers and children and young people.
- Service managers, commissioners,decision-makers and employerswho have an interest in children’s speech, language and communication skills.
- Experts such as academics and charitable organisationswho have specialist expertise regarding SLCN and wider support.
Find out more about the Bercow: Ten Years On inquiry here.
The Shine A Light Awards 2017 - Open for Submissions!
The Communication Trust and Pearson have joined forces to launch the fifth Shine a Light Awards. The Awards seek to recognise the incredible contributions of teams, settings and individuals across England who support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.
The flagship Shine a Light Awards will return by popular demand in 2017 with a range of award categories. This includes a brand new award for SEN School or Group of the Year highlighting the exceptional work carried out in SEND schools and colleges across the country.
The Shine a Light Awards will feature the following categories:
- Early Years Setting of the Year Award
- Primary School of the Year Award
- Secondary School or College of the Year Award
- The Communication Commitment School of the Year Award
- SEN School or Group of the Year Award (New category for 2017)
- Young Person of the Year Award
- SLCN Innovation Award
- Communication Champion Award
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication Award
- Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award
Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said: “All children and young people deserve the opportunity to develop good speech, language and communication skills so they can thrive and make friends. The Shine a Light Awards gives individuals, teams, settings and young people a unique opportunity to shout about their achievements and for this best practice to be recognised across the sector.
The awards website is now open for applications and further details on how to apply can be found at www.shinealightawards.co.uk. Applications close at 11:59 pm on the 20th January 2017.
The Shine a Light Awards ceremony will take place with a secret celebrity host on 23rd March 2017 in London.
Further Education & post 16 workforce - knowledge, awareness and professional development around SLCN
The Communication Trust is looking to identify key workforce development requirements of the Further Education sector, in relation to speech, language and communication and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). It's two years since the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms came into practice and we would like to identify areas where the post 16 workforce would benefit from additional support and continuing professional development opportunities around SLCN.
If you work in the Further Education sector and would like to discuss your own professional development, or the wider workforce's understanding of and/or development opportunities in relation to SLCN, please contact Kelly Bracken at email@example.com
Talk of the Town: our independent secondary evaluation is now available!
Talk of the Town (ToTT) aims to establish a community wide approach to support the speech, language and communication skills of all children and young people living in areas of social disadvantage. Between September 2013 and July 2015, The Communication Trust delivered a randomised control trial (RCT) funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). We are very pleased to announce that today, an independent secondary evaluation from the RCT is available, and can be found here.
The secondary evaluation explores the many benefits and impact of the ToTT universal and targeted approach to SLC support. It doing so it brings together information from an in-depth process evaluation undertaken by the University of Manchester, and a broad range of data collected by the schools who involved in the RCT.
Most notably, the secondary evaluation research completed by LKM Co highlights that:
- ToTT was successfully embedded into whole school structures and systems across a variety of schools, irrespective of their starting points and contexts.
- Expert training sessions, alongside flexible and practical support provided by the speech and language therapists ensured statistically significant increases in staff's self-reported confidence in a number of areas of SLC practice.
- Teacher and TA assessments of pupils' speech and language skills became more informed and accurate, with practitioners reporting statistically significant increases in their confidence in a number of areas.
- The prevalence of SLC supporting practice increased, and practitioners reported improved confidence in supporting SLC development in class.
- Senior leaders played a crucial role in prioritising and driving forward the programme in school; with support from senior leadership Communication Leads developed skills and expertise in SLC.
- TAs were instrumental in helping to embed ToTT universal and targeted approaches to SLC support across the curriculum.
- Wide ranging benefits and improvements for all children's SLC both in and out of the classroom; this included better listening, stronger vocabulary and improvements in confidence and behaviour.
- There were statistically significant increases in the SLC skills of pupils with language delay who took part in ToTT's targeted interventions, as measured by the Progression Tools.
We're delighted that the independent secondary evaluation report demonstrates so clearly and robustly that ToTT offers an effective approach to workforce development, and leads to positive outcomes for pupils SLC. Alongside this, it presents a number of the lessons we can learn to further develop our understanding of how to effectively support children and young people's language and communication.
A separate independent evaluation of the RCT project funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, explored the impact of the ToTT approach on attainment in reading; although there was no overall impact on reading comprehension during the four terms of the project, teachers were clear that they hoped to see improvements in reading and writing in the longer term. Teachers and senior leaders also reported positively on the wider benefits of the programme, with 88% of staff confirming that ToTT was an important addition to the provision in their school.
Interested in Talk of the Town?
The ToTT model and approach was originally developed and delivered by The Communication Trust, hosted within I CAN - the children's communication charity. Following completion of the RCT, I CAN is now producing a ToTT model designed to capture the outcomes and learning from the original pilot study and the recent RCT. I CAN will be sharing more information on the ToTT model in the Autumn school term of 2016.
If you'd like more information about ToTT in the meantime, please get in touch with Kerry Davis, Talk of the Town Programme Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 239 0003. More information about the Talk of the Town model and approach can also be found here.
Share your CPD experiences and enter a prize draw!
Are you interested in entering a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher? The Communication Trust is seeking the views of those who work with children and young people about their experiences of professional development opportunities around speech, language and communication and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).
We've developed a short survey to gather the views of a wide range of professionals including teaching assistants, teachers, school nurses, youth justice professionals, health visitors and early years practitioners. We want to hear from everyone, whether you've never had any CPD or initial training around children and young people's communication, or have accessed a number of development opportunities in this area, your views are vital to our work.
Please follow this link before 15th July to access the short survey and enter the £50 Amazon voucher prize draw - www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/slcworkforcedevelopment
Once you've completed the survey, please do forward the link onto all of your relevant colleagues to help us gather as many views as possible.
SLCF Baseline Survey
We are going to be making some improvements to the SLCF from summer 2016 and would value feedback on the current online SLCF tool. This feedback will feed into this work, and help us to evaluate the changes which we make.
To help with this, we are seeking feedback on the Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF).
The SLCF is aimed at anyone and everyone who works with children and young people, and sets out the skills and knowledge needed by practitioners to support the speech, language and communication development of all children, including those with communication needs.
We would very much appreciate your feedback if you have used the SLCF, either as an individual or as a group.
Our short survey will be open from 20th June until 1st August and by leaving your details you could be in with a chance of winning a £50 Speechmark voucher!
Access the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/C3RWZFH
Please do share the link with your colleagues who have used the online SLCF.
An update from Talk of the Town
Talk of The Town (ToTT) aims to establish a community wide approach to support the speech, language and communication skills of all children and young people living in areas of social disadvantage. ToTT aims to facilitate early identification of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), encourage joined up working, improve children's language outcomes, and promote a sustainable approach to SLC support.
Between September 2013 and July 2015 The Communication Trust delivered a complex randomised control trial (RCT) funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) across 64 primary schools nationally. The primary aim of the RCT was to evidence the link between ToTT and changes in literacy levels and was independently evaluated by Queens University Belfast (QUB).
The primary evaluation focusing on the impact of the ToTT RCT on reading has just been released by the EEF and is available here on their website. Although the primary findings from the RCT do not show an overall impact on reading comprehension, the EEF evaluation includes findings about other benefits from the ToTT approach including that:
- 88% of staff felt the programme was an important addition to the provision in their school, with 82% agreeing that they would be happy for their school to continue with ToTT in subsequent years.
- Staff were clear that they hoped to see improvements in children's reading and writing in the long term.
- Teachers felt more able to identify children who needed support and to monitor their language and communication development.
- Staff reported that pupil's behaviour, confidence, vocabulary and listening had improved noticeably as a result of the strategies used.
Alongside the EEF primary evaluation, an independent secondary evaluation is being completed to explore the wider benefits of the ToTT approach. This brings together the findings of the EEF evaluation, information from an in-depth process evaluation undertaken by the University of Manchester, and data collected by the schools who were involved in the RCT. These three sources of evaluation data give us a really clear picture of the overall impact of ToTT, alongside the lessons we can learn, to further develop our understanding of how to most effectively support children and young people's language and communication.
We look forward to sharing the findings of the secondary evaluation with you very soon. In the meantime, you can find out more about the Talk of the Town model and approach here.
Platform 3 for Childminders Independent Evaluation report is now available!
Platform 3 is an innovative, accessible and cost effective online learning route for delivering and undertaking the Level 3 accredited qualification: Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication.
Following the success of the 2013-2015 pilot project, The Communication Trust was awarded further funding through the Department for Education VCS Grant Scheme for 2015-2016. We worked with PACEY to tailor the existing delivery mechanisms of the qualification to address the specific needs of childminders.
We are delighted to announce that the independent evaluation report for Platform 3 for Childminders is now available, to access the report please click here. Some of the key findings from the report are highlighted below:
Almost all (94%) of the practitioners surveyed at the end of the qualification felt that the qualification had enabled them to feel more confident in supporting children's speech, language and communication development.
The proportion of childminders who felt 'quite confident' or 'very confident' in their ability to discuss a child's strengths, weaknesses and needs with their parent/carer increased from 62% before the qualification to 100% after the qualification.
There were statistically significant increases in the frequency of good practice around speech, language and communication being demonstrated by childminders between the start and end of the qualification.
Interested in Platform 3?
Platform 3 is now available to all those who work with all children and young people from different sectors across the workforce.
To find out more about completing or delivering the Award, please visit http://www.platform3online.org.uk/ or email us at email@example.com.
Policy Response to the Inquiry into Foundation Years and UK Government's Life Chances Strategy
The Commons Work and Pensions and Education Select Committees are running a joint inquiry into the Government's life chances strategy and the role that early or foundation years intervention plays in shaping people's lives.
The committee invited evidence on:
- the relationship between early years education and the life chances strategy
- Cross-departmental co-ordination on early years interventions and interaction with the benefits system and public services.
You can find out more here.
Our response highlights the links between early language development and social disadvantage, positioning an effective approach to supporting children's speech, language and communication development and needs as central to any meaningful life chances strategy. We focus on the importance of high quality Early Years settings, with well qualified staff in addressing this issue as well as the importance of support for parents in more clearly understanding the role they can play in supporting their children's speech, language and communication development.
We also draw attention to the impact wider childcare changes might have on disadvantaged children's outcomes, particularly around their communication development and the importance of the opportunity the two year old progress check presents for early identification and intervention is recognised and built on. You can find our full submission here.
You can read more of our previous policy repsonses here.
Involving Children and Young People with SLCN - A toolkit for education settings
We have launched a great new free resource for staff working in education settings to help them understand, review and shape their approach to involving children and young people as part of everyday good practice.
The new online toolkit -Involving Children and Young People with SLCN - A toolkit for education settings- contains information and guidance about what practitioners are required to do by the 2014 SEND Code of Practice 0-25 around involving children and young people. It includes a way to review current practice as well as practical activities, approaches and signposting to tools that can be used across a whole setting to make systemic changes, promoting personalised, meaningful involvement of children and young people with SLCN at varying levels an integrated way of practice.
The toolkit draws on content from the 'Children and Young People at the Centre' chapter of 'Communicating the Code', and also on recent research commissioned by The Trust and undertaken by the University of the West of England and Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit. This research explores the views of children and young people with SLCN and their families on their involvement in decision-making.
You can access the toolkit and research report, for free, here - www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/involve
An online route to the Level 3 Award - Supporting Children's and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication
The Communication Trust is delighted to announce that Platform 3 is now available to all those who work with all children and young people from different sectors across the workforce.
Platform 3 is an innovative, accessible and cost effective online learning route for delivering and undertaking the Level 3 accredited qualification: Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication.
To find out more about the Level 3 qualification, click here.
Interested in Platform 3?
The Level 3 accredited qualificationwas initially developed by The Communication Trust, in collaboration with City and Guilds. Following this, the Trust successfully applied to the Department for Education (DfE) VCS grant scheme to pilot a model of delivering this qualification via e-learning and assessment.
The proposal directly responded to the recommendations of the Nutbrown Review 2012, which highlighted the lack of access to high quality CPD for the early years' workforce.
Positive feedback was received from the early years practitioners enrolled on the Platform 3 pilot; 100% of those who completed the qualification felt that they were more knowledgeable, confident and skilled in supporting the development of speech, language and communication and identifying children who were struggling.
Based on these positive pilot findings, The Trust was granted further DfE funding to tailor the existing delivery mechanisms of the qualification to address the specific needs of childminders.
We are currently working closely with training providers who will offer the Award using Platform 3, either entirely online or as a blended learning approach. The Communication Trust is now offering approved centres and training providers the opportunity to subscribe to use Platform 3 as a model of delivery and become a Platform 3 Partner.
For more information on completing or delivering this Award through Platform 3, please visit www.platform3online.org.uk or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more about the original pilots here.
Exploring the involvement of children and young people with SLCN and their families in decision making - a research project
The Communication Trust, in partnership with the University of the West of England and Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit have undertaken a research project focussed on exploring the involvement of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their families in decision making. The research team worked directly with children and young people with SLCN to get their perspectives on their involvement in decisions about their support within the context of the reformed SEND system. The research also included interviews and surveys with parents of children and young people with SLCN. The research provides evidence for and reinforces some key principles in terms of effective involvement of children and young people with SLCN from their own perspective. To access the full research report and the executive summary please follow this link - www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/involve
Building on this evidence and on content from Communicating The Code, The Trust is developing a practical toolkit for school staff to support them to better enable children and young people with SLCN to be involved in decisions about their support. This toolkit will be available from late February 2016 as a free download. You can find out more and register your interest in the toolkit and be the first to access it when it launches here - www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/involve
Communicating the Curriculum
Communicating the Curriculum is a practical new resource from The Communication Trust which will help primary schools to define and monitor children's progress in spoken language. In the primary National Curriculum for England (2014), the levels system was removed and the Spoken Language Programme of Study is broad - covering all ages from years 1 - 6 in primary schools. Schools are required to develop their own progression points for children across year groups, based on the 12 statements which make up the Programme of Study. We know that for some schools, measuring progress in spoken language can be challenging, and Communicating the Curriculum is here to help.
This resource supports primary schools to engage with the National Curriculum for spoken language and not only helps to show how the Programme of Study statements can be broken down in relation to the typical stages of language development, but also how schools can use this to identify a pupil's progression. This will of course help schools to spot pupils who might be struggling with their spoken language and signposts to next steps and support for these pupils.
To find out more and access this resource please visit our webpage - www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/communicatingthecurriculum
No Pens Day Wednesday Evaluation and Date for 2016 Event
We are delighted to announce that our No Pens Day Wednesday 2015 evaluation report is now live! You can access the evaluation here.
The feedback has been very encouraging - 94% of respondents said they'd do things differently around school as a result of their involvement in NPDW 2015. 76% said that taking part raised their awareness of speech, language and communication needs and 22% of respondents reported they had identified pupils who were struggling with spoken language that they'd not known about before.
We are also happy to announce that No Pens Day Wednesday 2016 will be held on Wednesday 5th October, so please save the date! However, it is important to remember that you can of course run your day whenever suits you best.
There will be many more exciting announcements to come, so keep an eye on the web page for updates in the coming months.
Whether you're working in an early years setting, a primary, secondary, special school, as a childminder or in a local service, there are ideas and resources from No Pens Day Wednesday that can help your pupils and students put down their pens and pick up their language!
Register here now to access the existing resources from previous years and to receive our newsflash updates when we add new materials or functions.
Beyond Measure - we'd like your feedback
Our resource Beyond Measure was launched in July 2015 and is our guidance to help teachers use the reception baseline assessment process as an opportunity for identifying children who may have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), helping to ensure that appropriate support is put into place for these children as quickly as possible.
If you have used Beyond Measure, whether to support your baseline assessments or to support your existing methods of assessment in the reception year, we would very much value your feedback. We are running a short survey which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. The survey can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PK6V7KT.
Please do forward this link to your colleagues who have also used Beyond Measure.
New resources launching in 2016!
In January and February 2016, we will be launching three new resources on our website for schools and the wider children's workforce.
- Mid January 2016 - Communicating the Curriculum
Communicating the Curriculum is a practical resource to enable primary schools to define and monitor progression within the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Spoken Language for Years 1-6. It will show schools where language development relates to the National Curriculum, and also how they can use this to inform and identify a pupil's progression with their spoken language skills.
- Late January 2016 - Involving children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and their families - a research project
The University of West England and Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit were commissioned by The Trust to undertake a research project focussed on the perspectives of children and young people with SLCN, and their families, on their involvement in decisions about their support and services and also to establish what outcomes were most important to them within the context of the reformed SEND system. The findings will be presented in a short report in January.
- Early February 2016 - Involving children and young people with speech, language and communication needs - a practical toolkit for schools
This online toolkit is a resource for staff working in education settings, to help shape their approach to involving children and young people with SLCN as part of everyday good practice. The toolkit will build on some of the findings of the research project and contains information about what practitioners are required to do by the 2014 SEND Code of Practice 0-25 as well as guidance and practical tools for school staff.
Keep an eye on our Latest news page to access these resources when they go live. If you have any questions about any of the resources please get in touch with Jo on email@example.com.
LuCiD Research Project
The Communication Trust is very pleased to be an impact champion for The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD). LuCiD is a five year research collaboration aiming to transform our understanding of how children learn to communicate using language. A team of researchers and PHD students are working very hard to investigate important questions about language development.
LuCiD have developed some useful articles for practitioners, published in Nursery World magazine, based on the research that they are doing. These can be accessed on their website here.
To receive the latest updates from LuCiD, subscribe to their newsletter.
Communication Leaders - new resources to help you implement the approach in your school
Communication Leaders is a peer-mentoring approach to supporting the language and communication development of primary and secondary pupils. The approach gives children and young people a unique leadership role in supporting communication skills at home and at school. As part of Communication Leaders we developed free resources, which we launched in June 2015, to support schools to get started.
Communication Leaders started as a two-year pilot project funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Three months after the completion of the pilot project we are excited to share an extract from the final evaluation report which includes key findings from the project and feedback from the Communication Leaders, school staff and parents involved in the project. One such finding identified that over 60% of year seven students felt that their communication skills and confidence had grown, and in primary schools teachers reported improvements in younger children's listening and language skills
To read the report check out the Communication Leaders page or download it here.
In addition to this we have developed an FAQ's document to answer some regularly asked questions about Communication Leaders to help you implement the approach in your school.
If you are interested in Communication Leaders and would like to adopt a whole school approach to communication, why not check out some of our similar programmes - No Pens Day Wednesday and Communication Commitment. To find out more about these projects please click here.
We're really interested to hear examples of how you have been using the Communication Leaders resources or approach in your school. If you would be happy to speak to us about this please e-mail Rosie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SEND reforms and SLCN in the Youth Justice Sector in England - Survey Report
The Communication Trust and the department of Human Communication Sciences at the University of Sheffield, and Birmingham City University, worked together to run a survey throughout June 2015 to find out more about how the youth justice sector across England is responding to the needs of young people who have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) within the reformed SEND system.
The report highlights the existing awareness and good practice happening in the youth justice sector for young people with SLCN. However, this report also makes clear the additional support and resources those working in the youth justice sector would benefit from to better support young people with SLCN through the new systems put in place by the reformed SEND system.
Some key findings include:
- despite a high proportion of the sample being aware of the current SEND reforms nearly a third expressed little confidence in their current levels of engagement;
- respondents reported that they considered almost half of their service users to have SLCN as part of other learning and/or developmental needs. Respondents also reported on average that they consider 30% of their service users to have SLCN as their primary need;
- nearly half of the sample reported that service users identified with SLCN do not have a Statement of SEN and/or an EHC plan, and that the needs of these service users were not being met;
- speech and language therapy provision is highly valued and enables services to engage more effectively with their service users with SLCN, but a significant proportion of Youth Justice Services have no access to speech language therapy provision or access to any support for their service users with SLCN.
The full findings from the survey are now available in a short report which can be accessed here.
If you have any questions about this report please contact either Dr Judy Clegg, Senior Lecturer, Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield email@example.com or Jo Bolton, Programme Manager, The Communication Trust, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GCSE English Language Spoken Language Endorsement - Arrangements for learners with communication issues and/or hearing needs
Effective from 2014, Ofqual took the decision to remove the spoken language assessment from the weighted element of the GCSE English Language. The Communication Trust contributed to various consultations around this before the decision was confirmed, strongly opposing the proposal, as well as responding to subsequent changes to the format of the assessment. You can access our responses to these consultations here.
In order to ensure young people with speech language and communication needs are enabled to achieve their best in the new assessment, we have worked constructively with Ofqual and awarding bodies to produce guidance for teachers undertaking the assessment. Our members at the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) also contributed to the guidance for hearing impaired young people specifically. The guidance focuses on making clear flexible arrangements that can be put in place to best support students with SLCN to access the assessment and showcase their language skills to the best of their ability. The guidance was published on 30th September and you can access it here.
Shine a Light Awards 2015 - another successful and heart-warming ceremony
The winners of the 2015 Shine a Light Awards, a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people's communication development, were revealed yesterday (25th September 2015) by Pearson, in partnership with the Trust.
Hosted by comedian David Baddiel, the awards, which took place at Pearson's headquarters in London, are designed to honour individuals, teams, campaigns, communication-friendly settings and communities that have excelled in their support of children and young people's communication, particularly for those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). It was also a chance to congratulate a number of young people, who despite their own communication difficulties, are championing the cause and working with and inspiring others with similar needs.
Consortium members I CAN and AVUK were recognised at the awards. James Curtis, an inspirational young person who's been supported by AVUK won a highly commended award in the young person of the year category and I CAN's Talk about Talk programme won the Shine a Light Award in the SLCN innovation category.
In addition to these awards Pearson awarded Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE thePearson Outstanding Achievement Award for his transformational impact on SLCN and activity related to the Children and Families Act.
A full list of the Shine a Light Awards winners and highly commended can be found here.
A press release is available with further information about this year's awards here.
Guide for commissioners from Better Communication CIC supported by The Communication Trust
We are delighted to share with you a new resource available to support commissioning of support for children and young people with SLCN by schools and health services. This resource is based on the findings of the landmark Better Communication Research Programme commissioned following the Bercow Review.
Gascoigne M.T. (2015) Commissioning for Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN): Using the evidence from the Better Communication Research Programme - a commissioning guide for SLCN draws on the evidence from the Better Communication Research Programme together with the extensive experience of the author Marie Gascoigne in her work developing the Balanced System®.
This synthesis of the evidence is presented as a micro site which can be accessed here. Alternatively, the report can be downloaded as an interactive pdf with links to all the relevant source material.
Your support in disseminating and sharing this resource would be appreciated. Marie Gascoigne can be contacted directly if you have any queries.
Beyond Measure is now live!
The optional reception baseline accountability measure is being introduced in schools from September 2015. For schools that have elected to use the reception baseline assessment, all children entering reception will be assessed within the first half term.
Beyond Measure, a new piece of guidance on the reception baseline assessment, is now available on our resources for practitioners page. This guidance will help those carrying out the assessment in schools to use it as an opportunity for identifying children who may have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), helping to ensure that appropriate support is put into place for these children as quickly as possible. The guidance provides advice on how to look out for difficulties with speech, language and communication across the different EYFS areas of learning during the assessment process, and next steps if you have concerns about a child.
Beyond Measure is relevant for all staff conducting reception baseline assessments, no matter which provider they have opted to use. The guidance is also applicable to any assessments which school staff carry out with children.
Beyond Measure, along with case studies from practitioners, is available here.
New training and development section on What Works
A new section for evidence-based training programmes for speech, language and communication has been added to What Works.
We welcome the submission of training programmes to the new section; please follow the link below to find the criteria that training programmes must meet in order to be added to What Works, as well as a submission form. If you're interested in submitting a programme, you can do so by sending a completed submission form and any supporting materials to email@example.com.
There are currently several training programmes under review for inclusion on the site, so more information on specific programmes will be added soon.
Please see http://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/projects/what-works/training
Communication Leaders resources are now live!
Communication Leaders is an innovative peer mentoring approach, supporting children and young people to take on a unique leadership role in communication within their schools and homes.
The project has been piloted over two years and we have now launched the Communication Leaders training video and resources on our website.
Communication Leaders is suitable for use in both primary and secondary schools, with different resources available for each. The evaluation from the pilot of this project highlights the benefits for both the leaders themselves, as well as the pupils with whom they work:
- Over 70% of primary and secondary leaders felt that their communication skills had improved as a result of being a Communication Leader in their school.
- Over 60% of year seven students felt that their communication skills and confidence had grown and in primary schools, teachers reported improvements in younger children's listening and language skills.
You'll find everything you need on our website, including a training session for staff to introduce the approach, resources for leaders and a video showing staff and Communication Leaders talking about their experiences from the pilot project.
Find out more about Communication Leaders and access all the free resources that you'll need to implement this approach in your school.
Read On. Get On. 'Ready to Read' report
The 'Ready to Read' report has been launched as part of the Read On. Get On campaign, explaining why children's early language skills are crucial in learning to read, and why children experiencing poverty face the greatest risk of falling behind from an early age. Anne Fox, our Director, was a national spokesperson for the launch of Ready to Read, and it achieved coverage in national media including the BBC, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.
'Ready to Read' asks for a commitment to boosting the early language skills of our poorest children, and calls on the government to prioritise better quality nursery education in the new Budget as well as invest in the training of the wider early-years workforce.
Have a read
This summer Read On. Get On. and Ladybird are sharing simple and fun family activities. Making sharing stories with little ones a habit can help them to build the language skills they need to start reading and getting on in life.
Links to resources and hints and tips developed by experts including those in our Consortium, I CAN and the National Literacy Trust will be provided to help parents boost their children's language and reading skills.
Follow Read On. Get On (@readongeton) and I CAN (@ICANcharity) on Twitter and Facebook over the summer to make sure you are among the first to hear about how you can support parents to help get their little ones ready to read.
Communicating the Code is now live!
We have recently developed Communicating the Code specifically for people working directly with children and young people with SLCN in early years, schools and post 16 settings.
Communicating the Code's sections are set out to reflect the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 for quick access to required information. It aims to:
- Highlight key issues for SLCN in the new Code.
- Identify key strategies that may help to overcome these issues.
- Signpost to useful resources, examples of good practice and further information.
How Communicating the Code can help those working with children and young people with SLCN:
- It interprets the Code in relation to SLCN for all sections, something no other resource to date has done.
- It sets out your responsibilities as a practitioner in the new Code for children and young people with SLCN.
- It is practical and solution-focused - looking at the issues practitioners face and suggesting strategies/approaches to address them. It signposts to further information, case studies and resources to assist.
- It brings together research and good practice on effective working in all settings at a universal, targeted and specialist level for children and young people with SLCN.
- It contains clear tips and guidance on how to enable the child or young person to participate in outcome/target setting if they have SLCN.
- It considers how to work most effectively with parents, families and other professionals - a key objective of the SEND reforms.
Communicating the Code is available to access for free here.
New Early Years webpage from the Trust
The Trust has just launched its new Early Years webpage, with free resources and tools to support the early years workforce. The page includes lots of information about children's communication development and help with identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs. There are several brand new resources from the Trust, including guidance on SLCN and the SEND Code of Practice. The new resources include:
- An online short course all about speech, language and communication - free to access
- A poster with advice about identifying and supporting children with SEN, in line with the new Code of Practice - free to order and to download
- An early identification framework to help you identify children who are struggling - free to download
- A poster with advice about implementing the graduated approach of 'assess, plan, do, review' - free to download
You can find all of these and more here: www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/early-years
The Secondary Progression Tools are here!
Over the past year we have been working on our latest resource - the Speech, Language and Communication Secondary Progression Tools for secondary school teachers and support staff to support the communication development of students aged 11-18.
We have been testing these Tools and gathering extremely useful feedback to develop and improve the resource. They are now ready to order!
Currently there are Tools available for those working with ages 4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10. The tools provide a quick way for teaching staff to determine if students are at the level expected for their age around speech, language and communication and can also be used to track their progress over time or following interventions
"There are so many different learning and assessment tools on the market at the moment but The Communication Trust's Secondary Progression Tools are more robust and effective in identifying specific student communication needs." AVP Extended Learning Teacher, Clacton.
To order the Progression Tools please go to www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/shop or click here for more information.
To read out more about the tools, please click here.
To find out more information about SLCN in Secondary years, please click here.
A 'How to use the Progression Tools' video has been created to help teaching staff, and ensure they are conducting the questions and observations in the right way. The video is available here.
The Communication Trust's Impact Report - Available Now!
We have released our Impact Report, which gives a snapshot of The Communication Trust's successes between 2007-2014 and outlines plans for the future.
The Report includes the history of The Communication Trust and an overview of our work to date including why we've worked to raise the profile of speech, language and communication in the public eye. It also outlines how we have supported the children's workforce, collaborated with other organisations and supported the ever-changing local landscape for local services.
Within these areas we have led several successful campaigns and initiatives including the National Year of Communication (Hello campaign), No Pens Day Wednesday, Talk of the Town and What Works. As well as this we have shared over 600,000 resources and worked closely with 150 local communication champions.
We are extremely proud of our successes to date and hope that you will enjoy reading our Impact Report.
Thank you for your support as we continue to improve the speech, language and communication skills of children and young people across the country.
For further information, visit here.
'How to Use the Progression Tools' Video
We are very pleased to announce that our new video, 'How to Use the Progression Tools' is now live on our website here and on Youtube here.
This video explains how to use the Progression Tools that we have developed to support practitioners to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills.
It shows how to conduct the questions and observations and also gives guidance on the scoring section.
We hope that the video will be of use to a variety of different practitioners working within different schools and settings. Please feel free to share this amongst your contacts and networks.
Doing Justice to Speech, Language and Communication Needs, January 2015
In November 2014, The Communication Trust hosted a round table event with key stakeholders from across the youth justice and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) sectors. The event facilitated a discussion about the current policy and practice landscape. This included a focus on recent or upcoming policy changes including the SEND reforms and also time for practitioners to discuss their experience of support for children and young people with SLCN in their service currently, highlighting existing positive provision for children and young people's outcomes as well as identifying gaps. Delegates discussed recommendations for practical action across three levels; practitioner, service and policy.
'Doing justice to speech language and communication needs'brings together the key messages and recommendations from these round table discussions. It aims to provide a platform from which practitioners and services across the sector, as well as policy makers and strategic leads, can think about the different approaches, challenges and opportunities within their service or remit to improve outcomes for children and young people with SLCN in the youth justice system.
The report and event were funded by the Helen Hamlyn Trust. The report is available as a free download on our website here.
Trust Welcomes CLAPA and London Bubble to the Consortium
The Communication Trust is thrilled to that announce CLAPA (the Cleft Lip and Palate Association) and London Bubble were confirmed as new members of the Consortium at the most recent meeting of the Trust Programme Board.
CLAPA is the only UK-wide voluntary organisation specifically helping those with, and affected by, cleft lip and palate. CLAPA was set up in 1979 as a partnership between parents and health professionals. It provides support for new parents, and for people with the condition and their families, from infancy through to adulthood. To find out more about CLAPA please click here.
London Bubble create theatre with and for children, teenagers and adults of south London. Their mission is to provide the artistic direction, skills, environment and resources to create inspirational, inclusive, involving theatre, which shares stories that animate the spaces of the city and the spirits of its citizens. To find out more about London Bubble please click here.
With the addition of these two new members, the Communication Consortium now has a whopping 52 members! We look forward to continuing our work with all our members to make the difference we need so that all children and young people are enabled to communicate to the very best of their ability.
The Age 3 Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tool is now available
The Progression Tools are a set of Tools which were developed to support schools and early years settings to find out more detail about the speech, language and communication skills of individual children. They aim to provide a quick way of determining where children are against where they should be for their age, and provide more information about how these vital skills are progressing.
The Progression Tools are not a diagnostic tool and do not in any way replace the detailed speech, language and communication assessment carried out by a speech and language therapist that some children will need. However, they provide information to help practitioners decide whether children would benefit from a targeted intervention, or whether they need specialist assessment and support.
One of the prime areas in the English Early Years Foundation Stage is communication and language. This new Tool provides an opportunity to identify whether children are developing in line with their age in this area. The age 3 Tool has been tested out in a number of early years settings, on a range of children and is now ready to purchase. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and tested this Tool, your feedback has been invaluable in shaping the final resource.
Please click here to order your copy.
If you have any questions about this resource, or any of the other Progression Tools, please email Liz Collins firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating the Communication Commitment's birthday
On Wednesday 5th November we celebrated the Commitment's first birthday on social media by sharing some great ideas from schools about how they have been using the Commitment to support pupils' communication skills and to make sure that this is a priority throughout school. On Twitter there were also people sharing their thoughts about what communication means to them - and why it's so important! Many thanks to everyone who got involved!
Some of the things we shared included: these quotes about the Commitment from practitioners, some case studies from schools who have made the Commitment, and these films explaining what the Commitment is all about and how one primary school has really committed to communication!
To find out more about the Commitment, please click here.
Website for parents
Symbol UK, with support from The Communication Trust, has launched a new website for parents to translate the key findings from the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP).
The website aims to be accessible to all parents. It has been designed in bite-sized chunks. Where parents find reading difficult it is hoped that people supporting them, such as Health Visitors and Family Support staff, will help them go through the information.
The website also explains key information about the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice that parents need to know.
Please click to here view the website.
The Communication Commitment - on film and in print!
Since the Communication Commitment was launched last year, more than 1,000 schools have already signed up, and as we prepare to celebrate its first birthday we want to recognise the many achievements of all those schools that have committed to communication.
We're very excited to announce the launch of a new film that features the staff and pupils of Holy Trinity Primary School in Halifax describing the positive impacts the Commitment has had on their school - you can watch the film here.
The Communication Commitment has also been featured in the September issue of nasen Special magazine! The article features contributions from several inspiring Commitment schools, describing their work to make communication a priority in their schools.
To find out how the Commitment can help your school and to register, please click here.
Read on. Get on. campaign
Save the Children is one of the partners launching Read On. Get On. - a reading campaign driven by a coalition of organisations, communities, parents and schools, business people, media and politicians. We are excited to endorse the Read On. Get On. campaign along with I CAN and the National Literacy Trust, Consortium members who are part of the coalition.
Reading is the key to a child's future: it unlocks their potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities.
And for the poorest children reading well is their best route out of poverty: they do better at school, better in the workplace and are better placed to give their own children the best start in life.
However, every year in the UK, 130,000 children, leave primary school not reading as well as they should. This figure includes 40% of all children from poorer backgrounds - a shockingly high proportion.
Alongside their coalition members, Save the Children are launching a national mission to ensure every child born this year is reading well by the time they are 11 in 2025. They are hoping to achieve this mission by building a powerful national coalition to push the vital importance and the enjoyment of reading. Whether it's via celebrities or media partnerships or in events in towns across the UK, they aim to spread the joy of reading across the country. They will also be supporting parents to make time to read. Just ten minutes a day reading with young children can make a vital difference. Reading and even just talking more to very young children at home makes a difference.
To find out more about the Read on. Get on. campaign please click here.
To watch the campaign video please click here.
Sense - Supporting deaf blind children and young people in the new SEND system
The UK deafblind charity, Sense, has launched a free set of guides to the new system of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aimed at families, professionals and commissioners. The guides have been designed to help everyone who supports deafblind/MSI children and young people to get the most out of the new SEND system. Three guides are available:
- A new guide for families 'Making it work for you' explains the main changes taking place and provides a step-by-step guide to the new processes. It also highlights aspects of the changes which are particularly relevant to deafblind children and young people;
- A 'route map to meeting the needs of deafblind children and young people' best practice guide for professionals working in education, health and social care settings;
- A guide for local authority commissioners on planning services for children and young people with sensory impairments (produced in partnership with RNIB, NDCS and Blind Children UK).
All three guides are available online, along with some short videos about the changes. Please share the guides with any families, professionals or commissioners who may find them useful.
For professionals who need a more in-depth understanding of the impact of the SEND changes on deafblind/MSI children and young people, Sense is also offering a one day training course for professionals.
To access the guides and short videos, please click here.
Vision for Literacy 2025
In March 2013, the National Literacy Trust convened the first National Literacy Forum which now meets twice a year to discuss policy themes that link to addressing low literacy. The Trust is a member of the Forum and other members include representatives from Government, business, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.
The Forum is currently developing the Vision for Literacy 2025, which recommends four areas, or Pathways to Literacy, where sustained policy consensus is required to build a literate nation:
- Improve early language and literacy provision in homes and early years settings
- More effective teaching of reading, writing and spoken language skills in schools
- Universal access to reading materials and programmes is required to ensure that children read for enjoyment
- Partnerships between education and business need to be enacted to ensure that all school leavers have literacy fit for employment
In the run up to the 2015 election we urge all parties to commit to the following goals so that no child is left behind:
- By 2020 all children are reaching the expected level in early language and literacy development by the age of 5
- By 2025 every 11-year-old will have the literacy skills they need to fulfil their potential in secondary school*
- By 2032 every young person will leave secondary school with the literacy skills they need to fulfil their potential and access employment**
Please click here for more information.
Free resources from PACEY
PACEY (the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) has published a new suite of resources to help parents support their children in preparing for school - and also cope with the first few weeks of school. This activity builds on the results of PACEY's research report 'What does school ready really mean?' published last year which found that parents felt they needed better guidance on how to prepare their children for school.
The focus is very much on flagging the emotional preparation that is needed, and emphasising the importance of play in early years, rather than focusing on 'reading and numeracy'. It also highlights the valuable role that PACEY members play in supporting the families they work with through times of transition.
The resources, including a 'Preparing your child for school' guide, factsheets, activity sheets for children and videos are available at www.pacey.org.uk/schoolready.
2014 SEND Code of Practice now approved by Parliament
A the end of July 2014 the House of Lords approved the SEND Code of Practice 0-25. This means the final part of the SEND Reforms process is confirmed and the Trust has been hard at work updating our existing resources and creating new ones to support practitioners prepare for implementation of the 2014 SEND Reforms.
- We have updated the Communication Commitment to highlight clearly where it reflects the principles that underlie the Code of Practice, and offers practical ideas and resources to support schools in some of their specific duties under the Code. Take a look at our flyer to find out more and please do share it with your schools networks to help spread the word.
- The Communication Council have also launched a new report to support with joint commissioning implementation for children and young people with SLCN. The report is free and can be accessed here.
- We've also launched a factsheet which highlights sections of the Code that relate to evidence-based provision and suggests ways in which What Works can support practitioners in light of the 2014 Code.
- The Communication Consortium Catalogue has been expanded to reflect the 0-25 age range of the 2014 Code and provides information on the products and services available from our Consortium of almost 50 not-for-profit organisations which help to improve understanding of children's speech, language and communication development.
- Finally, of course we'll be keeping our SEND reforms pages up to date as we move forwards with new and relevant information so please do make it a spot you check regularly for new information and guidance.
The Trust is here to support you to ensure the 2014 SEND Reforms have the best possible impact on children and young people with SLCN. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or feedback- email@example.com
Implementing the SEND reforms- Joint commissioning for children and young people with SLCN
Report from The Communication Council
This report aims to provide readers with practical information regarding commissioning for SLCN services within the context of implementing the SEND Reforms. It provides a synthesis of the key messages from the Communication Council seminar held in February 2014 together with additional background material around the 2014 SEND reforms.
It has been produced by Better Communication CIC on behalf of The Communication Council, and in partnership with The Communication Trust.
We know that joint commissioning is an aspect of the 2014 SEND Reforms which many practitioners and Local Authorities want to know more about.
The report is a free downloadable PDF which is on our website here- www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/slcncommissioningreport
Nasen SEND Gateway website is launched
The SEND Gateway is an online 'one-stop-shop' portal offering all education professionals free, easy access to high quality information, resources and training for meeting the needs of children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Developed by nasen, the UK's leading professional association for SEND, the portal brings together a range of SEND resources from the voluntary, community and private sectors in one place for ease of access. This includes materials and professional support from a large number of voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) including the Autism Education Trust, the Council for Disabled Children, National Children's Bureau, Dyslexia-SpLD Trust and The Communication Trust.
Schools can also contribute their own best practice examples, case studies and additional materials for peer support and to help develop an evidence-based approach for effective practice.
Through the Gateway, all educators, particularly SENCOs and key workers, can develop new skills and understanding, stay up-to-date with reform, read the latest information from the Department for Education related to SEND, discuss issues in an online forum and access high quality CPD opportunities at local, regional and national levels.
To view the Gateway please go to www.sendgateway.org.uk
The Progression Tools are here!
Over the past year we have been working on our latest resource - the Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools. These are a suite of Tools which aim to support teaching staff to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills.
We have been testing these Tools and gathering extremely useful feedback to develop and improve the resource. They are now ready the order!
Currently there are Tools available for those working with ages 4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10. The Tools are based on theoretical information on typical language development. They aim to provide a relatively quick way of determining where children are against where they should be for their age and provide more information about how these vital skills are progressing.
"The speech and language assessment[progression] tool that we've got is invaluable, and we use that all the time." Deputy Headteacher, Wythenshawe
To order the Progression Tools please go to www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/shop or click here for more information.
We will be developing further versions for those working with ages 3, 11, 11-12, 13-14 and 16-18. These Tools will be available later this year and in 2015.