The Communication Trust Newsletter
April 2012

TCT 2012

Our newsletters this year will share information about the work of the Trust, how we're continuing the legacy of the Hello campaign and updates from the world of speech, language and communication.

You'll also be able to find out what is happening with member organisations of the Trust.

Saying a fond farewell

After five years, Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director of The Communication Trust, has announced she is stepping down to pursue new challenges at the end of April. Anita’s leadership and enthusiasm will be greatly missed and we thank her for her commitment and dedication. Anita Kerwin-Nye

To read Anita’s farewell message please see below:
“To say I am remarkably proud of The Communication Trust and all those involved in our work is an understatement. As a collective of 48 voluntary organisations, the Trust benefits from the wealth of expertise and innovative approaches that make a real difference to children, young people and their families. We have collectively gone on an incredible journey that has culminated in the Hello campaign (national year of communication).

“When I first came to the speech and language sector, parents were battling a system where their child’s speech, language and communication needs were regularly being misunderstood, misinterpreted and in the worst cases, just missed altogether. We still have a long way to go but things are improving and it's thanks to the work and support of people like you.

“As we put the finishing touches to the Trust’s Impact Report outlining the difference we have made in five years, it feels the right time to move on. A strong strategy has been put in place for the next five years and this will be taken forwards by the Trust’s very capable staff team. Thank you again for your support and I'm sure our paths will cross again in the future.”   

To keep in touch with Anita, you can follow her on Twitter.

To read a press release on Anita’s departure, please click here.

Different look to the Trust's website

You may have noticed already that the Trust's main website now looks just like the Hello, national year of communication, website. We didn't want to loose the fantastic resources developed and the stories you submitted over 2011 so we decided to merge the Trust's and the Hello website into one.

This means you can now access information about the Trust and our other work, alongside the information from the Hello campaign. You can view the updated site at

Missing something? If you can't find a document or some information that was on either site previously, please e-mail and we'll e-mail it to you and put it back on the site.


Sentence Trouble film release

Don’t miss The Communication Trust’s exciting new film Sentence Trouble, which launches today. This ten minute film makes a strong case for better communication skills within the youth justice workforce and includes the views of leading experts and practitioners.Sentence Trouble

With over 60% of young people in the youth justice system having speech, language and communication needs, it is vital that lawyers, secure estate staff, magistrates and the police are able to recognise SLCN and reflect on their own communication skills.

The film calls for young defendants with communication needs to have the right to an intermediary and for mandatory specialist training for lawyers and magistrates.

Professor Penny Cooper, Barrister and Associate Dean at The City Law School, who appears in Sentence Trouble says: “The law must change. Whilst intermediaries are often used for vulnerable witnesses we don’t yet have legislation in force for defendants”.

Please take some time to watch the Sentence Trouble film here It has been designed as a ‘pass it on’ tool to help extend the reach to the wider youth justice workforce.

Please help us spread the word by forwarding it to friends and colleagues and you can tweet about the film at @youthjusticeTCT

To read the Sentence Trouble film press release, click here.

We’d love your views on Sentence  Trouble. Please email with your feedback or if you would like to receive the new Youth Justice newsletter from the Trust.

Cracking Communication conference - A cracking event!

It was fantastic to meet so many of you at our ‘Cracking Communication’ conference on 28 March. We were delighted to welcome over 140 leaders and co-ordinators at this event centred on how to meet the communication elements of the new Ofsted and National Curriculum Frameworks.

Cracking Communication Conference SpeakerWendy Lee, Professional Director for the Trust gave the first keynote speech and we were pleased to welcome Professor Sonia Blandford from our newest partnership, the charity Achievement for All, who highlighted the importance of whole school approaches. And Neil Wilson, Executive Head of SMILE gave delegates a motivating presentation about the how communication is the key to breaking the cycles of disaffection, disengagement and underachievement. Key note presentations from the event are available here.

At the conference, a new report Building a joined-up offering for vulnerable learners, was made available. Written by Achievement for All and The Communication Trust, it highlights the need for a ‘whole school’ approach to helping children who struggle with speaking and listening to catch up with their peers. It is available to download here.

The conference, sponsored by Pearson Assessment, unveiled Talk Boost, a new targeted and
evidence-based intervention supporting language delayed children in Reception and Key Stage 1 to make significant progress with their communication skills. To find out more visit

Feedback from the event was so positive that we hope to offer a similar event again in the future. If you would like to register interest in future ‘Cracking Communication’ events, please email

Charity of the Month - National Autistic Society

50 years of making a differenceNAS

The National Autistic Society (NAS) celebrates its 50th birthday in May. They are the leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism,

The NAS supports professionals working in the field through its training and consultancy, conferences and publications. This year they have worked with a number of partners to launch Network Autism, an online community where professionals working with children and adults with autism can come together, share good practice and achieve better outcomes. To help celebrate the NAS’ 50th anniversary in May, every UK professional who registers for Network Autism between 28 February and 1 May 2012 will be entered into a prize draw to win a free iPad and e-publication from The NAS and other members of Network Autism. Click here to register.





ACE Centre closure

The Communication Trust is very concerned about the closure of The ACE Centre in Oxford, taking place in June. The Centre is a vital hub of expert knowledge on alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) and we fear that if it is closed this skill-set – which is already limited across the country - will be lost.
ACE Centre
The Communication Trust urges the Government to implement the recommendations made by Jean Gross, the former Communication Champion, in last year’s report Specialised AAC Provision ‘commissioning national services’.

The report calls for the preservation of specialist expertise around AAC and highlighted the fact there is already a significant under-provision of local and regional AAC services. The Trust supports its calls for building capacity in the sector to ensure its sustainability.

To see our full response to the closure please click here.

This response has generated coverage including:
Children and Young People Now
Nursery World
BBC Oxford TV
Oxford Journal

Stressing the need for Better Communication

A new report by Jean Gross (formerly England’s Communication Champion for children), the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and The Communication Trust has been released.Better Communication Report

Better Communication – shaping speech, language and communication services for children and young people highlights areas that have worked to improve their commissioning – to excellent effect - and provides evidenced guidance on all aspects of the commissioning cycle.

A lack of cross-service effective commissioning was identified in the Bercow Review as one of the main obstacles to improving outcomes for children. This report is an important legacy of the Hello campaign and we urge you to share it with contacts that have a role in shaping speech, language and communication services.

We are sending the report to all Shadow Health and Wellbeing Boards to support their work on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and making it available to a wide range of commissioners including schools, children’s centres and public health teams.

The report can be downloaded from the commissioners section of The Communication’s Trust’s new website here.

Additional copies are available from The Communication Trust by emailing

Hello - It's another award!

A big round of applause goes to the Hello/Giving Voice team who won the Partnership Award in the
Spring staff awards for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. Birmingham award

The team received the award for promoting the needs of children with speech, language and communication difficulties and how speech and language therapy can help them to a wide range of partners and stakeholders across their communities. Pictured here are speech and language therapists, Gillian Gaskell, Becky Lee and Siobhan Keohane at the awards ceremony last month.

Boosting language in the classroom

A new intervention, launched at the Trust’s Cracking Communication conference, is creating a buzz. It's well known that in areas of social deprivation, upwards of 50% of children are starting school with language skills that are under-developed for their age.

Talk BoostMany of these children have the potential to catch up but only if they receive timely intervention. Talk Boost, aimed at language delayed children aged 4 – 7 years, is a targeted and evidence based intervention that can boost a child’s communication by an average of 18 months after just 10 weeks of intervention.

It has been developed by I CAN and The Communication Trust, with support from the Every Child a Chance Trust. Talk Boost is a timely intervention as for the first time, Ofsted will be evaluating how well pupils develop skills in communication and how they apply them across the curriculum. Talk Boost will help schools achieve this.

To find out more visit  or email

£500,000 scholarship scheme launched for SEN support staff

On Wednesday 18th April, Children's Minister Sarah Teather announced that hundreds of school support staff are to get degree-level and specialist training in helping children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), under a new £500,000 programme.

The annual SEN support scholarship programme will provide up to £2,000 each to boost the skills of talented teaching assistants and school staff who work with children with SEND. The scholarship programme will fund 50 per cent of the total course costs – up to a ceiling of £2,000 each. It will fund staff to take a wider range of degree-level equivalent qualifications and specialist diplomas in specific impairments.

Applications will open on 30th April and close on 17th May, with the first scholarships awarded later this year.  This new fund for support staff scholarships is in addition to the national scholarship fund for teachers which opens its second round this month.

If you are interested in this programme please contact your local higher education provider.

Achievement for All conference

The charity Achievement for All 3A’s, is hosting a special information event for school leaders (Head teachers, Deputy Heads, Heads of Inclusion and SEND, and School Governors) entitled “Achievement for All –Accountability and Evidence: The New Ofsted Frameworkwhich will be held at the Victoria Park Plaza, London on the 16th May.

This important and timely event is free to attend and will provide invaluable information on the new Ofsted framework and will explore how schools can improve the progress and outcomes for their most vulnerable learners and meet the new Ofsted requirements.

We will be exhibiting at this event, alongside other specialist SEND charities and organisations. To view the Event Brochure please click here or go to the event page at

To register for this free event please go to Places are limited, so please register as soon as possible.

Everyone’s a winner in Storyonics competition

£1,000 of resources for your school is up for grabs if you enter the latest Storyonics competition. Every entrant will also receive a free 'Storyonics for Interactive Whiteboard/PC'.Storyonics

The competition, judged by successful 'Muncle Trogg' writer Janet Foxley, involves creating a story from a series of slides. This is a fun opportunity to encourage imagination and creativity while incorporating curriculum literacy skills.

Due to demand there are two categories this year - primary schools (ages 7 - 11) and secondary schools (ages 12 - 16). 1st, 2nd & 3rd places in each category win £250, £100 and £50 respectively for their schools.

The competition is run by ZooBooKoo in recognition of schools' services to children's literacy learning. The competition is also supported by The Communication Trust and Volunteer Reading Help charities.

For more details and to enter click here.

News from our members

The Communication Trust is a consortium of nearly 50 voluntary sector organisations. We bring together our expertise to ensure that the speech, language and communication needs of all children and young people are met through signposting specialist training, support and guidance to people working with children.

If your organisation would like to become a member of The Communication Trust’s consortium please go to for more information or e-mail

1Voice - Communicating Together - Summer weekend, Friday 11th to Sunday 13th May 20121Voice

1Voice are hosting an Olympic themed summer weekend of Communicating Together for families, children and young people who use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), their brothers, sisters and friends. 1Voice volunteers are available to support the children, however if you would like to bring one PA to provide support to your child/young person they can come FREE OF CHARGE.

Thanks to the generosity of funders the weekend is subsidised so the cost is £50.00 per adult and £25.00 per child. There are 12 places available for families and those applying to attend the whole weekend from Friday to Sunday will have priority.

For more information contact Gaynor Dale on 07932 858363 or email

Communication Matters - Road ShowsCommunication Matters

Book a FREE place on a Communication Matters Road Show and find out the latest developments in communication aids, software and specialised equipment.
The UK's leading AAC suppliers will be at the CM Road Shows demonstrating an exciting range of equipment and software for people with complex communication needs.

The CM Road Shows are aimed at professionals (e.g. speech and language therapists and teachers), people who use AAC (16+), and their family members/enablers.

Confirmed dates that you can book online:

  • Cardiff - 23 April
  • Scunthorpe -25 April
  • Glasgow - 15 May 
  • Liverpool - 22 May
  • Newcastle upon Tyne - 19 June
  • Northampton - 28 June
  • London - 13 Nov (registration open soon) 
It's free to attend but you must book a place in advance.  Book a place online here.

I CAN - Meath School children get ready, set, go! For the first ever communication triathlonI CAN

Children from Meath School in Ottershaw completed three London 2012-themed activities around Thinking, Talking and Teamwork to boost children’s speaking and listening skills as part of the Communication Triathlon from Openreach with support from I CAN, the children’s communication charity. The Communication Triathlon is part of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme.

Following the Opening Ceremony in the morning, the children completed their interactive and fun-filled activities finishing with a grand Closing Ceremony in the afternoon, where children received individual certificates for their success in the Triathlon.

Janet Dunn from Meath School said: “We were thrilled to have participated in the Communication Triathlon. The children have really enjoyed the London 2012-themed activities. For our children who have severe and complex speech, language and communication needs we are so thrilled at how brilliantly they completed these activities. It was a fun way for the pupils to develop their communication skills which are so essential for learning and for the rest of their lives.”

To register to be part of the Communication Triathlon, simply visit

Symbol UK - Life and Learning for Children with Down’s SyndromeSymbol UK

Symbol UK are offering a bigger and more exciting programme of events this yearfor children and adults with Down's syndrome, their families and the professionals who support them. Events will be held in Bristol and Kent and include individual consultations, Activity Camps, 3 day intensive assessment and intervention breaks, training days and more.

Symbol’s regrouping retreats can offer support and sustenance at times when you need to negotiate choices, decisions and problems and feel you need something extra beyond support from friends, family and local services. Families can take a few days out of their usual lives and routines to work through difficult decisions.

For more information visit or contact Lorraine Trowel or call 01795 844440.

Contact us

If you would like to contact us please call 0207 843 2526 or email
The Communication Trust, 8 Wakley Street, London, EC1V 7QE


Sentence Trouble:



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