The Communication Trust Newsletter
November 2013


The Communication Trust is a coalition of nearly 50 voluntary and community organisations with expertise in speech, language and communication. We harness our collective expertise to support the children’s workforce and commissioners to support all children and young people’s communication skills, particularly those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Our newsletters contain information about the work of The Trust, how we're continuing the legacy of the 2011 Hello campaign and provide updates from our Consortium members.

The Trust relies on brilliant, local practitioners who are able to spread the word on the importance of speech, language and communication where it is needed most. If this sounds like you, there is now the opportunity to become a Local Champion for The Communication Trust.
For more information, please email:


The Shine a Light Awards are back!

Shine a LightWith new categories added this year, the 2013/14 Shine a Light Awards are now open for nominations. Together with Pearson Assessment we are running these awards to recognise teams, settings and individuals across England who support children and young people's communication needs.

This year two new awards categories have been introduced to widen the scope and offer other services a chance to showcase their best practice. The Working Together Award and Children's Workforce Award will sit alongside popular categories, such as early year's settings, schools and colleges and innovation which have been retained. A new award has also been introduced to celebrate the launch of our new initiative the 'Communication Commitment'.

The awards website - - is open for applications until 11.59 pm on 10th January 2014. An awards ceremony will take place in March 2014 in London. This year applicants will also have a choice of how to submit their application - by video, poster or written format.

For inspiration, you can read about the 2012 winners here.


The Communication Commitment - an update

CommitmentAs you’ll know from our October newsletter, we recently launched our new resource, The Communication Commitment, an interactive website with free resources to support schools develop their whole school approach to communication. Since we launched the site we’re delighted to say we’ve had over 350 schools register to make their Commitment!

These schools are using the fantastic free resources we’ve provided to assess where they're at currently and then build on this to work towards a more cohesive and effective whole school approach.

The free downloads and toolkits available on the site provide all the guidance and information schools need. They’ll also be able to find out more in Step 3 about the support offered by our expert member organisations to help them embed their Commitment even further with training, consultancy and accreditation services.

We really want to spread the word about this brilliant new resource so please help us! If you work in a school and want find out more about the Commitment, register now to explore the site and join the other 350+ schools starting their Communication Commitment journey:

If you don’t work in a school yourself but want to help us spread the word to those who do you can use our promotional toolkit and handy leaflet to share information about the Commitment with your networks.

Charities of the month: Auditory VerbalUK and I CAN

This month we're celebrating as 2 of our Consortium members reach birthday milestones...

Auditory VerbalUK

AVUKAuditory VerbalUK (AVUK) was founded in 2003 and this year is proud to be celebrating ten years of our children listening, speaking and achieving. The impact of auditory verbal therapy in early years is life-long. AVUK know that deaf children typically acquire language at half the rate of hearing children. Through a programme of auditory verbal therapy, AVUK equips parents with the skills to develop their child’s listen and spoken language and maximise their access to the full range of sound through modern technology. With language on a par with their hearing peers, children who graduate from our programme are excelling at school and fully participating in society. 

AVUK also provides training in auditory verbal therapy with an internationally accredited training programme. An increasing number of local authorities and NHS professionals are training at AVUK to deliver improved outcomes for children in their area.

As part of its tenth birthday celebrations, AVUK will be launching a new website with resources for parents and professionals on 28th November at


I CAN, the children’s communication charity, is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year. I CAN is the leading charity for children and young people’s speech, language and communication, providing information and support to families and professionals.  They provide effective, practical evidence-based solutions that change the lives of children with communication difficulties and support all children’s communication development. They also run two special schools for children with the most severe and complex communication difficulties, including Asperger’s Syndrome.

To reach more children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in early years settings and primary and secondary schools, I CAN’s programmes are available directly from I CAN Advisors or through our Licensee network. Licensees are skilled professionals who meet standards set by I CAN. Through training Licensees in our evidence-based programmes, interventions and accreditation, I CAN is able to support many more children and young people with SLCN.

For more information on I CAN’s evidence-based programmes and interventions, or to find out about joining I CAN’s Licensee network, go to


Children and Families Bill and Code of Practice

As many of you will know, the Children and Families Bill has been moving through Parliament during 2013. The Bill has just been debated by the Grand Committee in the House of Lords who will now produce a report.  The Trust has been working hard throughout the year to influence and improve the Bill for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

We have also been working hard on our response to the Draft SEN Code of Practice and will be pushing for a number of changes. The Code is the statutory guidance for practitioners working with children and young people with SEN. The reforms are the most significant changes to SEN law in 30 years – so this is a great opportunity for us to make sure young people with SLCN have their needs met.

We have drafted our response to the Code through our Task Group, consultation with our Consortium members and input from sector partners and experts. As we finalise our response, we want to give our wider supporters one last opportunity to share their expertise with us.

If you have any burning issues about how you think children and young people with SLCN can be best supported on the ground – we would love to hear your views. In particular we would love to hear:

  • How children and young people with SLCN can best be supported in early years settings, schools and further education.
  • Any illustrative examples of how children and young people with SLCN may inadvertently be disadvantaged by the changes.
Please send any views and examples to Jo Bolton by Thursday 5th December - When we’ve submitted our final response (deadline is Monday 9th December), we’ll upload it to the policy page of our site. Any questions, please contact Jo.


Helping parents promote early language development

The Communication Trust recently had a meeting with Elizabeth Truss, Under-Secretary of State for Education and Childcare who is really interested in the role of early language development. As part of the discussion, she is keen to find out about the messages parents need to have to effectively support their young child’s speech, language and communication development. This applies to all parents, but she is particularly interested in what will work for parents in areas of social deprivation.

We’re aware that in many areas there have been long-standing and successful initiatives about working with parents to promote the speech, language and communication of their babies and young children and we’re keen that the Department for Education can harness any available information.

We’re therefore asking if you have, or know of good practice examples we can share:

  • Key messages for parents about the best way to support early speech, language and communication development
  • How these key messages have been used with parents
  • Any information you have about how effective these messages/approaches have been

This will really enable us to inform the Department’s thinking and we’re really keen that tried and tested approaches can be well-represented. There’s a tight deadline though  – we’re looking for examples by the 10th December. Please send your examples through to Lisa Morgan, Professional Director on

Resource of the month: Top Tips for developing talk

Top TipsThe Communication Trust’s Top Tips for developing talk leaflet is ideal for people working with children, young people and families, and gives guidance to help make the most of children and young people’s communication skills.

There are 10 top tips outlined and each is accompanied by a brief explanation of how it helps to develop children’s communication.

The leaflet folds out to be a colourful and informative poster, perfect for display in classrooms, staffrooms, waiting areas and homes.

You can purchase the leaflet in bundles of 25 for £9.99, available to order here.





Children and Families Minister visits Council for Disabled Children offices

CDCOn Wednesday 20th November Council for Disabled Children (CDC) hosted a visit from the Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson who came to the CDC offices to meet the staff team and find out more about our work.
The meeting was arranged at the request of the Minister who wanted to learn about the many projects the CDC staff team undertake, including their work on the Children and Families Bill and the implementation of the SEN and disability reforms.

The Minister met with each of CDC's networks to find out about their particular responsibilities, including the Early Support team who talked about key working and culture change and our health team who spoke about their work with key health bodies on joint commissioning arrangements. He also spoke with our participation team about their work with EPIC, the disabled young people's group advising government on the reforms.

To find out more please click here.


Nasen conference: Effective School Leadership = Outstanding SEN Provision in schools

NasenThe draft Code of Practice for SEN issued in October 2013 provides guidance for all schools, settings and providers across 0-25 years and the proposed reforms will be legislated upon as the Children & Families Bill passes through Parliament for implementation in September 2014. 

The nasen Leadership Conference 2014 Effective School Leadership = Outstanding SEN Provision in schools will outline how the reforms are moving forward and look at changes in strategic thinking required by school leaders to balance the requirements of proposed new policy with the needs of all pupils.

The conference will take place in 2 different locations on 2 different dates:

  • Thursday 24th January 2014: ExCel London, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL
  • Tuesday 20th  May 2014: Reebok Stadium, Burden Way, Lostock, Bolton BL6 6JW

Who should attend: Head Teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, Heads of Department, SENCOs, Teachers, SEN Advisers, SLT, SEN Governor.

To find out more please click here.


New film from Unspoken - #myvoiceis

UnspokenOn 16th November, Unspoken, a new London-based theatre group that brings together the worlds of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and performing arts, held their first ever fundraising and awareness-raising night in North London.

The event, called Unspoken Outspoken, was billed as a night of ‘comedy, composition, commotion and cash’ featuring poetry, singing, sketches and music. It saw a variety of disabled and non-disabled performers sharing the limelight.  

The centrepiece of the event was the first ever chapter of #myvoiceis a compilation of contributors answering ‘What is your voice?’ and ‘Why is it important?’ featuring communication aid users. The video is available to view here.

Introducing the video Kate Caryer, founder of Unspoken, said: “The unspoken situation is that not even half of the people who are unable to speak effectively and need a powered communication aid actually have access to them.”

The event raised over £300 for The Unspoken Project, which is anticipated to be the first of its kind. The Unspoken Project aims to bring together people who use communication aids (AAC) to express themselves and other artists for community drama workshops and to develop and stage a theatrical performance in 2015 that focuses on the issue of communication.

The next Unspoken Outspoken event will be held on 25th January 2014 with workshops beginning in the spring 2014.

Get in touch and get involved at , @UnspokenAAC #myvoiceis or email


New NCB publication: Partnerships for a Better Start: Perspectives on the role of children's centres

NCBThe National Children's Bureau (NCB) have launched a new publication - Partnerships for a Better Start: Perspectives on the role of children’s centres. It sets out a series of essays on the future of children’s centres written by experts in child policy.

These essays raise key questions:
•             Should children’s centres be offering universal or targeted services?
•             How can we identify and support vulnerable families?
•             Should greater emphasis be placed on children under 2?
•             How can children’s centres best integrate health services?
•             How can children’s centres best engage and support parents, and increase their involvement in service development?
•             How can children’s centres improve engagement with the local community?

NCB is seeking a wide-ranging debate to answer these questions and secure a future for children’s centres at the heart of local communities.

They have set up an online survey on the NCB website to ask the public and the early years sector to tell us what they feel should be the purpose of children’s centres and why they matter to them.

The survey and pamphlet can be downloaded from the NCB website

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 Trustís Consortium please go to or for more information e-mail

ACE CentreACE Centre - Network Day

ACE Centre Network Days provide professionals, parents and carers interested in the uses of Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for people with physical and/or communication disabilities the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Bookings are now being taken for the following day:

ACE (South) Network Day in Cassington, Oxfordshire on Wednesday 4th December 2013:
A network day for professionals, parents and carers interested in the uses of Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication for children, young people and adults with physical and or communication disabilities. For more information go to Email us at or call us 01865 759800.

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - AAC study day: Symbolisation towards Literacy

Communication Matters is delighted to be organising this study day to explore the relationship between symbol communication and the development of literacy.
This unique study day will be presented by Dr Janice Murray (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Martine M Smith (Trinity College Dublin).

By the end of the day, participants will be:

  • provided with a framework to appraise symbolic communication
  • introduced to a framework to identifying how to use symbolic communication in pre-literacy activities
  • introduced to a framework for formal literacy training where AAC use is a core component of the process

Further information about the speakers and timetable can be found on the booking form here.

I CANI CAN - Launch new resources: Moving On

I CAN, the children’s communication charity, has launched Moving On! this month - new resources for year 6 children and teachers to support their transition into secondary school.  

Moving On! Student Activity Pack can be used by professionals or parents with all children, including those with poor language skills and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). There is also a Teacher Guide to support whole class or small group activities.

Moving from primary to secondary school marks an important stage in a child’s school career and can be a challenging time for all pupils. Research has shown that a successful transition can lead to higher attainment in school with improved progress, particularly in Maths and Science. Ensuring all pupils are ‘secondary ready’ is a key government target and by effectively supporting transition schools will help to ensure children can thrive.

Building on successful ideas such as pupil passports, I CAN identified the need for a resource which offers carefully structured support to develop practical skills and knowledge, and to prepare children emotionally. This will reduce anxiety and the risk of disengagement with learning, by ensuring children feel safe and secure in the new environment.

Moving On! is available now from I CAN,

The Makaton CharityThe Makaton Charity - Free Christmas resources

The Makaton Charity have developed lots of free resources available to download from their website. This includes:

  • A Makaton symbol version of the Nativity story
  • A selection of signs and symbols for Christmas
  • A template to make your own Makaton Christmas cards.

Please click here to find out more.

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


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