The Communication Trust Newsletter
January 2014


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, important information from the sector 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:


No Pens Day Wednesday evaluation summary

“The children absolutely loved the No Pens Day. They really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk more and not having the pressure to record things in writing all the time. Some of the activities also really highlighted the importance of speaking and making yourself clearly understood.”- Quote from No Pens Day Wednesday school

NPDWNo Pens Day Wednesday 2013 was the third year of the national speaking and listening event. It was our most popular event by far with more than double the numbers we reached last year signing up in 2013 - over 2,480 schools! This excellent sign up rate is in part thanks to the hard work put in by our fantastic supporters, Local Champions and Consortium members - we really appreciate all your support.

After the event, we undertook a detailed online evaluation survey with those who had taken part to find out what had worked well, how it could be improved in the future and most importantly, how No Pens Day Wednesday had raised awareness of speech, language and communication and impacted on teaching and learning in schools. We had almost 100 participants take part in the survey. Among other things we found that...

  • 89% of respondents said that taking part in No Pens Day Wednesday raised their awareness of speech, language and communication needs
  • 69% said they’d do things differently around school as a result of their involvement
  • Over 10% of respondents said they were hoping to run No Pens Day Wednesday more regularly in their school now

The survey also gave us some really important insights into how schools felt No Pens Day Wednesday could be improved in future and we'll be working to build on these this year in the run up to what we hope will be an even bigger and better event!

Please find the summary report here.  


We need your views

We have commissioned a survey to gather feedback on our resources, newsletter and website. We are constantly considering new approaches and looking for ways to improve the delivery of our work and would very much value any feedback and suggestions. This is also an important part of our reporting to funders.

If you have a few moments to spare, why not give us a hand and complete our survey here? Your help is very much appreciated!

New Consortium member - Artburst

This month we have confirmed Artburst as one of two of our latest members to our Consortium.

ArtburstArtburst is an award-winning social enterprise, delivering creative, educational workshops for children, young people and families in art, drama, music and movement. Here is information about some their workshops:

Artburst Minis
Artburst Minis are 90-minute, integrative arts workshops for 2-5 year olds and their parents/carers. The sessions focus on family learning and involve storytelling, painting, singing and dance. We use a visual timetable and Makaton signing to reinforce language learning. These sessions support under fives with their speech, language and communication skills.

Artburst Play in a Day
Play in a Day is a 2-hour whirlwind performance-based workshop for Key Stage 1 & 2 children, based on well-loved children’s storybooks. Children explore the story through drama, music and movement, then create an item of costume and work in small groups to paint a backdrop for their tale. In the second half of the workshop the whole group comes together to retell the classic text in a performance packed with actions, movements and sounds! At the end of the workshop there is a short performance for family, friends or the school.

Artburst Make A Play
Make a Play workshops are week-long performance-based workshops for 8-12 year olds. Over the course of a week students will devise their own script based on a classic children’s story, design and build sets and invent costumes. On the final afternoon of the workshop children will perform their play to family and friends showcasing their impressive creations! Workshop activities are pupil-led and children are encouraged to express their ideas, creating a real sense of ownership. The workshops support children with the transition from primary to secondary school and develop speech, language and communication needs.

Please visit their website to find out more about costs and the other workshops they run.

The other new member of our Consortium is Sense who we'll introduce in our next newsletter.


Implementation pack for SEN reforms dispatched

On Monday 9th December, Ministers Edward Timpson (Department for Education) and Dan Poulter (Department of Health) wrote to local authority and health leaders about the special educational needs (SEN) reforms
In their letter the Ministers request these individuals work to ensure that the SEN reforms are implemented in a way that will deliver maximum benefits for local areas and for families and young people. The letter also confirms that the Pathfinder Champion programme will continue until March 2015. Accompanying the letter is an implementation pack outlining the vision for the reforms and with information for strategic leaders.

The implementation pack includes:

  • Key questions
  • A timeline for implementation
  • Information on the resources and support that can be accessed from a variety of organisations, including the Council for Disabled Children
  • Examples of best practice

You can view a copy of the letter here and the implementation pack documents at this link.


Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist's 2014 Conference -
Mind the Gap: Putting research into practice

RCSLTThe Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is inviting submissions for its 2014 conference. The conference will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the profession and will offer a platform for the dissemination of new innovations for evidence-based practice.

With more than 50 presentations at the conference in 2012, Mind the Gap promises to be an even busier interactive event providing delegates with the opportunity to share:

  •  Clinical research
  •  Best practice and skills in clinical practice and clinical education
  •  Emerging innovations and collaborations
  •  Entrepreneurial approaches to service delivery
  •  New models of employment
  •  Leadership

The RCSLT is inviting any interested parties to submit papers, workshops and/or posters that address any of the above topics within all areas of speech and language therapy.

Please download and complete the abstract submission form and return it to

The deadline for submissions is 14th March 2014.


University of Cambridge oracy conference

The Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge is holding a one-day conference on identifying and assessing children’s spoken language skills at Hughes Hall, Cambridge on Tuesday 25th February.

It is becoming widely recognised that schools should help children develop the ability to use spoken language effectively across a range of social settings. However, there has been a lack of clarity about the key skills involved and how they can best be assessed.

This conference will provide a forum for discussing oracy and its assessment, drawing on a range of expertise.

The registration fee is £10, and the deadline for registration is the 11th February. For more information or to register please contact Ayesha Ahmed on





RALLI videos

RALLIThe RALLI campaign was created to Raise Awareness of Language Learning Impairments. Their You Tube channel has videos that explain what a language impairment is, the impact it can have and how to get help.

Between October and December 2013 they posted the following videos:

BCRP 1: What is the Better Communication Research Programme?
Professor Julie Dockrell explains the content of the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP), a project funded by the government.

BCRP 2: Supporting language in the classroom
Professor Julie Dockrell explains some of the findings from the BCRP about how teachers can support children's language development in the classroom. To access the Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool for teachers go to the Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool

Introduction to Bilingualism: Dispelling the myths 
Can bilingualism cause problems for children? Which language should parents speak? Should parents avoid mixing languages? Dr Vicky Murphy provides some basic information about bilingualism based on the research evidence. For more information and research references go to slideshare/what-is-bilingualism

Bilingualism and SLI
What are the signs of SLI in a child who is bilingual? When should we be concerned about a bilingual child's language skills? Speech and Language Therapists Ami Mathur, Rhiannon Walton and Yildiz Kakin answer these questions based on what the research evidence tells us. For more information and research references go to

Things I wish I'd known: a parent's perspective
Linda Lascelles, CEO of Afasic, a parent support organisation, shares her experiences as a parent of a child with a language impairment. Linda describes things she wish she had already known or understood and offers advice to other parents.

For more information on RALLI, please go to


New website: Public Service Information

Whitehouse Consultancy have recently launched a new website called Public Service Information (PSI), which can be found at and via Twitter @PublicService_i.

The purpose of PSI is to bring together relevant daily news stories relating to public service policy in the UK in one easily accessible place. This website is provided as a free resource by Whitehouse and compiles stories of interest on a wide range of policy areas including health, education and welfare.

Each week PSI will provide a broader overview of several policy areas offering quick daily news updates, with instant analysis from a Whitehouse consultant where relevant. PSI will also feature broad analysis of policy areas. The following articles may be of particular interest:

School Accountability Reform explained

Looking ahead to 2014 in Public Services


Kidz in the Middle: free exhibition

One of the largest free UK exhibitions dedicated to children and young people with disabilities and special needs will take place in Coventry on Thursday 27th March, 2014.

Over 120 exhibitors will be in attendance, offering advice and information on a range of topics, including funding, mobility, communication, education and access.

Running alongside the event is a full programme of free seminars for parents and professionals. Topics include parental experiences, sleep issues, continence issues, moving and handling, transition and legal advice.

For more information, please see 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 or for more information e-mail

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - AAC study day
, Thursday 13th March, London

The AAC study day aims to explore the relationship between symbol communication and the development of literacy. The day will be led by Dr Janice Murray from Manchester Metropolitan University, and Dr Martine M Smith from 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 identify 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
For more information, please download the booking form here.

I CANI CAN - Chatterbox Challenge 2014

I CAN, the children’s communication charity are currently encouraging early years groups to register for the 2014 Chatterbox Challenge.

I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds Like Fun with Humf is the annual fundraising singalong for children under 5 to develop their communication skills and raise money to help children who struggle to communicate. Children will learn songs and rhymes related to sounds, noise and silence and take part in activities linked to the EYFS. With sponsorship from Openreach and TTS, and the continued support of Humf from the popular children’s TV show, I CAN are calling on as many groups as possible to get involved to make this year’s event the best yet.

Please help spread the word in your local area and encourage as many groups as possible to sign up! Chatterbox Challenge week is 10-16th February but groups can take part in the Challenge at any time of the year.

To register for a free fundraising activity pack, or to find out about Humf and TTS prizes, go to

NASNAS Training and Consultancy

The National Autisitic Society is offering a wide selection of training days and courses throughout 2014. These range from introductory courses for those new to working with people with autism, to advanced workshops in specialist topics for seasoned professionals.

For more information and a complete list of specialist courses, please click here.

Puzzle CentrePuzzle Centre - A Good Start conference

The Puzzle Centre is hosting a conference on Thursday 1st May, entitled “A Good Start: early diagnosis and early support for children with autism and their families”.  The conference will run from 9am to 4:30pm at The British Library, and will bring together researchers, practitioners, parents and carers to discuss early diagnosis, support and education for children with autism and their families.

Key topics include:

  • Autistica’s ‘One in a Hundred’ report
  • The AET Early Years, Standards and Competencies
  • The AET Early Years Training Materials
  • The neuroscience of autism
  • The SCERTS Educational Model
  • Implementing SCERTS at the Puzzle Centre for preschool children with autism

The conference is aimed at Early Years practitioners, teachers, speech and language therapists, psychologists, local authority representatives and commissioners, researchers, paediatricians, health visitors, social workers and parents or carers of young children on the spectrum.

To book your place, please download and complete the booking form by clicking here.

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:
Talking Trouble:


If you would like to unsubscribe from all emails from The Communication Trust, please click here.

Privacy policy