The Communication Trust Newsletter
June 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.

Shine a Light awards 2012 opening soon

The Trust and Pearson Assessment are delighted to announce the popular Shine a Light good communication awards are back this year with refreshed categories to help you spotlight excellent work and achievement by the children’s workforce and other individuals.

Shine a LightNew categories include the Youth Offending Award, Innovation Award and Communication Champion award for individuals that have gone above and beyond to make a difference for children with speech, language and communication needs.

This is in addition to popular categories including the Early Years Setting of the Year Award, Team of the Year, Young Person of the Year and Commissioning Award.

Last year’s awards raised the profile of more than 48 different teams across the UK with winners reporting the tangible differences winning a Shine a Light award has made to them.

WATCH THIS SPACE – The 2012 Shine a Light award categories are being launched next week. Bookmark the website for information on the categories and how to enter.

You can also read the inspirational stories from last year's winners here.

New Trust Director appointed

The Communication Trust is pleased to announce that Anne Fox will be joining as Director of The Trust on 1st August.

Anne Fox has worked at NCT (National Childbirth Trust) since 2007, initially as Campaigns Manager, then Head of Campaigns and Public Policy and as Head of Corporate Communications since November 2010. She leads on all aspects of corporate reputation including proactive media relations, stakeholder engagement, public affairs and influencing work, crisis and issues management, CSR and has also been involved in contributing to the Charity’s 10 year charity strategy.

Anne previously held roles in a number of charities including Mencap, The Royal Society for Health, and One Family (for one-parent families) and has also managed a consortia of disparate groups (The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition), which included mother support groups, children’s charities, royal colleges and workforce professional bodies and unions.

We're delighted to be welcoming Anne to The Trust and will include an update from her in August's newsletter once she has started.

Language emphasis in Nutbrown’s landmark review

The Trust has welcomed Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s recommendations on the vital importance of young children’s speech and language development and ensuring early years practitioners are skilled and knowledgeable with access to robust and quality qualifications.

Robust qualifications and training for the children’s workforce are of key importance to help early years practitioners support all children in developing good communication skills, but most of all to be able to identify and support children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The Trust has championed the need for robust national qualifications for the whole of the children’s workforce, but particularly early years staff. To this end, we have developed a mandatory unit on speech, language and communication for the early years pathway of the current Level 3 Children and Young People’s Diploma, with optional units.

In addition we have also developed a Level 3 Award in Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication  (City & Guilds reference number: 4337 and CACHE 600/4257/6). It's a continuing professional development accredited qualification, ensuring a direct link from learning to practice. To support the Award, we have produced expertly written materials for tutors and learners which are freely available online here.

Please click here to read our response.

For more information about our Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication Level 3 Award, developed with City & Guild, click here.

The Trust’s response to the Nutbrown Report has also been featured by Day Nurseries UK, please click here to view.

No Pens Day Wednesday 2012 is coming!

No Pens DayFollowing the fantastic success of last year's No Pens Day Wednesday, we're delighted to announce that it's returning this year in October!

No Pens Day Wednesday was a flagship event of the Hello campaign (national year of communication), which encouraged schools to put down their pens and to run a day of speaking and listening activities.

Over 800 schools took part last year using a wealth of resources and lesson templates provided by the Trust.  This year, we’ll be providing even more exciting free activities, lesson plans and templates to help you shout about your efforts to local media.

We have been working with schools to gather their feedback and want to know your views on what worked well, what could have made it better and suggestions on lesson plans you would like to see. Email your views to

We will be
sharing with you over the coming months the new resources and information.

If you're interested in running a No Pens Day in your school please e-mail to register your interest.

No Pens Day Wednesday goes global

NPDW_TazmaniaEven 9 months after our first No Pens Day Wednesday we're still hearing from schools who have run the day with their students - and this story comes from the other side of the world!

Senior Speech and Language Pathologist Danielle Le Rossignol from Tasmania spent a week with the Trust last October. It was a pleasure to meet Danielle, to have another perspective on speech, language and communication and hear about how issues are tackled abroad.

Happily Danielle was also able to take away something from her visit with us and recently introduced Australia’s inaugural No Pens Wednesday at Riverside Primary School in Tasmania. We’re proud and delighted that this Hello initiative has been shared with our friends down under.

Read more about the day at Riverside here.

Phonics check - share your experiences

This month saw schools administer the phonics check for the first time. The Communication Trust published Communicating Phonics to support teachers and school staff to both deliver the check and interpret the results, as well as to support the overall literacy development of children with speech language and communication needs (SLCN).

Communicating PhonicsIf you have not yet seen the guidance or would like to view it again please click here

We're pleased to say that Communicating Phonics has been downloaded from our website over 7,000 times since it was uploaded earlier this month.

It was also signposted to by the Department for Education as good guidance to support the phonics check and featured in The Guardian’s Teachers Blog here.

Are you a teacher or member of school staff involved in the phonics check?  Or a parent of a child with SLCN who undertook the check? We would love to hear your views!

We want to know how you felt about the check and how children in your school engaged with it. If you used the phonics guidance to support children with SLCN in your setting we would also really like to hear your views on the guidance and the experience of the children during the check.  We will use this information to help improve our guidance and our future work around phonics.

Please click here to download a template to record your views or alternatively please contact Lynne Milford on or call 0207 843 2564.

Think Big update

Think Big is a programme run in partnership with O2 where young people (age 13-25) are encouraged to apply for grants of £300 to support a project that relates in some way to communication; either awareness raising or developing young people’s communication skills.

Think BigSince our previous update on the Think Big project, a further 4 successful applications have been granted the £300 award, with 5 others having had their projects accepted and are now in the process of setting up their project information to access the £300 award.

Think Big is running until December 2012 and the Trust has a 9 remaining £300 grants to allocate to young people’s project ideas this year. For successful £300 projects there is an opportunity for young people to apply to compete for a further £2,500 grant in order to expand and extend their original project.

If you would be interested in applying yourself or supporting a young person to apply for Think Big please click here for more information. Or please get in touch with Jo Bolton via email at or call on 0207 843 2526.

Charity of the Month - Cued Speech

Cued SpeechSpeech made visible

The main work of the Cued Speech Association UK is to provide information and training in Cued Speech throughout the UK. 

Cued Speech is a simple system which clarifies lip-reading for deaf babies, children and adults using eight handshapes in four positions together with the lip-patterns of normal speech.  The system can be learnt in only 20 hours making Cued Speech economical to deliver and giving almost instant support to deaf babies, children, and their families both at home and at school. 

It is at its most powerful when used to clarify whole language for deaf babies and young children but it also dovetails perfectly with phonics teaching. 

Take a look at some of the 25 videos about Cued Speech on the ‘Cue Tube’ section of their website: , arrange a workshop for your organisation or refer families to Cued Speech (grants to cover the costs of training may be available). Contact  (general information and training)  (free-to-use e-learning website)





Queen's birthday honours

The Communication Trust was delighted to see Frances Cook, formerly of the Michael Palin Stammering Centre, honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Frances, who has worked in the field of stammering for more than 30 years, received an MBE for her contribution to services for children, young people, their families and adults who stammer.

She is a former Head of Specialty at the Michael Palin Stammering Centre - having retired in December 2011. She had held the post of Head of Centre since the 1990s and during this time the Centre went from strength to strength.

The Trust is delighted to see someone from the speech, language and communication community being honoured for their hard work. Congratulations to Frances!

Others to be recognised are Kathleen Paintin, founder and chair of North West Network, who has an OBE for services to Special Needs Education. Kath is also one of NAPLIC’s (Trust Consortium member) committee members.

Kath is an exceptional and trusted consultant, having supported the Trust with numerous projects including Talk of the Town and the SSAT project in secondary schools. We look forward to working with her in the future and would like to pass on our heartfelt congratulations.

Pearson Assessment research

PearsonPearson Assessment, key supporter of the Trust’s work and Hello sponsor, are carrying out research into assessments suitable for the Health Visitor market.

If you would like to take part in this research please complete their short survey here or contact them at

Speaking with a child's voice - for the first time

A ground-breaking project has unveiled the world's first genuine, natural-sounding children's voices for users of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC).

The voices, created by Acapela Group and AssistiveWare, are included in the Proloquo2Go App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch through a new free update released on the App Store.

'Harry' and 'Rosie' were recorded by and for children to use as their preferred ‘Text to Speech’ voice to communicate a want, need or thought using symbol-based communication or typing with word prediction.

Anna Reeves, National AAC Coordinator for England, said: “These new voices will further transform the lives of children who cannot speak and the lives of those around them. It may be the very first time that families hear their own children speak with a child’s voice – you can’t put a price on that.” 

For more information, 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 Trustís consortium please go to or for more information e-mail

ACE Centre Oxford to remain open following successful merger

ACE CentreThe merger of the ACE Centres in Oxford and Oldham will ensure the Oxford site, which previously faced closure at the end of June, will remain open. It will continue to provide independent advice, assessments and training to enable access to technology for individuals, including children, with significant communication needs.

The move is to be financed by investment from the ACE Centre in Oldham, and will also use an existing grant from the Department for Education to develop national services providing support in the areas of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT).

The Communication Trust would like to take this opportunity to express our congratulations on the merger which will allow ACE Centre Oxford to continue its excellent work. 

To read the full press release from ACE Centres please click here

Ambitious about Autism - Families needed for research into individual budgets

Ambitious about AutismAmbitious about Autism is conducting research about families’ views on individual budgets, in light of the Government’s special educational needs reforms proposal to introduce personal budgets. The research is being undertaken by Emma Greene at Ambitious about Autism. She is being supervised by the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at the Institute of Education.

If you would like to help with the research Ambitious about Autism are looking for parents or carers of young people between the age of four and 16 who have been diagnosed with autism and have (a) received an individual budget, (b) been offered but refused an individual budget or (c) are simply aware of the individual budget scheme.

The research aims to help to gain an understanding of how local authorities are currently delivering individual budgets to families of children with autism and what the families’ experiences are thus far as well as what their hopes and fears for the future are.

If you would like more information, have any questions or wish to take part in a short interview, please contact Emma at

I CAN offers free early years training in Bristol and Nottingham

I CANI CAN, the children's communication charity, is offering a comprehensive two-day training package to early years practitioners in Bristol and Nottingham. The Early Years DevelopmentProgramme (ELDP) training is for children’s centre and nursery managers and staff, head teachers, deputy heads, speech and language therapists and ECaT consultants. The high quality training supports the foundations of good communication development in young children who are most at risk of language delay to ensure more young children develop the language skills they need to be school ready. The ELDP programme will build on the good practice that has been developed through the Government funded Every Child a Talker (ECAT) programme.

This comprehensive two-day package is designed so that practitioners develop the skills and resources to cascade to their peers including Early Years Practitioners (such as children’s centre workers and childminders) and Family Support Practitioners (such as Health Visitors). The trained practitioners will  establish key 'hubs' of early language expertise across the UK.

I CAN is working with a strong set of partners: Action for Children, The Children’s Society, The Pre-School Learning Alliance, Elklan CIC  and The Office for Public Sector Management.

Training dates: Bristol 2nd & 3rd July, Nottingham 4th & 5th July 2012.
For more information about the Early Language Development Programme, visit  email:; or telephone 020 7843 2515

Secondary Talk showcase event in Wolverhampton – space available

On Wednesday 4th July from 4.30 – 6.30pm, I CAN are running their Secondary Talk Showcase event is taking place at South Wolverhampton and Bilston (SWB) Academy, Wolverhampton Road East, Wolverhampton, WV4 6AP. This unique event will give you an opportunity to hear from experts about current issues surrounding language and communication and the implications of Ofsted’s focus on communication across the curriculum.

Speakers and panellists include:

Maxine Burns – Lead Advisor for Secondary Talk, I CAN
Kat Wilkes – Literacy Co-ordinator and Assistant Director of English, SWB Academy 
Clive Robson – Ofsted Inspector and Education Advisor, I CAN
Glenn Major – Communication Advisor, I CAN

To attend this event, please email or call Jeremy on 020 7843 2515. For more information please click here.

The Makaton Charity - Makaton Accessible Information Toolkit

The Makaton CharityThis new toolkit is designed to help make information accessible to users with learning and communication difficulties.  The toolkit contains information and exercises to work through so that you can learn the key elements of making information accessible and how to choose the appropriate Makaton symbols and signs. 

To find out more please click here.

NDCS - Films help parents of deaf children through education milestones

NDCSParents of deaf children can now access key information about navigating the special educational needs system through new films from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).  The films are aimed at equipping parents with the knowledge to negotiate statements, annual reviews and transition to primary or secondary school, to help ensure their child gets the support they need.

As well as sharing other parents’ experiences and advice from experts, the films give a taste of some of the support available at NDCS family weekends. The films are available to view with free NDCS membership (fill out a simple online form and get instant access) at All the clips are available subtitled and BSL translated. 

For more information about NDCS’s weekends for parents visit or call NDCS’s freephone helpline on 0808 800 8880.

Stolen futures: an investigation into the public spending cuts facing deaf children 2010-2013

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) have today launched a report entitled, Stolen futures: an investigation into the public spending cuts facing deaf children 2010-1013. The report shows that one in four local authorities are cutting services for deaf children this year. More information and the full report is available on the NDCS website here.

NDCS has also launched a petition calling on the Government to act and for greater transparency from councils on the support they provide to deaf children. The charity needs to secure 100,000 signatures to force the Government to address the issue and debate it in Parliament which you can sign up to 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


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