The Communication Trust Newsletter
March 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:


The Children and Families Act receives Royal Assent

The new Children and Families Act - given royal assent on Thursday 13th March, will mean changes to the law to create a new system to help children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. The Act also covers a number of other issues relating to children's welfare. You can read the full press release from the Department for Education here.

The Trust has produced a paper which provides a review of the SEND reforms set out in the Children and Families Act. This paper evaluates the positions adopted by the Trust on the legislation when the Bill was first introduced into Parliament in February 2012, against the progress made on those issues over the course of its passage. You can read the Children and Families Bill Review paper here. Whitehouse, our public affairs consultants, have also produced a wider overview of the Children and Families Act and its consequences which is available in this Policy Digest.

The Communication Trust is committed to supporting all those implementing the Children and Families Act and the SEND Reforms more widely, to meet the needs of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their families. In order to achieve this, we are working with the Department for Education, the Pathfinder programme, our partners across the VCS sector, and the professionals that make up the children's workforce. Detail of our current work around the SEND Reforms can be found at

We will be adding to our SEND Reform pages considerably over the coming months including developing further resources to support practitioners implementing the Code. New to the pages in the past couple of weeks are the materials from the SLCN Commissioning Conference which we ran in February. You can access all the materials and presentations from the day on the SEND reforms sections joint commissioning pages here.

To be kept up to date on these resources or to let us know what is most needed, please  email

If you have any questions about any of this information please contact Jo Bolton, Project Officer on  


The Progression Tools are here!

progression toolsOver 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 Tools are not a diagnostic tool and do not in any way replace the detailed speech, language and communication assessment by a speech and language therapist that some children will need. However, they will give you information to help decide whether children would benefit from a targeted intervention or whether they need specialist assessment and support.

To order the Progression Tools please go to or visit 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.

Shine a Light 2014

shine a lightOn Thursday 3rd April, Pearson Assessment and The Communication Trust will be hosting the third Shine a Light Awards ceremony.

It will take place at Pearson Headquarters, on the Strand in London, and will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all the amazing work happening to support children and young people’s communication development.

We look forward to welcoming the finalists to the ceremony and will be sharing their stories in the next newsletter.


Oral language interventions from the Education Endowment Foundation

eefThe Education Endowment Foundation are offering oral language interventions that emphasise the importance of spoken language and verbal interaction in the classroom. These approaches include targeted reading aloud and discussing books with young children; approaches which explicitly extend pupils’ spoken vocabulary; and interactive approaches to developing reading comprehension with structured questioning.

The interventions are effective and result in positive benefits for the child over the course of their application. On average, students who participate in oral language interventions make approximately five months additional progress over the course of a year. There is a strong body of evidence to support the interventions, including randomised control trials and several recent studies in UK schools.

These interventions are extremely low cost, with any expenditure likely to be attributed to the purchase of additional resources to facilitate learning, such as books.

For more information, please click here.


University of Manchester SLTs are looking for parents and children to advise on research

manchester logoSpeech and language therapists at the University of Manchester are seeking interested parents, carers and children to assist in designing new research on children and communication needs.

Their latest work is about putting a new, evidence-based social communication intervention (SCIP) into practice, and as such the University would like advice, comments and views on how best to do the research and what the priorities of therapy service users are.

If you feel you could be of assistance or you’d like to participate in the project, please contact Dr. Catherine Adams or Dr. Elaine Lockton.


Postgraduate Courses in Language and Literacy with The University of Sheffield

sheffieldThe University of Sheffield is offering Masters degrees, postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates in Language and Literacy. These courses are offered either full-time at the University of Sheffield, or can be studied part-time from anywhere in the world via the internet.

This course would prove beneficial to teachers, speech and language therapists, SENCOs, literacy specialists, psychologists and others looking to improve their knowledge of literacy development and difficulties.

This is a new course and will begin in September 2014.

For more information on this course, and other opportunities offered by the University of Sheffield, please visit their website here.


Free resources from the Anti-bullying Alliance

abaAs part of their “SEN and Disabilities: Developing Effective Anti-bullying Practice” programme, the Anti-bullying Alliance is offering free downloads of a number of resources aimed at schools, the wider children’s workforce and parents/carers.

From 2013 – 2015 the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) will be working in partnership with Achievement for All 3As, Contact a Family, Mencap and the Council for Disabled Children on an exciting and innovative new programme of work, funded by the Department for Education, to reduce the incidence and impact of bullying on children with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities in schools.

For more information on this initiative, and to look at the free resources on offer, please follow click here.





The University of Central Lancashire presents Seminar Series 2014: Children and Social Justice, part 2

lancashireThe University of Central Lancashire is running a pair of seminars in Bristol on 12th May 2014 from 4:00-5:30pm.

The first seminar offered is delivered by Louca-Mai Brady of the University of the West of England. This seminar will explore what it means to ‘embed’ children and young people’s participation in health and social care services and discuss some of the issues emerging from her research and a number of related workshops. Attendees will also have an opportunity to contribute to this on-going work by reflecting on their own knowledge and experience of children and young people’s participation in health and social care.

The second seminar, delivered by Dan Moxon of People Dialogue and Change, looks at the possibilities and limits offered by research led by young people as a method of creating changes in NHS Services. Drawing on the learning from a number of pieces of youth led research in the health sector, Dan will present the impact of these pieces of the work on policy design and service delivery, and the challenges faced when using young people's voices as the starting point for service design.

Both seminars are free and refreshments will be provided. For more information, please visit here.


Let Teachers SHINE 2014

This year sees Let Teachers SHINE return for its third year running! In 2012 SHINE and TES launched Let Teachers SHINE, a competition to find the nation’s most innovative teachers, and in 2014 the search is on once again for the most brilliantly creative ways to raise attainment in English, Mathematics or Science.

There’s no set criteria – anything goes! However, the eventual winners should have clear objectives, sensible and transparent budgets, and the opportunity for future expansion. They must be innovative and target disadvantaged children.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 27th April 2014. Shortlisted teachers will be asked to come to London to discuss their proposal in more detail with the judges, who will then choose up to 10 winning projects. Each one will receive up to £15,000 from SHINE, making a total potential prize pot of £150,000. This money will go towards funding a year-long pilot programme.

For more information, please see here.



The Irwin Mitchell & KIDS Writing Competition: Turning The Page

im solicitorsTurning the Page is a writing competition that invites both disabled and non-disabled children and adults to share their experience of disability or supporting a disabled person. Irwin Mitchell and KIDS are asking for positive, inspirational stories of your experiences with disability.

Submissions should be short stories and poems of up to 500 words. All levels of writing ability are welcome, so don’t worry if you haven’t written anything similar before. Irwin Mitchell and KIDS are interested in your personal understanding of disability – this might be life in school or the workplace as a disabled person, or that of a family member or friend.

The deadline is 30th April 2014, and there’s the chance to win an Amazon Kindle Fire and a £50 book voucher!

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

CommtapCommtap announces an exciting new service for publicising and finding communication training.

Commtap – the free communication resource website – has an exciting new service for publicising training and events. Using this service to publicise training is free to publicly funded/owned organisations such as NHS departments, LEAs and many schools.

With the ever changing service landscape and a range of organisations now offering training, it can be difficult for people to know where to look to find specific training in their local area – this service addresses this problem, and helps providers better target their training in the light of what is already available.

You can get a page for your organisation/team on Commtap and then start adding events. Your events will appear in lists on the site which can be searched by topic, location and target audience. Ads will also appear on key pages across the site for people located in the area. Example page with ads (what you see will depend on where you are located).

To get started, go to:, contact the Commtap team online or phone them on 020 7250 8064.


I CAN - The Department for Education backs the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) with funding for another year

eldpThe ELDP team are doubly celebrating this week. Firstly, the programme has achieved its target of giving 12,000 local practitioners the knowledge, skills and confidence to support very young children’s language development.

Secondly, we’re delighted that the Government has recognised the positive impact ELDP is having on practitioners, children and parents, and are thrilled that the Department for Education is funding it for a further year.  Go to our website - to view the evidence of impact.

Department for Education backing for young children’s language development is welcome recognition of the fact that children’s language development is the foundation for all their learning and social relationships. 
In the second phase of the ELDP, we are focusing on children and families in areas of high deprivation. If you are interested in becoming part of this important programme, please contact the team at For more information on the ELDP, visit

MakatonThe Makaton Charity - Free signs and symbol resources

In preparation for the Easter holidays, The Makaton Charity is releasing two free downloads in March. If you’re getting ready for Easter they have a range of specially selected symbols and line drawings of signs for you to use!

For more information and to access your free downloads, please click 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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