The Communication Trust Newsletter
July 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.

Is it your time to shine?

Shine a LightThe Shine a Light awards are back for 2012 and they are bigger and better than ever!

The Communication Trust and Pearson Assessment are once again looking for teams, settings and individuals across the UK that exemplify best practice and excellence around supporting children and young people’s communication.

Over 300 applications were received in last year’s awards and our judges had the mammoth task of whittling these down to just 12 winners and 23 highly commended awards. This year, new categories have been added to give more teams and individuals the chance to shine including the 'Innovation Award' and 'Youth Justice Award'.

To find out more about the awards please visit the website

Entrants have until 21st September to submit applications online or by email, or 20th September by post. Good luck!

*Promote Shine a Light to your networks*
A Shine a Light eCommunications Toolkit is available to download here.

In the toolkit you will find web text, newsletter text, blog ideas and social media posts – everything you need to shout about the awards to your networks!


Texting is overtaking talking according to Ofcom study

The Communication Trust has reiterated the vital importance of good spoken communication skills and interaction, in light of Ofcom’s recent findings that people are sending more text messages instead of having face-to-face conversations.

Wendy Lee, Professional Director for the Trust, says: “Children learn to communicate through face-to-face interaction with adults and this provides excellent opportunities to develop a wider vocabulary. They cannot pick this up through using technology when so much of this information is bite-sized and they miss out on the richness of language.”

“There are many benefits of technology. It has increased the number of people we can communicate with and widens our experience, which can be enriching linguistically. 1 million children in the UK have some form of speech, language and communication need. For those who use communication aids and alternative methods of communication, technology is their lifeline.”

Wendy was interviewed on BBC Breakfast and you can watch the interview again here.

To read the Trust’s full response and to download some useful factsheets on how to ensure technology is communication friendly, please click here.

No Pens Day Wednesday - 10th October

No Pens Day Wednesday is returning and this time it will be held on Wednesday 10th October.

NPDWNo 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.

All the resources that were developed for last years No Pens Day will still be available but over the summer we'll be developing even more lesson plans, activity templates and other information for you to use.

Here's the link to all the current resources for you to view, in the meantime please register here and you'll be the first to hear when the new resources are ready.

Save the date - the ‘Cracking Communication Conference’ is coming to Manchester

On Tuesday 13th November 2012, the Trust is running its second Cracking Communication conference, this time in Manchester for up to 200 school leaders. This informative event will offer information and advice to help schools support outcomes for all children and young people through enhancing and promoting good language and communication skills.

The Communication Trust brings together the leading experts in speech, language and communication from the voluntary, education and private sectors. Keynote speakers and workshops with practical advice and tools will enable schools to develop their approaches to support all children to achieve their potential through better communication skills. If you are a school leader and think you may be interested in attending this event please save the 13th November 2012 in your diary. We will be in touch with further information about the day soon.

There will also be the opportunity to promote products and services that are available to support schools to achieve these outcomes. Specifically resources and/or services that focus on children between ages 5 –18. To register your interest as an exhibitor please contact Amy Harker, Business Development Officer at

Phonics check - share your experiences

Communicating PhonicsOver June this year, all children in Key Stage 1 undertook the phonics check. In order to support teachers and school staff to administer the test for the first time and to interpret the results for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), The Communication Trust published Communicating Phonics, available here.

The Trust also developed a number of fact boxes here for professionals and parents on the key principles behind the test and how to develop the literacy skills of children with SLCN.

We're keen to receive your feedback on the phonics check generally and its impact on children, as well as your thoughts on the Communicating Phonics guidance.

Click here to fill out our phonics feedback form. Once completed, please return it to or call 0207 843 2564.





Gravesham schools celebrate improvements in pupils’ communication

Staff from eight Gravesham primary schools received certificates recently to celebrate their involvement in A Chance to Talk, a two-year project which helps to improve pupils’ speech, language and communication skills.

Gravesham SchoolThe project, developed by I CAN and The Communication Trust, with support from the Every Child a Chance Trust, aims to boost the skills of all children, but also provides targeted support – such as Talk Boost - for those needing extra help.

Gravesham was one of the pilot areas of the A Chance to Talk project, along with Rochdale, Whitby and Kirkby. You can read the press release here.

For more information on A Chance to Talk, please click here.
For information on Talk Boost, for children aged 4-7 years with language delay, please click here here.

‘Every Disabled Child Matters’ campaign publish survey calling for greater focus on disabled children with social care and health needs

The survey, which was completed by 750 Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) supporters, 85% of whom were parents and carers of disabled children, demonstrated a high level of concern that the proposed Children and Families Bill - Special Educational Needs (SEN) and disability reform proposals will not improve access to support for disabled children, young people and their families.

Consequently, EDCM is urging the Government to extend the remit of the Children and Families Bill to:

  • Ensure that all children who have an impairment that requires coordinated support have access to a single assessment process and Education, Health and Care Plan, regardless of whether their primary need is education, health or social care
  • Create a ‘duty to provide a Local Offer’ with a strong national framework set out in regulations with clear accountability for delivery
  • Clarify the way in which local authorities will be funded to ensure that they can provide the services proposed by the Children and Families Bill
To read the EDCM survey report in full please click here.

Tackling bullying: Ten Years On: new issues and practice perspectives

Tickets are now available for the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) National conference on the 4th October at the Hallam Centre in London. The event celebrates ABA’s 10 years working as a coalition to address all forms of bullying between children and young people. 

Early bird tickets are available until 31st July - and there are discounted rates for ABA members. To find out more or book your place, please click here.

Latest news: Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England to chair the event.  Key speakers currently include Colleen McLaughlin (University of Cambridge) and Philippa Stobbs (Council for Disabled Children) on the ABA research into the bullying of children with special educational needs and disabilities. Afternoon debate on privacy v control featuring Dr Sonia Livingstone, Dr Peter Smith, Dr Katherine Rake (Family and Parenting Institute) and Nick Pickles (Big Brother Watch).

Whizz Kidz nominated for Lottery award for Best Charity project

Kidz Unlimited – Whizz-Kidz’s programme of kids clubs, life skills training and work placements has been nominated for a Lottery award for best Charity project.

If they win the category they will be presented with the Award live on the BBC, and receive a £2,000 cash prize - which could buy enough specialist sports and multimedia equipment to run three new Kidz Unlimited clubs, supporting 45 young people, all year round. More than the money however, a National Lottery Award win would be a testament to the many young disabled people that invest in Kidz Unlimited, from devising local campaigns to mentoring other young people.

In order to reach the live final, Whizz-Kidz need friends and supporters to vote for Kidz Unlimited! You can vote by phone on 0844 836 9736 or by visiting here.

Nominate your NHS Heroes

The NHS heroes campaign launched 5th July and encourages staff, patients and their families to nominate their own personal NHS heroes. This is an initiative that has been developed with input from across the NHS involving clinicians, trade unions and other interested parties.

It will recognise the efforts of local staff whose expertise, passion for care, concern and everyday kindness indelibly touches the lives of patients and their families. It will not only be recognising hospital staff but those working in local community health services.

The NHS Heroes launch pack will be sent out shortly and patients, public and staff are encouraged to get fully behind the scheme and to nominate their NHS heroes. To find out more 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 Trustís consortium please go to or for more information e-mail

1Voice1Voice - Applications are now open for the 1Voice autumn 2012 event ‘Media Madness’

The event will take place on Friday 21st September to Sunday 23rd September and welcomes children and young people (aged 25 and under) who use AAC, their family and friends to the annual 1Voice Autumn Weekend and take part in ‘Media Madness’ themed activities.

All places are heavily subsidised thanks to the generosity of 1Voice funders. Guests will meet and chat with 1Voice adult Role Models and enjoy an inspiring weekend. Places for both adults and children who are members of 1Voice and use AAC are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

1Voice are looking for volunteers to help plan the activities and help young people enjoy the event. It will take place in Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire.

If you would be interested in volunteering, want to book your place on the Autumn Weekend or would like further information on the event please click here. Or for an application form please email

Action for ChildrenAction for Children, The Children’s Society and the NSPCC publish research into the impact of the recession on vulnerable families and children

The research repor t- In the Eye of the Storm: Britain’s forgotten children and families - reveals that the most vulnerable children and families are being hardest hit by tax and benefit changes and are also being hit by other public spending cuts. By 2015, the impact of these measures will mean vulnerable families will be £3000 worse off each year. It estimates that by 2015, the number of children living in vulnerable families will increase to over one million with the number of children living in exceptionally vulnerable families set to double by 2015 to 96,000.

The report calls on the Government to protect children better from the effects of the recession, sharp cuts to public services, and major changes to the tax and benefits system, so children are not put at further risk. Some specific asks the report makes include:The Children's Society

- Integrated policies across government, in particular  housing, health, employment, education and welfare, to make sure vulnerable children are better protected
- An urgent assessment of how any further spending cuts, or tax and benefit reform, could impact on children
- A commitment to track and report back on the number of children living in vulnerable families.

To read the full report please click here.

Auditory VerbalAuditory VerbalUK - Recruiting Fundraising and Communications Assistant

Auditory VerbalUK - the national charity which helps deaf children to develop listening and spoken language – is seeking a Fundraising & Communications Assistant to join our growing team. The role is suitable for an enthusiastic graduate. Previous relevant experience is desirable, but we will also consider fast learners looking to start their fundraising and/or charity communications career.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 8th August 2012.

To find out more or apply for the role please click here

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - Call for Action! Parliamentary Briefing Event to discuss future commissioning arrangements for children and adults who require AAC services and communication aids

Communication Matters are asking supporters to get in touch with their local Member of Parliament (MP) to promote an event they are organising in Parliament in September.

Communication Matters would specifically like to brief MPs on the future commissioning arrangements for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services and communication aids. Considering that around 0.5% of the UK population may need AAC at some point in their lives (approx. 260,000 children and adults) there is a good chance that this issue will directly impact on the MP’s constituents so they will be willing to support.

Communication Matters is working with supportive MP Virendra Sharma to organise a Parliamentary Briefing Event to discuss future commissioning arrangements for children and adults who require AAC services and communication aids. This meeting takes place from 12.45pm- 2.00pm on Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Committee Room 17 within the Palace of Westminster.

Communication Matters would appreciate your support to get as many MPs as possible at the event to put more pressure on the Government to prioritise this issue!

Please click here for a template email ready for you to use. You can find out your local MP and their contact details by accessing the following link and typing in your postcode:

Contact a FamilyContact a Family - Free resource packs for parent groups

Contact a Family’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Information Project has produced free resource packs for parent groups. These packs are designed to support parent groups in the work they do around providing information to families. In the pack is a checklist of services that parents may need to know about at different stages in their child’s development. 

If your support group would like one of these packs or you would like to find out more about the project, please contact the SEND Information team at

I CANI CAN - Secondary Talk – free poster

Secondary Talk is an evidence-based programme that embeds communication in schools.
It supports schools to develop communication approaches responding to their own priorities, unlike top-down school improvement initiatives.

Whether schools have identified issues with behaviour, engagement in learning or attainment amongst its vulnerable groups, Secondary Talk can provide flexible, practical solutions.

Delivered by experienced specialist I CAN consultants, Secondary Talk includes a combination of practical resources and short training modules together with tailored consultancy.

To register for the Secondary Talk newsletter please click here and receive a free copy of What’s Typical Talk at Secondary poster.

You can also find out how schools could save £1,000 on this year’s upcoming Secondary Talk package here.

SignalongSignalong - 20 Years of Communicating Choices Conference

The conference will take place on Thursday 20th September and will be held at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The event celebrates 20 years of work dedicated to opening up opportunities and achievement for children and adults with speech, language and communication difficulties.

The conference will also see Signalong launch its new early language resource. Speakers on the day are set to include Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Anna Reeves CEO of the ACE centres.

The closing date for applications to attend the conference will be 7th September. For more information 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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