The Communication Trust Newsletter
April 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:


Platform 3 goes live!

A new innovative learning experience for Early Years Practitioners undertaking the Level 3 Award Supporting Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication, has been developed and launched to the first cohort of pilot learners.

Funded by the Department for Education VCS Grant Scheme, Platform 3 is an online route to delivering and undertaking the Level 3 Award, which allows practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds and locations to access this Level 3 CPD award.

Consisting of two mandatory and one optional unit, the Award enables the children’s workforce to develop the knowledge and skills needed to effectively encourage all children’s speech, language and communication development and identify and support those who are struggling. This will then help enable settings, through a better qualified workforce, to provide high quality early education in relation to children’s speech, language and communication. As well as studying online practitioners will be supported by a tutor to be assessed and accredited online to gain their qualification.

The Communication Trust have partnered with the three Awarding Organisations currently offering the Award: Apt Awards, CACHE and City & Guilds as well as Learner Partners who have helped to recruit cohorts of learners in their areas.

As more cohorts of learners go through the pilot we will be collating feedback to continue to refine the online site as well as evaluating changes in practice and quality of early years provision.  

Although initially the pilot stage of Platform 3 is only available to a limited number of early years practitioners who have applied through our partners of the project, the Award is suitable for all practitioners working with children and young people and we are working towards making it more widely available from March 2015.


Preparing for implementation of the SEND Reforms - online survey

Implementation of the Children and Families Act's special education needs and disability (SEND) reforms will begin from September 2014, and the Trust is committed to supporting all those implementing the Reforms to meet the needs of children and young people with SLCN and their families. 

With publication of the final SEND Code of Practice expected this summer, the Trust is starting to think about the guidance and support materials that those implementing the SEND Reforms may require in meeting the needs of children and young people with SLCN and their families. 

Now that the revised draft Code of Practice is available - and we don't anticipate that the content of the final version will change greatly - we are keen to consult with local services, commissioners and practitioners who are preparing for implementation to find out which aspects of the Code they feel confident in delivering and in which areas they need further guidance and support.

We've developed an online survey to gather feedback on this, and would greatly appreciate your comments if you will be responsible for planning implementation of the Reforms. Your feedback will help us ensure we are providing the support needed. Please also share the survey with any relevant networks of colleagues by forwarding on the link-

You can find the survey here. Please respond by Monday, 19th May.


The new SENDirect website

This month the new SENDirect website has gone live. SENDirect is a personalisation service launching in sendirect logoSeptember 2014. The online service will allow parents and professionals to:

  • see what choices are available to them, how much things cost and what other people think of them
  • access information about rights
  • access guidance on how to tell what impact particular support or activities could have on outcomes for their child
  • and, crucially, influence the development of new and different services that better meet their child’s needs.

SENDirect’s online service is enhanced by their training, events and consultancy which support organisations to adapt their planning, delivery and financial models to be more flexible and able to meet individual needs.
From this month you can find out more about the service, the organisations involved and you can get involved.

Take part in the ICP2014 Month of Action!

Speech and language therapists around the globe will take part in a month of activity in May to promote the International Communication Project (ICP2014). icplogo

ICP2014 is a global project led by organisations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland , the United Kingdom and the United States which aims to:
•             Raise the profile and status of communication disabilities with international health bodies and policy makers.
•             Increase public awareness of communication disabilities and the severe impact they have on people’s lives.
•             Encourage people around the world to join together and make a difference in the lives of people living with a communication disability.

The campaign encourages people to sign a pledge to support The Universal Declaration of Communication Rights which urges worldwide decision-makers to recognise that communication is a basic human right.

Here in the UK, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) will be taking part in some attention-grabbing activities with The Communication Trust to draw attention to the campaign. On 16th May, TCT Director Anne Fox and RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok will set off in an ICP2014-branded black London taxi, visiting as many charities as possible to get them to sign the pledge.

Other activity around the world ranges from school visits in Canada to a Google Hangout in the United States.

For more information on the ICP2014, visit:


Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for 2014 published

The Government has published an updated version of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to take effectfoundationyearslogo from 1st September 2014.  This follows the Government’s response to the consultation on‘The Regulation of Childcare’ which was published on 13th February 2014.
The 2014 version of the EYFS reflects those changes which apply to some of the areas within Section 3 on Safeguarding and Welfare.  There have been no changes to the areas of learning and development themselves (including the early learning goals). 
The 2014 EYFS can be downloaded from the Foundation Years’ website.


National Children’s Bureau survey findings published

NCB logo 150pxThe findings of the National Children’s Bureau survey on children’s centres, ‘Developing the future purpose for children’s centres: Findings from the National Children’s Bureau survey of practitioners and parents’, are now available to view.
The report, based on a survey of over 200 practitioners and parents, set out to discover what they valued most about children’s centres, and to establish where they felt resources should be targeted in the future.

It found that children’s centres are seen as vital to their communities, with over 90% agreeing that their local centre is important to the community, and nearly 90% saying that funding for children’s centres must be prioritised.

Respondents felt that clarifying the core purpose of children’s centres was integral to guaranteeing their future, alongside securing long term funding streams and raising awareness of the positive outcomes they provided.

The survey is part of NCB’s on-going policy work on children’s centres. A series of essays by leading children’s centre experts was published last November in ‘Partnerships for a Better Start: perspectives on the role of children’s centres’. For more information and to download a copy of the report please visit -


National Audit Office survey – parents’ views on school performance

nao logoThe National Audit Office (NAO) is undertaking a study on the Department for Education’s oversight of school performance, and the extent to which the Department and its partners are able to intervene in and support schools in order to manage the impact of underperformance. Parents are invited to share their views on this subject in an online survey.

The survey takes between 15-25 minutes to complete, and will help the NAO to understand how the school oversight and intervention system impacts on parents and pupils, and what the most important aspects of school performance are for parents. The findings of the survey will be summarised in a report to Parliament, and no details of the participants will be included in this report.

The consultation will close on Wednesday 30th April. If you wish to participate, please click here.


13th Annual National Conference for the Heads of Sensory Support Services

The 13th Annual National Conference for the Heads of Sensory Support Services will take place this year on the 3rd July 2014 at the University of Birmingham. This event will provide recent insights into the SEND reforms and the Children and Families Act, and will assist schools and services in implementing the legislation.

This event will be of benefit to senior managers in schools and services specialising in the fields of hearing impairment, visual impairment and multi-sensory impairment, but is also open to other professionals and organisations with interests in these issues. Information on how to book your place will be circulated in due course.

If you are a provider of hearing impairment equipment, you are invited to contribute advertising literature to the delegates’ pack at a cost of £50. Information should be sent to:

Suzan Oktemgil
Events Organiser
The National Deaf Children's Society
Second Floor,
 Vincent House,
Quay Place,
92-93 Edward Street,
B1 2RA

The deadline for supplying information is 18th June.





Learn Live series at Bett 2015 – invitation for proposals

bettlogoProposals for the Learn Live series at Bett 2015 are now being accepted.

Have you implemented a successful new teaching technique, piece of technology or learning initiative into your institution recently? If so, this is your chance to share your insights with your peers at the world’s largest technology in education event. Share your successes with your peers and other educational enthusiasts and discuss the impact on the learning experience.

With an extensive, CPD accredited seminar and summit offering, visitors will access  information and practical guidance across a greater range of themes.

If you would like to share your expertise with the growing Bett community of educators, you are invited to propose a seminar, workshop or any other kind of discussion session you think will add value to the Bett experience.

The 5 bespoke Learn Live theatres cover the entire education spectrum, from Primary to Secondary, Further Education, Higher Education and SEN.

Content can be delivered via:

  • Seminars
  • Nano-presentations
  • Case studies
  • Workshops
  • Discussions

Submissions will be accepted until the end of September. The programmes will be published at the end of October.

For more information about Bett and the Learn Live seminar series, please visit the Bett website:


What Works and the RALLI campaign

In response to the fact that one child in every reception classroom is affected by a specific language rallilogoimpairment, a little-recognised condition that affects all aspects of life, a group of leading academics have come together to launch RALLI, a video led campaign to raise awareness.

Specific language impairment (SLI) hinders understanding and expressive language and can impact on how children learn, form friendships and on educational development. Despite how common the condition is, it receives little recognition, with many children and their families missing out on accessing much needed help and support as a result.

The RALLI campaign has released a video explaining the What Works database and how it’s used. Professor Geoff Lindsay describes 'What Works', which provides information about the evidence for different interventions for speech, language and communication difficulties.

The Communication Trust has worked with the Better Communication Research Programme to develop the What Works database of evidenced interventions to support children's speech, language and communication. What Works is endorsed by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.



Deaf Careers Fair 2014

The first ever deaf careers fair will be held by Deaf Unity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on 7th May at the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority. The fair is the result of extensive efforts to develop good working deafunitylogorelationships between employers within the Deaf and Hearing worlds.

Its innovative approach means that, in addition to the normal range of stalls normally present at mainstream careers fairs, it also includes a series of workshops addressing employment issues. These workshops include topics such as interview skills and developing interpersonal skills and competencies – all specifically tailored to meet the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities. Workshops will inform both the Deaf and Hearing communities on such issues.

Key speakers will include:-

  • Tracey Abbots –Employers Disability Forum
  • Stephen Isherwood – Chief Executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (HEAR Project)
  • Rob Wilks – Deaf Employment and the Law
  • Mark Nelson – Remark Setting up and running my own business.

The price for admission is £20 for professionals and the event is free for students, recent graduates and the unemployed.

For more information please see here, or click here to book your ticket.


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 Matters - Specialised AAC Services SpecificationsCommunication Matters

From April 2014, NHS England will be responsible for funding specialised AAC services in England. These services will provide assessment, training and equipment for children and adults with complex communication needs.

Service specifications will define the remit of the specialised services, as well as the criteria for referral to these services. They also describe the close collaboration between the specialised and local services.

You can download the current draft service specifications which the specialised services are working towards during 2014-5. These service specifications will be ratified by NHS England in October 2014.

Download Draft Specialised AAC Services Specifications (England) - March 2014 here.

I CAN's Dawn House School awarded 'Outstanding' by Ofsted  

I CAN’s Dawn House School in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire has recently received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted I CAN 110pxrating. Dawn House School is a specialist school for children aged 5-19 years with severe and complex speech, language and communication needs and Asperger’s Syndrome run by I CAN, the children’s communication charity.

The inspector found all pupils make outstanding progress and reach their potential academically and personally, and teaching is frequently outstanding. All pupils learn to the best of their ability because of the focus on developing their communication skills enabling pupils to engage successfully in their learning. The inspector reported that the school community is cohesive, warm and treats all pupils equally – ensuring pupils feel safe, secure and happy.

For more information on the school, visit
To read the Ofsted Report, visit

Mencap’s Empower Me service is now available

Mencap’s Empower Me service provides personalised advocacy support for people with a learning disability,mencap logo helping to develop skills, confidence and knowledge needed to voice concerns and secure rights. Empower Me is aimed at adults with learning disabilities who want to make their voices heard, and support is tailored to the needs of the specific individual; this means that help is available in the day, the evening or even weekends.

As the service aims to address the needs of the individual, Mencap offers a range of support services including:

  • One-to-one - supports individuals with issues including health and social care, employment, housing, leisure, relationships and parenting.
  • Group advocacy - a great way for members to develop their communication skills and voice collective concerns they face, from changes to day services to bullying and hate crime.
  • Non-instructed advocacy - offers advocacy support for people who are not able to request the service themselves because they have difficulty communicating or do not have the capacity to give consent.

This service is available throughout England and Wales. For more information, please see here.

National Literacy Trust's Books about Town and BookBenchesNLT Logo 110px

The National Literacy Trust is working with Wild in Art to bring their Books about Town campaign to London as a unique opportunity to explore the capital's literary connections, to enjoy art from some of the country's top artists and to experience the joy of reading for pleasure. From July, visitors will have the chance to discover the BookBenches by following literary trails around London. City of London has confirmed that they will host one of the trails and other benches will likely appear in Greenwich and Bloomsbury.

The benches, shaped as open books, will form part of a public art trail of 50 BookBenches launched for the National Literacy Trust’s ‘Books about Town’ project to celebrate London’s literary legacy and raise vital funds for literacy.

The National Literacy Trust is also launching a London-wide creative literacy project for schools to run alongside Books about Town, funded by the GLA’s London School Excellence Fund. Books about Town for Schools aligns with the new curriculum and combines training for Key Stage 2 and 3 teachers on teaching whole texts with the opportunity for each school to bring reading to life through designing their very own BookBench. Books about Town for Schools will take place during the summer or autumn term 2014 in 100 schools in London on a first come, first served basis.

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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