The Communication Trust Newsletter
September 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 – all the materials are now ready!

NPDWAfter a busy summer of the team and our brilliant consultants writing new lesson plans, activity ideas, assemblies, carpet sessions and more, all the resources for No Pens Day Wednesday are now ready to download! You’ll find...

  • An Activity pack to explain how to run the day
  • Lesson plans for every year from early years 0-2 groups through to Year 11
  • Activity ideas that you can adapt and use to build in dynamic speaking and listening components to any lesson
  • Resources to help engage parents in the day and to encourage ways to develop their child’s communication skills whilst they’re at home
  • Assemblies that can be used as they are or adapted for your school
  • Information and guidance for staff including Staff meeting content to show the team what it’s all about
  • Resources developed by organisations we work with including brand new resources from The Makaton Charity and I CAN
  • And much, much more!

If you haven’t registered already please click here to do so. Or if you’ve already registered but haven’t accessed the resources yet, please check your inbox for previous e-mails from us, or e-mail to get the direct link to the materials.

Calling all teachers!This year’s No Pens Day Wednesday also provides resources for early years settings and specialist provisions as well as mainstream schools. It is also forming part of our ongoing support to schools in their work to deliver the SEND Reforms that came into force this month. The new SEND Code of Practice emphasises the importance that all teachers have in their role in identifying and supporting those who have SEND. The event gives you tools to deliver high quality speaking and listening activities vital for all pupils and especially those who struggle whatever your setting.

So if you haven’t already registered, why not get involved!


The Communication Commitment is nearly 1 year old!

commitmentIt’s nearly been a year since we launched the Communication Commitment and it’s already proved to be an extremely useful tool to many schools, helping them develop a focus on communication throughout school. Since 2013 the Commitment has seen over 14,000 visitors and over 1,200 schools have registered to access all the information and guidance. Some of the ways which they’ve been making communication a school-wide priority include:

  • giving all staff Performance Management Targets linked to the Commitment
  • school inset days focused around speech language and communication
  • sessions for new intake of parents on the importance of good speech and language development and how this can be supported and encouraged at home as well as in school
  • half-termly staff meeting on how staff can develop their communication skills
  • planning scrutiny by Senior Leadership Team to ensure that speaking and listening activities were being used in all classes
  • developing a staff ‘communication team’
  • creating a new teaching observation sheet which specifically identifies communication strategies that should be present in each lesson

And to celebrate the Commitment’s first birthday on 5th November we’ll be sending a Commitment Certificate to all schools who have completed their Action Plan so far. We also want to shout about all the fantastic work that schools have done, using the Commitment as a tool to initiate real change, so please let us know what you have done and we’ll work with you to spread the word! For more details on this all schools who have registered to the Commitment will receive an e-mail shortly.

If you haven’t had a look at the Commitment site yet, please go to and register to access all the fantastic resources.

Secondary Progression Tools: Opportunity to be involved in the testing phase

The Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools aim to support non-specialist teaching staff to find out more detail about the speech, language and communication skills of individual students. They aim to provide a quick way of determining where children and young people 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, but will provide information to help teaching staff decide whether children would benefit from a targeted intervention or whether they need specialist assessment and support.

Based on extensive feedback to date, we have updated the age 4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 Tools, which are ready to purchase online. Currently we’re drafting Tools for those working with ages 11-12, 13-14 and 16-18.

Opportunity: We are currently developing the content for theses Secondary Progression Tools and over October are looking for a number of people who work in secondary schools to review the content and test them with a number of students to ensure they are fit for purpose. For more information and to register your interest, please email Amy Harker Please let us know which age range is most relevant for you.

As a thank you for your input, you will receive 1 free copy of the Tool you feedback on, once they have been produced.


Read on. Get on. campaign

Read On. Get On.Save the Children is one of the partners launching Read On. Get On. - a reading campaign driven by a coalition of organisations, communities, parents and schools, business people, media and politicians. We are excited to endorse the Read On. Get On. campaign along with I CAN and the National Literacy Trust, Consortium members who are part of the coalition.

Reading is the key to a child’s future: it unlocks their potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities.

And for the poorest children reading well is their best route out of poverty: they do better at school, better in the workplace and are better placed to give their own children the best start in life.

However, every year in the UK, 130,000 children, leave primary school not reading as well as they should. This figure includes 40% of all children from poorer backgrounds – a shockingly high proportion.

Alongside their coalition members, Save the Children are launching a national mission to ensure every child born this year is reading well by the time they are 11 in 2025. They are hoping to achieve this mission by building a powerful national coalition to push the vital importance and the enjoyment of reading. Whether it’s via celebrities or media partnerships or in events in towns across the UK, they aim to spread the joy of reading across the country. They will also be supporting parents to make time to read. Just ten minutes a day reading with young children can make a vital difference. Reading and even just talking more to very young children at home makes a difference.

To find out more about the Read on. Get on. campaign please click here.

To watch the campaign video please click here.


How to involve young people in SEND reforms

Making Ourselves HeardJoin Making Ourselves Heard for their expert seminar to find out how to involve young people in decisions about their support.

Making Ourselves Heard is a national project that promotes the active participation of disabled children and young people in all decisions and issues that affect their individual lives; the development of their local community; the strategic planning of services; the development of national policy; and the work of the Council for Disabled Children.
When: Thursday 27th November 10am - 4pm
Where: National Children's Bureau

Take advantage of their Early Bird rate of £100 if you book and pay before 30th September. 

This seminar offers interactive workshops to hear directly from practitioners about how they involve young people, as well as hearing directly from young people about the impact of their participation. An agenda of the day is attached.

To book and pay please click here.

For any questions, please contact Georgie Lund on


A stitch in time – the case for early support

Some of the UK’s biggest charities, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, NSPCC, and Save the Children have joined forces to launch a call for the next government to invest in early support for children, young people and their families to stop them reaching crisis point.

They are calling for: five year funding commitments to allow the government, local councils and other service providers to make longer-term plans and provide greater stability for children receiving services; the government to promote more use of community budgets that allow service providers to pool their funds to reduce waste and improve working together; annual progress reports on early support spending; a shift to target money towards prevention rather than cure.

To find out more please click here.





Getting ready for the Early Years Pupil Premium - National Conference, Central London – Thursday 23 October 2014

4ChildrenIt is time to close the gap. Recent studies show that there is a 19 month gap in school readiness between the most and least advantaged children. The Early Years Pupil Premium has the potential to greatly reduce this inequality.

The conference will give detailed information on how the Early Years Pupil Premium will work and give the attendees opportunities to reflect on how the additional money can be used to narrow the gap. The day will offer a valuable opportunity to explore evidence and strategies to support children to flourish. 

The conference will address and debate:

  • The why and how of the Early Years Pupil Premium – in detail policy
  • The importance of the Early Years Pupil Premium and the opportunity to increase outcomes for children
  • High quality intervention to improve children's outcomes

This conference will help early year’s providers and Local Authorities to gain detailed information on this important new fund. The conference will bring together key leading experts in the world of early years, along with key senior Government figures offering an excellent opportunity to network, share learning, explore strategies and solutions.

If you are interested in booking onto this conference then either click here or call 020 7522 6970 to speak to the 4Children Events team.


Improving teaching for literacy: Free online support for schools

Dyslexia SpLD TrustThe Literacy and Dyslexia-SpLD Professional Development Framework has a range of new resources to help meet the challenges of improving literacy in your school. This is a key Ofsted focus right now. The resources will help teachers develop their skills and knowledge, for free. Access the latest information to help teachers understand learner’s difficulties in more detail, so that they can meet the needs of a variety of children in their classrooms, from those with a formal diagnosis to those who just can't quite get their ideas down on the page.

They have some great ideas for INSET on the new literacy focus. If you’re interested in checking out the new screencasts on how to use the self-assessments for you and your team, please click here.
They also have some new resources which include:

  • A section on courses that are available in the upcoming school year which you can find here.
  • Links to recent updated guidance on the new SEN pathway which you can find here.

If you are interested in becoming a certified training partner for the Professional Development Framework and have completed the cascade training, The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust can provide you with a certificate. To find out more please click here.


A New Contract Opportunity - Quality Assurance of AET Training

AETThe Autism Education Trust (AET) has been awarded a contract by the Department for Education (DfE) for the development and delivery of an integrated programme of training and materials over the period 2013/15.

The new programme builds on the success of the AET’s 2011/13 DfE funded programme. It replicates the structure of the previous programme and applies it to 4 English regions not covered in 2011/13. It was developed for Early Years and Post-16 settings as well as developing new resources for parents and Local Authorities.

The Autism Education Trust are seeking applicants for a new contract which will be central parts of their new DfE funded 2013/15 programme. The contract will involve reporting on a sample of AET training sessions by AET training hubs and their subcontracted delivery partners and provide a quality assurance report.

Briefs and application proformas for the tender are available here . Closing date for the tender is Friday 26th September 2014. Those shortlisted will be interviewed on Wednesday 15th October.

For an overview of the AET please click here.

For individual queries please email Joanne Driver at


Importance of early years support essential, says new report

A recent report by The Centre of Social Justice, Closing the divide, has followed on from their earlier diagnostic report, Requires Improvement, and calls on the Government to do much more to close the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children.

The report emphasises that if we want to ensure that children ‘get the basics’ we need to be clearer on what the basics are. The importance of this information being passed onto parents in a way that is easily understood was also highlighted. As part of this, it was highlighted there must be greater awareness of the importance of communication skills upon which future literacy and learning depend. It was recognised that in areas of poverty over 50 per cent of children are thought to be starting school with delayed communication skills. The reforms can therefore help ensure these children do not fall further behind.

An emphasis was also placed on staff qualification levels as it was identified that that all teachers working in early years to be adequately qualified so they can support students in their language and vocabulary development. The report highlighted that better qualified staff offer higher quality support for children age 30 months to five years in developing communication, language, literacy, reasoning, thinking and mathematical skills. To raise our expectations, the report called for all early years’ staff to hold at least Level 3 Early Years Educator qualifications as well as a minimum grade C in English and maths GCSE or equivalent. This will ensure staff can support the development of children’s key skills, particularly around vocabulary development.

To read the full report, click here.


Community Education Awards – Back for the 2014/15 Academic Year!

Community Education AwardsA national awards programme which recognises pupils and projects which have a positive influence on their community is back for the upcoming 2014/15 academic year.

The Community Education Awards, organised by the Police Community Clubs of Great Britain, will once again welcome entries across 16 categories from this September as they aim to reward schools for their exceptional work in promoting positive citizenship and responsible decision-making. Esther Rantzen CBE continues as brand ambassador for the Awards, which started in 2011.

A presentation ceremony will be held at each winning school with community figures and the local press invited to attend.

Entries will be accepted for the 2014/2015 Community Education Awards in September.

To find out more information or to enter 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 and young people.

If your organisation would like to become a member of The Communication Trust’s Consortium please go to or for more information e-mail

Contact a FamilyContact a Family
- Latest guides

Contact a Family have a free guide to social care services for children in England. The ‘Getting social care services when your child has additional needs’ document provides information to help you get practical help for you and your child, including how to ask for an assessment so you can access this help, what services can be provided and how to get payments to buy the support you need. Handy tips for meetings with social services and what to do if you're unhappy with a service are also included.

You can access the free guide to social care services by clicking here.
If you are interested to find out more information about the ‘Getting social care services when your child has additional needs’ document, please click here.

I CANI CAN - Chatterbox Challenge 2015

Garden Adventures with Ben & Holly sees 0-5 year olds develop their communication skills by learning songs and chattering about what they see, hear and feel indoors and outdoors. With listening and attention being the foundation skills for good communication, young children’s learning will benefit from this fun FREE Activity Pack.

Request yours at

SENSESense - Supporting deaf blind children and young people in the new SEND system

The UK deafblind charity, Sense, has launched a free set of guides to the new system of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aimed at families, professionals and commissioners.  The guides have been designed to help everyone who supports deafblind/MSI children and young people to get the most out of the new SEND system.  Three guides are available:

  • A new guide for families ‘Making it work for you’ explains the main changes taking place and provides a step-by-step guide to the new processes.  It also highlights aspects of the changes which are particularly relevant to deafblind children and young people;
  • A ‘route map to meeting the needs of deafblind children and young people’ best practice guide for professionals working in education, health and social care settings;
  • A guide for local authority commissioners on planning services for children and young people with sensory impairments (produced in partnership with RNIB, NDCS and Blind Children UK).

All three guides are available online, along with some short videos about the changes.  Please share the guides with any families, professionals or commissioners who may find them useful.

For professionals who need a more in-depth understanding of the impact of the SEND changes on deafblind/MSI children and young people, Sense is also offering a one day training course for professionals.
For more information see the attached flyer.
To access the guides and short videos, please click here.

SMIRASMIRA – New book from Benita Rae Smith and Alice Sluckin

Bringing together the latest research and understanding on selective mutism, this edited book gives essential information on the various treatment and therapy options. Experts in the fields of speech and language therapy, psychology, music therapy education and communication offer a wide range of professional perspectives on the condition, while case studies from people with selective mutism, past sufferers and parents reveal the personal impact. The book also clarifies what support a person with selective mutism is likely to need at home, school and in social situations.

This definitive volume on selective mutism will be key reading for professionals such as speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, child psychiatrists, child and adolescent mental health workers, teachers, SENCOs and anyone working with selective mutism in therapeutic and educational settings, as well as family members wanting a closer understanding of what selective mutism is and how they can help.

To find out 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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