The Communication Trust Newsletter
October 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 2014 - our biggest ever!

NPDWWednesday 15th October was the 4th annual No Pens Day Wednesday event. We were so impressed by all the fantastic work that went on across the country and the event was our biggest yet with over 3600 mainstream schools, special schools and early years settings signed up to take part!

We’ve heard from schools across the country sharing their experiences and talking about the activities they did, and how the pupils, parents and staff all got involved and we’ve also already had some lovely photos through. We’d love to hear more from schools and settings who took part so if you or know a setting who did - please do get in touch and join the conversation by emailing Jack Williams on

A fantastic example of a case study from this year’s event that we’re delighted to share here is from the brilliant Horndean Technology College in Hampshire. Click here to read more about their brilliant work and find out about the twist they put on their No Pens Day Wednesday!

The Evaluation Survey

We’ve now launched the evaluation for the 2014 event and are keen to hear from as many respondents as possible. Last year the evaluation we undertook was extremely helpful, and your feedback led us to extend the day to early years settings and special schools - so you know it really makes a difference! Completing our short survey is essential to helping us improving No Pens Day Wednesday next year and for being able to assess the impact it’s had.

Please take 10 minutes to complete the short No Pens Day Wednesday evaluation survey here.

*We’ll be doing a prize draw on the first 100 to complete the survey and will select at random 5 schools or settings to receive an age appropriate resource from The Trust’s online shop- so don’t delay to be in with a chance of winning!*

Finding out more...
This year we’re also really keen to talk with schools in more detail to help increase our understanding on the impact of No Pens Day Wednesday.

We’re doing this in 2 ways:

  1. We’d love for you to fill out our short case study form outlining how the day went in your school or setting with your pupils. Please click here to download the form - this is how Horndean Technology College got involved so they're a brilliant example for you if you’re thinking about it!
  2. We’ll also be undertaking phone conversations with interested schools and settings who are happy to tell us more about their day. If you’d be interested in taking part please contact Jack Williams to find out more and arrange a conversation -

Taking it further
If your school got involved in No Pens Day Wednesday and you want to go further in your focus on communication and haven’t already, why not find out more about The Communication Commitment Find out more below!


Communication Commitment - the movie!

commitmentThe Communication Commitment is an interactive website which provides a simple way to ensure all pupils communicate to the best of their ability by developing a whole-school approach to communication. It also supports schools to develop their own personalised approach to communication and helps schools to support all of their pupils, including those with speech, language and communication needs, to communicate better.

We’re very excited to announce a new film, which explains what the Communication Commitment is all about and how it can support schools put communication at the heart of everything they do.

The film features the amazing staff and students of Holy Trinity Primary Academy in Halifax, talking about how they’ve used the Commitment to make communication a priority in their school and the impacts this has had.

Please click here to view.

Next month the Commitment celebrates it's first birthday! We'll be sharing success stories so keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates and let us know how you have used the Commitment.


Implementing the SEND reforms for children and young people with SLCN

As many of you will know, the 2014 SEND reforms came into effect from 1st September 2014.

Here at the Trust we're committed to supporting all those implementing the SEND reforms to meet the needs of children and young people with SLCN and their families. Back in June as we undertook a survey of practitioners to see how ready and supported they felt to deliver the reforms where we received over 200 respondents.

The information shared in that survey was invaluable not only our lobbying and influencing work but also to help shape the resources, support and guidance we’re working on. Now that the reforms are here and implementation is over a month in, we’re really keen to see how things are going, what further support is needed and what the successes and challenges are so far for children and young people with SLCN.

We’d be very grateful if you could complete this short survey and circulate it to all your relevant networks and contacts to complete too. This will help us build a picture of how things are going and we’ll use the information you share to continue to develop our resources and to feedback to key contacts.

The survey will close on November 14th so don’t delay in taking part!

Please click here to access the survey.

Our plan is to repeat this survey in February 2015 and once more in June 2015. As ever, we’ll keep you up to date with our work on this through this newsletter but if you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch -  

As you’ll see in question 10 of the survey, we're also interested to know if there are practitioners who might be interested in taking part in a short telephone survey or focus group to help us further shape our work in this area. If you are interested in this please do get in touch using the enquiries email above or let us know via the survey.

Opportunity to take part in the Progression Tools training video

The Communication Trust is developing a suite of Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools to support schools and settings to find out more detail about the speech, language and communication skills of individual pupils. Each tool aims to provide a quick way of determining where children and young people are against where they should be for their age and provides more information about how these vital skills are progressing. They are suitable for a range of practitioners working with children and young people (teachers, teaching assistants, early years workers etc.) The primary aged Tools are available to purchase now and the secondary aged Tools will be available in January 2015.

To support practitioners in using the tools effectively with different age ranges, we are producing a free training video which will provide guidance on how to use the tools, answers to frequently asked questions as well as examples of best practice. There is an opportunity for school/s to feature in the video, and for both teaching staff and pupils to take part. We would like to cover the full range of tools and will therefore require both primary and secondary settings. It's estimated that the filming will take place in early December 2014 for approximately 1 school day.
There are therefore the following opportunities:

  • Would you or a setting you know like to feature in the Progression Tools training video?
  • Have you used the Progression Tools before? If so, would you like to be filmed in a short interview talking about how they helped you or your setting?
For more information, or if you or a setting you know would like to be involved, please contact Amy Harker / 020 7843 2530 by Friday 7th November. As a thank you to those who take part, there will be a package of recompense.

New website for parents

BCRP Symbol logoSymbol UK, with support from The Communication Trust, has launched a new website for parents to translate the key findings from the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP).

The website aims to be accessible to all parents. It has been designed in bite-sized chunks. Where parents find reading difficult it is hoped that people supporting them, such as Health Visitors and Family Support staff, will help them go through the information. The website also explains key information about the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice that parents need to know.

Please click to here view the website.


Anti-Bullying Week – Free training and resources

Anti Bullying AllianceAnti-Bullying Week 2014 will run from 17-21st November and this year’s theme is ‘Let’s stop bullying for all’. This year the Anti-Bullying Alliance, who are funded by the Department for Education, are offering free training and resources to schools, parents and carers and the wider children's workforce on preventing and responding appropriately to the bullying of children and young people with SEND.

These resources are available through their Anti-Bullying special educational needs and/or disabilities programme. The Anti-Bullying Alliance is leading on delivering this programme with their partners Mencap, Contact a Family, the Council for Disabled Children and Achievement for All.

Please click here to find out how you access this training programme.

Please click here to access the Anti-Bullying Week resources.

To find out more information about Anti-Bullying week, please click here.


Whole Education’s 5th Annual Conference

Whole EducationFollowing on from the huge success of 2013’s event, this year’s 5th Annual Conference from Whole Education will focus on ‘An Education Worth Having’ and takes place at King’s Place, London, on 18th – 19th November 2014.

The conference features keynotes from world-renowned education researcher John Hattie and Ron Berger, Chief Program Office at Expeditionary Learning. Drawn from UK and international practice, the conference will provide attendees with the opportunity to debate ways schools can commit to providing young people with an engaging and fully rounded ‘whole education’, focusing particularly on how to truly narrow the gap for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

School leaders, teachers and education innovators from the UK and abroad will hear from eminent speakers including Professor Sir Tim Brighouse, David Crossley, Kevan Collins, Maggie Farrar, Andrew Morrish, Janet Palmer, Matthew Taylor, Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert.

To find out more information about the conference, or to download the conference brochure, you can also visit the conference website by clicking here.  

Tickets are £295 for one day, or £495 for both days. To discuss securing discounts on group tickets, contact Chloe Grass-Orkin on or 0207 250 8423.



Manchester Language Study

University of ManchesterTwenty years ago, Gina Conti-Ramsden, Professor of Child Language and Learning at the University of Manchester applied to the Nuffield Foundation to study children with specific language impairment (SLI) attending language units across England. This longitudinal project, known as the Manchester Language Study, was successfully funded with an official start date of 1995.

For 20 years they have been able to count on the help, support and dedication of language unit teachers, school teachers, assistants, speech and language therapists and many professionals across the country, and especially the families and the children (now young adults) themselves.

They want to thank you all and invite you to celebrate with them at a special reception in November 2014. If you have been involved in any way with the Manchester Language Study or know someone who has, or are a friend of the study, do please get in touch so that they can send you details of the celebrations.

For more information and details about the celebration, please contact Jackie O’Brien, at





Congratulations Jack Marshall!

We're excited to see that Jack Marshall, who was the first ever winner of the Young Person of the Year Shine A Light Award in 2011, has just won an award from BBC Radio 1.

Every year Radio 1 run the ‘Teen Awards’ and Jack’s won his award for all the fundraising work he’s done.

To find out more about Jack’s award, please click here. You can also click here to watch a short video about Jack.  

To find out more about why Jack won a Shine a Light Award, please click here.


London Bubble Theatre Company - Communication project seeks partners

Speech BubblesSince 2009 London Bubble Theatre Company has been developing the Speech Bubbles project in Southwark primary schools. From the outset they wanted to create a small group theatre making intervention that developed KS1 children’s communication skills and supported their personal and social wellbeing. Some four years later the research into the project concludes that

            ‘...the increased confidence, so evident during and after Speech Bubbles sessions, frequently results in greater motivation, attention, concentration and friendliness. The generation of these psychological dispositions in turn appears closely related to increased capacity to learn, speak out, communicate and listen.’
            Dr Jonathan Barnes, Canterbury Christ Church University, 2014

They are now seeking theatre companies and drama practitioners who want to join their partner network to offer Speech Bubbles to schools in their regions, and to help them reach many more thousands of children with this, joyful and effective programme of work.

To find out more information please click here.


Family Fund - Learning Technology and Disability Conference

The Family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children, and has provided technology to thousands of families raising children with disabilities.

Family Fund, in partnership with Apple and its solutions expert provider MCC Digital are hosting a free one-day conference on Wednesday 19 November at City Hall, Cardiff.

The conference will look at how advances in digital learning technology are enabling disabled children not only to make giant strides with their learning, but also with communicating with their family and improving their social skills.

Workshops and speakers will delve further into themes such as accessibility, safeguarding, literacy and the future for assistive technology, and will be of great use to commissioners, SEN providers and those involved in the care and education of disabled children and young people.

If you would be interested in attending, please click here and use the password MgpmwYJ9.


Oxford University Study - Children with language, reading and communication problems

Oxford UniversityThe Oxford Study of Children’s Communication Impairments (OSCCI) is looking for twins aged 6-11 years with language difficulties to take part in a study. They are also looking for children aged 5-16 years with an extra sex chromosome. Their research is looking at why some children have difficulties with learning to talk, understand or read.

If you would like to take part, they can visit children at home or at school for a one-off 2 hour session. They will ask the children to do various language and communication tasks with them. They would also like to use a Doppler ultrasound to measure blood flow to each half of the brain. This is to see which side is working harder when the child is speaking.

For more information please click here to visit their website. Please contact Sarah Morris if you have any questions or would like to take part - email or call 01865 271334.

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

AfasicAfasic Helpline

The Afasic Helpline is an independent and confidential source of information and support for anyone who has concerns about a child with SLCN. While aimed at parents and carers, we will also answer queries from young people with SLCN, professionals or family friends and relatives.

Their knowledgeable and supportive team of staff and volunteers have all been thoroughly trained and, in most cases, are themselves parents of children with SLCN. They can help with queries or concerns about speech and language development, speech and language therapy, diagnosis and professional reports, legal entitlements and accessing support through the SEND system.

The helpline is open between 10.30 and 2.30, Mondays to Fridays, and the number to ring is 08453 55 55 77.
Out of hours they can be contacted via the e-mail enquiry form on their website

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - Exciting new job opportunity

Communication Matters (CM) is a UK wide charity which supports all those who have an interest in or need of Aumentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Due to the retirement of a long standing member of staff CM are looking to appoint an Administrator to be based at their office in the Leeds Innovation Centre. The successful candidate will be responsible for the day to day organisation of the core business of CM including fielding enquiries, supporting the membership and the Board of Trustees, and organising and providing administrative support for Roadshows, Study Days, and the annual conference. Excellent skills in IT are essential.

It is anticipated this person would work Monday to Friday but with the opportunity of flexible hours. Pay will be in the region of £15,000-£18,000 pro rata. Interviews will take place in November with a starting date in February 2015.

If you would like to learn more about Communication Matters please click here.

Letters of application including a statement as to why you would be interested in the post and your CV with two reference contacts should be emailed to by Friday 31st October 2014.

I CANI CAN’s free information service!

The I CAN Help Enquiry Service is a free and confidential information service run by I CAN speech and language therapists, allowing parents and practitioners with questions about a child’s communication development to book a free phone call or email from a qualified professional.

I CAN’s speech and language therapists can suggest ideas and activities for developing speech, language and communication skills, provide tips and information, signpost to organisations and services, and send out helpful resources.

For more information and to arrange a phone call or email from an I CAN speech and language therapist, please visit the I CAN website by clicking here, or contact 020 7843 2544 /

KIDSKIDS launch free information to support everyone affected by the new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms

KIDS work with disabled children, young people and their families. As part of the ‘Making it Personal: 2’ project, sponsored by the Department for Education, KIDS has worked with a number of partners to develop a new suite of resources to explore how personal budgets and the local offer will benefit families.

KIDS recently launched a new suite of resources to support families and carers of disabled children and young people to help them navigate the reforms to Special Educational Needs and Disability provision.

This comprehensive suite aims to reach a range of audiences to help them understand how they can use the new system to their advantage and provide a holistic service to families and carers. 

Please click here to access the full suite of resources available.

If you want to find out more about the ’Making it Personal: 2’ project, please click here.

MakatonMakaton – Free resources for Halloween and Bonfire Night

Makaton are offering two free printable resources with Makaton symbols and signs for Halloween and Bonfire Night. Download and print to find out how to sign ghost, pumpkin, fireworks and more!

Please click here to access the resources.


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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