The Communication Trust Newsletter
November 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 Age 3 Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tool

Age 3 Progression ToolThe Progression Tools are a set of Tools which were developed to support schools and early years settings to find out more detail about the speech, language and communication skills of individual children. They aim to provide a 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 Progression Tools are not a diagnostic tool and do not in any way replace the detailed speech, language and communication assessment carried out by a speech and language therapist that some children will need. However, they provide information to help practitioners decide whether children would benefit from a targeted intervention, or whether they need specialist assessment and support.

One of the prime areas in the English Early Years Foundation Stage is communication and language. This new Tool provides an opportunity to identify whether children are developing in line with their age in this area. The age 3 Tool has been tested out in a number of early years settings, on a range of children and is now ready to purchase. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and tested this Tool, your feedback has been invaluable in shaping the final resource.

Please click here to order your copy. If you have any questions about this resource, or any of the other Progression Tools, please email Amy Harker


Updates to the What Works website

The What Works website has a brand new look! In response to feedback from What Works users (of whom there are now more than 8,000!), we've made a number of changes to the website in order to make it easier to use and provide more information for users.

We've created a new navigation system that we hope will make it much easier to find information; we’ve updated much of the introductory content of the site, that is, the pages explaining what the site aims to do, key principles to consider, etc; and we’ve also added some new sections, including one on the SEND Code of Practice (with a factsheet on how What Works can be useful in implementing the reforms).

What WorksAdditionally, we’ve added a question mark after the name of the site, so that it’s now called What Works? This was a suggestion from users, to make it clearer that interventions are added to What Works because of the strength of their evidence base, not because they have necessarily demonstrated good outcomes; you can read more about this issue here.

We also have lots of other exciting plans for updates to What Works; do register for the site so you can receive our quarterly newsletter keeping you up to date with the improvements. And feel free to get in touch with any questions, or just to let us know what you think! We always welcome your feedback on any aspects of the site here.

To access What Works, please click here.


No Pens Wednesday 2014 – What you’ve been up to!

NPDWAfter the overwhelming success of No Pens Day Wednesday 2014, we have received lots of information about the innovative activities that schools organised for the day!

At Ashton Under Hill School in Worcestershire, pupils were given pictures from the story of The Gingerbread Man to retell the tale orally. They also had the opportunity to make their own salt dough gingerbread men. Students at St Marylebone Bridge School in London took a slightly different route - they were asked to research modern day equivalents of useful historical items such as old maps, candles, film based cameras and even carrier pigeons!

It's also great to see other school's putting their own spin on the project, such as Horndean Technology College, who felt that a single day devoted to speech, language and communication was not enough - they needed a whole No Pens Week!

We're also very grateful to those of you that have given us feedback by phone, email and through our online survey. We’ve extended the deadline and it’s now open until 1st December, so please do share your thoughts with us if you took part:
We're offering two £50 vouchers to spend on assessment materials from Pearson’s online shop for two lucky schools or settings who complete the survey!

We're always looking for new ways to improve No Pens Day, so if you do have any feedback/suggestions, be sure to let us know by contacting


The Communication Commitment's first birthday

commitmentOn 5th November we celebrated the Communication Commitment’s first birthday! Throughout the day we marked the occassion by sharing ideas and case studies from schools that have made the Commitment, showcasing the great work that these schools have done and some of the creative ways that they’ve been supporting their pupils’ communication skills. And on Twitter people shared photos and thoughts about what communication means to them and why it’s so important.

You can read some of the case studies from schools here, and also some thoughts from practitioners about the Commitment here.

Many thanks to everyone who took part and shared their ideas and thoughts about the importance of communication!


Nasen Annual Leadership Conference 2015 -  Effective Leadership: Meeting the SEND Challenge for Change

nasenThe introduction of the SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 to schools and other education settings from September 2014, brings with it a number of strategic challenges for education leaders. The Nasen Annual Leadership Conference, Effective Leadership: Meeting the SEND Challenge for Change, seeks to address the key issues for leaders in schools and other education settings, outlining the implications of reform.

The aim of the conference is to raise the awareness and confidence of education leaders to meet the requirements for SEND and the national expectations which the reform programme brings. The conference programme has been designed to allow delegates to make the most of the day and take practical information and tools back to their settings.

To download the conference flyer to book your place at this important leadership event, please click here.


Every Disabled Child Matters - Local Campaigning Guides

EDCMEvery Disabled Child Matters, the national campaign fighting for the rights and justice of disabled children, has launched a range of online guides to help supporters plan and deliver effective local campaigns on the issues most important to them.

These interactive resources provide step by step guides, video case studies and helpful top tips to make your campaign as effective as possible. The guides cover the entire campaign journey, campaign skills and tactics such as gathering evidence, using local media, and meeting with decision makers.

To access the guides please click here.


NASS: Making Sense of Mental Health - helping to bring mental health issues into the open

nassMaking Sense of Mental Health (MSOMH) is a user-friendly and great value interactive e-learning programme. It was developed by the National Association of Independent Schools & Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS) and The University of Northampton, following in-depth research which highlighted the need for exactly this type of training.

The MSOMH comprehensive online training courses and materials will help school staff to understand the possible mental health issues in children and young people with complex needs, and respond to these mental health needs within the school environment if appropriate. They will identify and record any mental health concerns they may have, as well as allowing staff to share their concerns in the workplace and signpost them to external services where necessary.

The MSOMH online training courses and materials include interactive resources, including videos, podcasts and challenging activities, as well as download resources which you can use in your setting. They are full of contributions from highly recognised professionals and an excellent training resource for INSET day training.

To find out more, please click here.





Trajectories and transitions of disabled children and young people seminar

London - Friday 28 November 2014, 4pm-6.30pm

This seminar will present the final findings from an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project exploring the experience and outcomes of disabled children and young people in England, using two national representative longitudinal data sets: the Millennium Cohort Study and the Longitudinal Study of Young people in England. The research has been carried out in collaboration with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and the Council for Disabled Children (CDC), and was supported by the ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, Phase 1.

This event may be of interest to all those with an interest in disabled children and young people and in factors influencing children’s well-being and educational progression and development.

The seminar will be chaired by Tania Burchardt (CASE), and research findings will be presented by:

  • Stella Chatzitheochari, University of Warwick
  • Samantha Parsons, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Lucinda Platt, LSE (Department of Social Policy and CASE)

To find out more information about the project, please click here.

Reservations are required for this event, to book your place please email or click here.


Leading dyslexia charity helps teachers, parents and pupils to ‘Drive for Literacy’

Drive for LiteracyTo mark Dyslexia Awareness Week, the Driver Youth Trust launched a new website for the Drive for Literacy programme alongside a new campaign to engage teachers and parents called #YouKnowADyslexic launched by Eddie Izzard, who is himself dyslexic.

The new Drive for Literacy website provides a free, practical resource for teachers, parents and pupils who want to understand more about dyslexia and how to identify and teach dyslexic children. The free resources, which are aimed at everyday situations and accessible to all in a language that is easy to understand, are based on a series of key questions asked by parents and educators, including:

  • What are the signs of dyslexia?
  • What do I do if I suspect my child might be dyslexic?
  • How can teachers better support dyslexic children?
  • How does it feel to be dyslexic?

Dyslexia affects one in ten people in the UK and is often described as a ‘hidden disability’ despite it affecting people throughout their lives. The #YouKnowADyslexic campaign aims to makes the one in three children in every classroom more visible.

The Driver Youth Trust is a member of the national Dyslexia SpLD Trust, and the new Drive for Literacy website will feature resources from the Trust and other associated partners.

To access the Drive for Literacy website, please click here.  


University of Birmingham study

University of BirminghamThe University of Birmingham are looking for children, parents and adults who have Usher, CHARGE, Alström, Bardet-Biedl, Wolfram, or Stickler syndrome to take part in a study. The project, which is funded by Sense, is going to focus on the experiences of specialist clinics for deafblind people with rare syndromes.

In particular they are looking to speak to people who have these syndromes and can attend specialist clinics at one of the following hospitals:

  • CHARGE syndrome – Great Ormond Street and Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Bardet-Biedl syndrome – Great Ormond Street and Guy’s Hospital London, QE Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Alström syndrome - Birmingham Children’s Hospital, QE Hospital Birmingham
  • Wolfram syndrome - Birmingham Children’s Hospital, QE Hospital Birmingham
  • Stickler syndrome – Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge
  • Usher syndrome – Moorfields Eye Hospital London

Individuals that take part in the project will receive a £20 voucher. If you would like some more information please contact Liz Ellis at or 0121 414 4392.


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

Artburst -
Workshops for Key Stage 1 Children

“The night Max wore his wolfsuit….”

The Artburst Wild Rumpus is a creative, educational, action packed 2-hour workshop ideal for children with SLCN or EAL. Participants experience the well-loved picture book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, through the mediums of drama, movement and art. Children will design and create a mask and a scenery backdrop. At the end of the 2-hour workshop they will put on a performance for other members of the school. The workshop develops speech, language and communication skills, confidence and empowerment, as well as cross curricular learning with Environment, Art, Literacy, Geography, English and ignites a passion for reading.

To watch a short film, please click here.

The cost for 30 children is £400 or £600 for 2 sessions in one day (60 children). There are discounts available on bookings before the end of March 2015. To find out more information, please click here or contact them at or 020 8510 0220.

Auditory Verbal UKAuditory Verbal UK - CEO wins the 2014 Macquarie David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship

On Wednesday 19th November, the Macquarie Group announced that Auditory Verbal UK's CEO Anita Grover has won the 2014 Macquarie David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship. She becomes the first UK recipient of the Award, which provides a grant to research social innovation abroad.

Thanks to the Fellowship, Anita will be able to visit Australia and New Zealand in August 2015 to learn from organisations such as Hear and Say and the Shepherd Centre, who have led the way in providing innovative auditory verbal therapy programmes, training and operations for more than 20 years. The learnings from this visit and future collaboration with their sister organisations, will help them to reach and support many more families of deaf children in the UK.

Congratulations Anita and Auditory Verbal UK!

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - Roadshow, 2nd December, London

The Roadshows are valuable opportunities to learn about the latest communication aids, software, symbol systems and related products from the UK's leading AAC suppliers.

There will be time for questions and hands-on trial of systems, and lots of valuable handouts and literature to pick up.

The Roadshows are free to attend, but booking is essential.

Please ring 0845 456 8211 in you require any further information.

I CANI CAN – Chatterbox Challenge 2015

Join the fun! 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.

To request your free activity pack, 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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