The Communication Trust Newsletter
February 2015


The Communication Trust is a coalition of 52 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:


Progression Tools ‘how to’ video now available!

Progression ToolsWe are very pleased to announce that our new video, 'How to Use the Progression Tools' is now live on our website here and available on YouTube here.

This video explains how to use the Progression Tools that we have developed to support practitioners to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills.

It shows how to conduct the questions and observations, and also gives guidance on the scoring section.

We hope that the video will be of use to a variety of different practitioners working within different schools and settings. Please feel free to share this amongst your contacts and networks.


Local Champions – we need you!

Local ChampionsThe Trust relies on brilliant, local champions who are able to spread the word on the importance of speech, language and communication where it is needed most. 

Our Local Champions are a group of 180 passionate volunteers including speech and language therapists, teachers, commissioners, local authority leads, lecturers, Early Years workers and representatives from health services. Alongside their everyday work, Local Champions raise awareness, share best practice, influence others and share their views on local policy.

Local Champions receive dedicated information and updates on our website and in bespoke emails, including information on the political landscape and opportunities to influence national policy changes. We also provide opportunities for Champions to network with others championing the cause.

The Trust is now recruiting Local Champions who can link the activities of the Trust to the context of their local area.

For more information please email or call Jack Williams on 0207 843 2550.


Reminder - our resources

Age 3 ToolThe Communication Trust offers a wide range of resources for both practitioners and parents. These include our Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools and hugely popular No Pens Day Wednesday resources.

Each of our resources identifies the most relevant user including health professionals, speech and language therapists, teachers, commissioners, schools, youth justice workers and parents.

We also specify the stage the resources are intended for; from early years children to secondary aged pupils and those aged 3-19.

To view our resources, click here.

Secondary Progression Tools – launching in March

Secondary Progression ToolsWe will soon be launching our new Secondary Progression Tools for secondary school teachers and support staff to support the communication development of students aged 11-18.

The new Progression Tools, designed by expert speech and language therapists in collaboration with mainstream class teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs and school leadership teams, will help support young people aged 11-12, 13-14 and 16-18. 

They will provide a quick way for teaching staff to determine if students are at the level expected for their age around speech, language and communication and can also be used to track their progress over time or following interventions.

Keep an eye on the resource section of our website where the new tools will be added in mid-March.


Every Disabled Child Matters - legal resource for parent carers

Every disabled child mattersEvery Disabled Child Matters has developed a legal resource for parent carers of disabled children with input from Alex Rook, partner at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, and Steve Broach, Barrister at Monckton Chambers. This resource will help you challenge cuts to short break services in your area.
The legal resource is intended to:

  • Explain what short break provision families with disabled children should expect to be available in their area.
  • Explain the legal framework around short break services.
  • Provide template letters to families with disabled children to help challenge decisions by Local Authorities.
  • Signpost families to sources of legal support.

To download the resource, please click here.


SENCO Update: Embedding the (0-25) SEND Code of Practice conference
5th May 2015, London

Optimus educationBrought to you by Optimus Education, and now in its 13th year, this established event will provide you with the practical guidance needed to ensure your school complies with the new Code, can successfully embed a whole school approach and support improved outcomes for all students.

Use promotional code COMMTRUST to save 20% off the standard delegate rate.

Key learning objectives on the day include:

  • Hear from schools which have successfully embedded ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ and see what good practice looks like nationally.
  • Leave with a clear guide on how to manage the transition from statements to EHCPs and what is meant by good outcomes.
  • Clarify what inspectors will now be looking for under the new Code and clarify what Outstanding SEND provision now looks like.
  • Learn how to effectively train all staff and ensure quality-first teaching, which drives the progress of SEND pupils, occurs in every classroom.

For more information and to register click here. Don’t forget to quote COMMTRUST to save 20% off the standard delegate rate.


Top tips on using tablet devices

Insane LogicMuch debate has taken place in recent months about the impact of tablet devices on children. This has included concerns over the potential negative impact when parents give their child a tablet to ‘keep them occupied’, with phrases like ‘iPad childminder’ emerging.

There’s no substitution for human interaction for children but using tablet devices can be a very powerful tool to support children with their speech, language and communication development.

Insane Logic, an award winning Social Enterprise that’s dedicated to helping people learn to communicate, has developed top tips for teachers and early years professionals on using tablet devices.

You can download the tips for early-years practitioners here.

You can download the tips for teachers here.


Word learning in adolescence study

Billie Lowe is a PhD student at City University, London, and she is investigating word-learning in 11 – 16 year old students with language impairment, in mainstream secondary schools. The first stage of the research is to find out more about the current practice of teachers and speech and language therapists in secondary schools with regard to teaching vocabulary. The information is being collected through a short questionnaire which will take no longer than 15 minutes.

If you are able to help with this research, please click here and let your colleagues know about it too.

If you would like to find out more information please contact Billie at


Improving Progress - speaking and listening

Teachers mediaTeachers Media, the online professional development service that developed out of Teachers TV, are this week focusing on speaking and listening. They have selected some engaging videos on the topic, sharing good classroom practice for mainstream primary and secondary teachers. To access these videos, please click here.

The short videos offers teachers a range of interesting ideas and advice on teaching key communication skills, and are a useful sample of their larger free library of CPD resources.  To access the videos and the rest of the library for free you will need to register by clicking here.


The Talking School Conference 2015

The Language for Learning Group are pleased to announce this year’s Talking School Conference will take place on 14th April. The conference aims to provide national and local key messages and inspirational training on successful whole school development of talk and communication. It will be a great opportunity for headteachers, senior managers and subject leaders.

To find out more information about the conference please click here.


Launch of new SENDirect website

SENDirectSENDirect has worked in partnership with other organisations to produce a new website that offers information to support children, young people and their families. The Trust has been involved in advisory groups developing SENDirect.

There is a variety of information ranging from how to get help for a child, your legal rights, benefits and entitlements through to services in your area.

At the same time SENDirect will help providers promote the services they offer. Local Authorities can shape and improve their services using invaluable information about what families in their area want and need.

To visit the SENDirect website, please click here.


Please can you give 20 minutes to inform policy and practice

There has been recent concern about the numbers of children in classrooms who are experiencing speech, language and communication issues. These difficulties include problems with expressive (spoken) or receptive (understanding) language. Both the Bercow Review and the Better Communication Research Programme highlighted the importance of professionals as key drivers in raising attainment. There have been a number of developments to address these concerns.

The Trust is supporting a project led by Prof. Julie Dockrell (IOE) and Prof. Peter Howell (UCL) which has launched an online questionnaire designed to update this earlier work by capturing the current situation for children with speech and language needs by:

a) profiling the views of practitioners who work in schools and other educational settings and
b) considering current levels of support and provision across England.

The aim is to inform policy and practice so that tools can be developed to meet the needs of practitioners. The questionnaire should take approximately 20 minutes and does not require any preparation on your part and will be live until 1 April 2015. To access the questionnaire, please click here.





News from our members

The Communication Trust is a consortium of 52 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 - free parent information events

Afasic are excited to announce that they will be holding free parent information events around England from February to March 2015 so that parents and carers can learn more about speech and language difficulties and how they can support their children.

The events will also enable parents and carers to understand how the SEND reforms will work, and navigate their way around the system. If you would like to book a free place, or are interested in attending an information event coming to your area, please contact Tony Curtis by email or phone him on 01223 244984.

Chatterbox Challenge 2015I CAN Chatterbox Challenge 2015

Thousands of groups across the UK held their Chatterbox Challenge: Garden Adventures with Ben & Holly event last week to help make this year’s Challenge a great success!

Chatterbox Challenge is the annual, educational sing-a-long that sees 0-5 year olds develop their communication skills by learning songs and rhymes around a theme. This year’s theme was all about getting young children chattering about what they see, hear and feel indoors and outdoors.

I CAN would like to thank every single child, parent, carer and early years professional who supported their Challenge. There are some lovely stories and photos from the week available on their blog.

It’s not too late to get involved! If you would like to find out more, please click here.

NAPLIC Conference - SEND reforms and SLCN: Good practice to support children and families

NAPLICThe annual NAPLIC conference is being held at the University of Warwick on Saturday 16th May. Each year, this esteemed event aims to offer delegates a mix of strategy, research and practice in the field of SLCN, and at a very reasonable cost.

This year’s conference titled ‘SEND reforms and SLCN: Good practice to support children and families’ explores different aspects of the reforms including how best to engage pupils and their families or carers, organising and managing provision, as well as meeting needs within the classroom. 

Through keynote presenters including the Trust’s Director, a seminar programme and school based contributions; senior figures from the voluntary sector, academics, teachers and speech and language therapists will share their knowledge and practice to motivate and enthuse delegates.

To view the conference programme and seminar choices, or to find out more about the early bird rate, please click here.

For more information and booking details, 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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