The Communication Trust Newsletter
April 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:


Shine a Light Awards 2015 are back and bigger than ever

Shine a Light Awards 2015The Shine a Light Awards, run in partnership with Pearson Assessment, are back for their fourth year. Last year we helped more than 30 organisations and individuals shout about the fantastic work they do to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.

This year there are some exciting new categories including the ‘Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Award’, ‘The Community Friendly Award’ and ‘The Communication Commitment School of the Year Award’.

If you know any schools, teams, young people or individuals that deliver innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development then nominate them today!

To find out more, view last year’s winners or nominate, click here


Reception baseline assessments  – call for case studies

From September 2015 all schools in England will have the option to use a non-statutory reception baseline assessment to support their accountability for children’s progress. Six baseline providers have been selected – click here for more information.

To date, we have spoken with four of the six providers (Speech Link, National Foundation for Educational Research, GL Assessment and the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) and will be working collaboratively to help ensure that the baseline assessment is not a missed opportunity to identify children who might be struggling with their speech, language and communication.

We are currently working with the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) to ensure that their reception baseline assessment is accessible for children with SLCN. As part of their teacher guidance, CEM are looking to include school case studies as to how their baseline assessment has been used to support children with SLCN, with examples of how teachers have supported these children to access the assessment.

Can you help?

If you’re a teacher currently working with four-year-olds, then we need you! We need teachers to carry out CEM’s Baseline assessment with a child who has already been identified with SLCN and then produce a case study of how you supported the child to access and complete the test. We will provide you with an outline and guidance for how to complete your case study.

Express your interest to Shona Crichton on by 13th May.


What Works

What WorksWhat Works is a moderated online library of evidenced interventions that originated from the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP), which was commissioned as part of the Government’s response to the Bercow Review.

Since the launch of their findings in 2012, we have been working to share and cascade this information with the children’s workforce. One of the key reports from BCRP listed speech, language and communication interventions and the evidence base available for each one. With support from the Department for Education and in partnership with the BCRP team, we translated this work into the What Works library.

Practitioners can use What Works to find the most appropriate interventions for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. It offers a free and easily accessible overview of the evidence base for each intervention.

In a recent survey, 91% of What Works users said they thought that it is a useful tool for supporting evidenced-based practice, and 82% said that using What Works has positively impacted on their practice.

Click here to find out more about What Works


'Read On. Get On.' update

Read On. Get On. UpdateThis month has marked an important moment in the Read On. Get On. campaign - particularly in terms of policy calls to support the interim goal of all children achieving good language development at the age of five by 2020.

Here's a quick round-up of some of the great things we've already achieved.

All party commitment to 2025 reading goal – achieved!
The culmination of recent activity has enabled us to achieve our main change aim ahead of the election: all three main parties confirming that they support the Read On. Get On. goal of all children reading well at 11 by 2025, setting us up brilliantly ahead of an election where still no one can call the result.

Graduate in every nursery- key call on next government
Our report, The Power of Reading, and media work to date has pushed our main priority call on government – for every nursery to have a specialist graduate teacher, targeting new government funds to the most deprived areas to ensure private nurseries can fund this essential boost to their staff capability. Our Director, Anne Fox and I CAN’s Mary Hartshorne were involved in the development of the report and it features evidence from our sector, as well as adding to policy calls our sector has been making for a number of years about workforce quality.

Media coverage
We’ve achieved great coverage in the media with key policy calls and research findings being featured on BBC Breakfast, BBC London and Good Morning Britain, and titles including the Independent, the Guardian and the Times Educational Supplement. Anne Fox has also spoken on BBC Radio and was interviewed by Sky News radio.

Public engagement
Our Where are you reading your ten minutes a day? social media campaign is currently thriving – with pick up from celebrities, politicians, footballers, retailers and individual supporters! Thanks to all of you who’ve been working hard to push this throughout our networks. We can help support a language element of this campaign by tweeting about book sharing and how we develop language through reading and language for reading.

We now want to build the support among parents, decision makers, communities and across society. July will see us positioning to government and sending messaging to parents on the importance early years support. We aim to keep increasing public and political understanding of the need for change to achieve our 2025 deadline.

To read more about the Read On.Get On. campaign please click here or use the hastag #readongeton.


Doing justice to speech language and communication needs

Youth Justice ReportOn 1st April, the Children and Families Act 2014’s new legal framework for requirements around supporting children and young people with SEN when they are detained in youth custody, came into effect.

The new requirements aim to provide continuing and appropriate special educational and health provision needed by a child or young person with SEN, both whilst detained and back in the community, whether they have an education, health and care plan or not.

The Communication Trust’s new report, ‘Doing justice to speech language and communication needs’, brings together information and recommendations drawn from a number of round table events hosted with key stakeholders from across the youth justice and SLCN sectors. Whether practitioner, service provider, strategic lead or policy maker, this report helps to highlight different approaches, challenges and opportunities within your service or remit to improve outcomes for children and young people with SLCN in the youth justice system.

Download the report here.

You can view the final Code of Practice here  – chapter 10 includes a specific focus on supporting children and young people with SEN in relevant youth accommodation.


Q&A from National Children's Bureau - what early years providers need to know

NCBNCB have released a new Q&A page detailing what early years providers need to know about supporting young children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act, which came in to force on 1st September, relates to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. This Q&A has been informed by the SEND guide for early years’ settings.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families at the Department for Education, reflected on the considerable progress being made at recent Council for Disabled Children conferences:

"Families are already telling us they are beginning to notice and feel a real, positive difference.  One parent said that having the opportunity to meet with key people together rather than having many different meetings was hugely helpful and that they welcomed the 'immense' support from the parent partnership. 

For professionals, although that cultural change can be scary, they're finding it much more rewarding to work together with a family than continue a battle that nobody wanted to have in the first place."


SEN Breakfast Meeting 2015 - May 22, 2015

AETPearson Assessment are delighted to be hosting a joint breakfast meeting with Malcolm Reeve, Executive Director for SEND & Inclusion at the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) on the topic of SEN Reforms in central London.

Malcolm will be discussing the latest SEN reforms and what these mean in practice for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). Natalie Packer, a member of the AET SEND Team, Associate Consultant for NASEN and an expert for Optimus' SEN Hub, will be focusing on one of the four key areas within the EHCP - Cognition and Learning.

PearsonThis three-hour session will provide SENCOs, specialist teachers, educational psychologists and related professionals with valuable insight from two experienced colleagues on what these reforms mean for today's learners.

To register for this free event or to find out more information please click here.


First school for pupils with speech, language and communication difficulties in Essex

Grove House SchoolGrove House School, the first school for pupils with speech, language and communication difficulties in Essex, has received formal confirmation from Essex County Council that a 30,000 sq ft site in Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood will be the new school’s approved location.

This week marks a double celebration as the free school has also signed its official funding agreement with the Department of Education. 

As the only language-focused school in Essex, Grove House School will provide a unique offering; an adapted and differentiated mainstream curriculum, developed and delivered collaboratively by a team of specialist teaching and therapeutic staff. The school addresses an unmet need, both across Essex and into neighbouring counties, for a specialist provision for students whose primary issue is a speech, language and communication impairment.

The school will offer a supportive environment, and with a student intake of 100, it is able to create a family feel.  The free school will open its doors to students in September.

For further information please click here.


Be part of an innovative project to improve the measurement of outcomes for children with SLCN

The RCSLT has received funding through the Department for Education’s (DfE) National Prospectus Grants Programme 2015-16 to deliver a project to support practitioners and services to measure outcomes for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

They are now looking for six pilot collaboratives (groups of settings or services that work with children and young people who have SLCN) in England to work with them to develop, test and evaluate a web-based tool that will enable:

  • Improved data collection and measurement of outcomes
  • Greater collaboration and collation of data across education, health and care
  • Increased involvement of children and young people and their families in agreeing their outcomes, including those with and without education, health and care (EHC) plans

The project will run from June 2015 to March 2016.

Find out more and apply
If you would like to find out more about what is involved, including the benefits of being one of the pilot collaboratives, please see the attached document Application pack for pilot collaboratives’. 

Please ensure you read all sections of the application pack carefully; Annex A contains essential information about the commitment required and support available.

Further background information is also available in the following documents:

If you have any queries about the project or the application form please email

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Monday 11th May 2015.


Born Talking Seminar - 11th May

ESRCBorn Talking, a series of seminars, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is using birth cohort data to address questions about speech, language and communication.

As part of the series we are delighted to announce that Professor Sheena Reilly (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne) will give an evening seminar entitled “Have birth cohort studies contributed to understanding child speech and language development? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” at the University of East Anglia on Monday 11th May 2015.

This presentation will focus on the contribution made by longitudinal population studies to our understanding of children’s Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). In particular the talk will focus on how clinical and population studies differ and what we have learned from ground-breaking epidemiological studies.

To find out more information about the seminar 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 include:

  • Hear from schools that 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.





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

Ace Centre are recruiting – administrator up to £19.5k

ACE CentreAre you an experienced administrator looking for a new challenge?

ACE Centre, the experts in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT), have a full time, permanent administrator role, which involves dealing with and responding to emails and queries, answering incoming calls, data entry, filing and assisting with the maintenance and development of the Centres Assistive Technology resources.

If you have good organisational, administrative and communication skills, plenty of initiative and a genuine desire to develop skills to assist with the delivery of the Centres services, then apply now!

Find out more here – deadline for applications is Friday 8th May 2015.

Please contact Stephen Caroll on 0161 358 0151 or email for an informal chat about the role.

Communication Matters - Study Days on Symbols and Literacy

Communication MattersFollowing the success of these popular courses, Communication Matters have organised two Study Days in June on Symbols and Literacy, offering an introduction and advanced study on practical, evidenced based approaches and activities to support language and literacy development through aided communication technologies.

Symbolisation Towards Literacy Study Day 15th June
This popular course has been run by Communication Matters in London and Stirling with great reviews and this time takes place in Manchester. Click here to book your place.

Symbols, Language & Literacy Follow Up Day 16th June
Manchester Metropolitan University are offering this course for those who have attended their first study day and wish to advance their practical knowledge. Click here to book your place.

To find out more information about the Study Days please click here.

ElklanElklan – Seeking partners for a new programme

Elklan CIC has been awarded a grant by the Department for Education to develop support for speech, language and communication in partnership with six Local Authorities, or other bodies in a position to coordinate Talking Matters across settings. Talking Matters is an exciting sustainable programme for developing ‘Communication Friendly Settings’ for children under five.

After discussions with a number of authorities that expressed interest during the proposal’s development, Elklan is now able to open up the invitation for partners more widely.

Talking Matters will provide each partner with:

  • Training and development for five * Lead Communication Practitioners (Level 4);
  • Training for 25* Key Communication Practitioners (Level 3)
  • Resources (including funding of the Lead Communication Practitioners’ time) to cascade training (level 2) to five* settings each
  • Funding for Lead Communication Practitioners to embed changes in practice within settings
  • Funding for the cost of accreditation of practitioners’ learning, at Levels 3 and 4
  • Funding for the accreditation of settings as 'communication friendly'.

* There may be flexibility in these numbers subject to discussion.

If you would like further information about the programme or would like to express your interest, please contact Henrietta McLachlan on as soon as possible.

I CAN – Seeking Secondary Schools

I CANDo some of your students have poor communication skills? Is your school interested in extending its relationship with employers and the business world to benefit your students’ communication skills?

I CAN are seeking 18 secondary schools in a spread of geographic and demographic areas across England (in particular in the Midlands, the North West and London) to participate in an exciting pilot.

Read the programme summary for full details of project outcomes as well as the time commitment from schools and selection criteria.

Complete the expression of interest and business relationship form and return by 6th May 2015 to if you are interested.

If you have any questions, please email

Sense – Job opportunities!

SenseThe UK deafblind charity, Sense, has four exciting job opportunities.

2x MSI Consultant (Teacher) – 37.5hrs | permanent| up to £40k
Two vacant positions, ideally to cover the North Locality and a further to cover the South; they will however consider applications from other locations. The role may attract a London allowance, dependent on location. Find out more and apply here.

MSI Consultant (SLT) – 37.5hrs | temporary | up to £40k pro rata
Temporary six-month contract to cover maternity leave. The role may attract a London allowance dependent on location. Find out more and apply here.

Associate Practitioners – various hours | casual | salary tbc
Sense have a range of opportunities across the country for experienced Multi-Sensory Impairment Advisory teachers, HI or VI advisory teachers, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Practitioner Psychologists. All associate roles will be self-employed and fees are dependent upon the nature of the work undertaken. Find out more and apply here.

The deadline to apply for these roles is 6th May 2015.

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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