The Communication Trust Newsletter
March 2011


Hello, the 2011 national year of communication, is a campaign to increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills.

The campaign is run by The Communication Trust, a coalition of 40 leading voluntary sector organisations, in partnership with Jean Gross, the Government’s Communication Champion. The campaign is sponsored by BT and Pearson Assessment and is backed by the Department for Education and Department of Health.

This newsletter provides updates on current developments in the world of speech, language and communication and on Hello.


March - Talk to Your Baby

This month’s Hello theme continues to focus on the early years. To mark this, the National Literacy Trust, have launched their ‘Talk to Your Baby’ campaign to educate parents about the positive role they play in helping their baby develop vital communication skills in the first three years of their lives.

Did you know that by the age of three, 80% of a child's brain will be formed? New research shows that a fifth of parents-to-be (19%) believe it is only beneficial to communicate with their baby from the age of three months.Talk to Your Baby

Talk To Your Baby have produced a guidance paper for developing a strategic approach to speech, language and communication in the early years which has been up-dated to include all the latest evidence and practice. This is available for download from

For parents...

The campaign has launched a brand new website for parents and carers of babies and young children, which will include:

  • Information about hosting a ‘Talk to Your Baby’ party.
  • Free information about key developmental milestones of babies.
  • Free activities to stimulate talk with young children including Maisy colouring sheets, Barefoot Books video content, podcasts and song and nursery rhyme lyrics.
  • The chance to win 150 books and 300 book and CD packages.
  • Hints for incorporating beneficial ‘talking sessions’ throughout a busy day.
Visit to find out more. 




Update on recent developments

Publications and resources

We are busy developing a number of publications that will be available to order in the coming months...

- Within the next 3 weeks every primary school and secondary school in England will be receiving a poster which displays children's and young people's communication milestones.

- With Pearson Assessment we are developing 3 Ages and Stages booklets, title Universally Speaking, divided into ages groups: Early Years (0-5), Primary (5-11) and Secondary (11-16). The first of these, the Early Years version, will be available very shortly.

- With BT we are developing a booklet for parents of children aged 0-5 to show where children are likley to be at a certain age with their communication.

All of these resources are based on our partners expertise and guidance and examples that we have seen in pracitce.

Watch this space for resource updates and keep checking the website

Regional Local Advisors

Local Hello Advisors have been appointed to support and encourage local Hello involvement across the country. Made available through the Vodaphone World of Difference campaign they are here to support you and your local co-ordinator for the campaign at an individual, setting or strategic level; to offer information and resources and to give you ideas on how you can get involved with the year.

This support may be for a school / nursery / setting / group of practitioners or multi-agency group. They may help you set up a ‘talking picnic’, a school assembly or help you develop a speech, language and communication policy. Our advisors are with us for two months only so please get in touch ASAP at

Hello website

The full Hello website is now up and running. Please visit the site,, to find out more about the campaign, ideas for how you can get involved and events that are happening in your area.

You can also upload your own events, share best practice ideas and become a partner of the campaign




April - It's not just about talking

Next month, the Hello campaign will be focusing on the building blocks of communication. Children learn to talk by listening, taking turns, and through play and interaction with others.

To highlight the importance of these skills, Hello is Talking about the worldraising awareness of the ‘communication development pyramid’. Hints, tips and a brand new resource to help foster skills through play and interaction will be available to order from shortly. 

Activity idea - Games that encourage listening and understanding can be great fun. Try out a hide and seek game, which can be played indoors or outside. Hide some soft toys, dolls or trucks from around the setting. Children must cover their eyes or be distracted while you hide them. Then, the children take turns to listen to clues about where you have hidden the objects. As they get the idea of the game, children can play the role of the “leader” and hide the toys for others to find.

Let us know your plans for April at



Charity of the Month - Signalong

The Signalong Group has published the largest range of illustrated signs in Britain.   While the signs are taken from British Sign Language, Signalong is a sign-supported system intended to help children and young people with communication needs which are not primarily due to hearing impairment.  

Signalong provides visual communication resources – signing manuals, activity packs based on pictures and signs, song books, cd and dvd based materials.  Training is delivered both directly by the charity and through its national network of registered trainers, individual vocabularies can be provided and a free sign research and advice service is offered to users.


Signalong is made accessible to parents and practitioners through its consistent method of analysing signs; they are described in the manuals according to handshape, orientation, placement and movement and clear line drawings support the descriptions.   The vocabulary covers needs ranging from pre-school and pre-language right up to preparation for employment and independent living.

Free sheets of signs related to the National Year's monthly themes can be downloaded and updates are posted both on and on Twitter and Facebook.   Please call 0845 450 8422 (local rate) for more information and for details of trainers in your area.


Speech, Language and Communication Training Network

To support the National Year of Communication, The Communication Trust in partnership with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) has developed a communication training network to develop speech, language and communication in secondary schools.

The network will support your school in developing a focus on speech, language and communication, through training events, bespoke consultancy and free resources. It will provide practical help from specialist consultants.

Vicki McKerron from Trinity High School and sixth form in Redditch, participated in last year’s programme. She states;
“Participating in the speech, language and communication training network has provided the opportunity for all staff to focus in on the importance of the students fully understanding the vocabulary of exams, so that they can achieve their full potential. In August 2010, Trinity High School achieved the highest results that it has ever achieved, with 87% of students achieving 5 A*-C grades.”

***10% last minute discount!***
Join the Communication Training Network
.... and now for just £720, your school can receive up to 3 days training arranged at your convenience, including a launch conference in the summer term 2011 and a continued professional development workshop at the end of the network.

Only a few places remain due to high subsidy, so please register your interest via call 0207 802 0785.


Chatterbox Challenge World Record Attempt Results

Thousands of children (and adults) took part in I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge, a milestone event supporting the National Year of Communication, by joining in with the Guinness World RecordTM attempt on Tuesday 1 March.  Everyone had a fantastic time performing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes with many groups performing versions not only quickly, slowly, quietly and LOUDLY but also in French, Spanish and Welsh!

Chatterbox ChallengeA huge thank you from I CAN to all the groups that raised money. Thanks to the generous support of Openreach, all the money raised goes directly to help children who struggle to communicate. Don’t forget everyone who sends in their fundraising by 31 March, will be entered to win the Star Prize, an amazing bundle of LeapFrog toys worth over £200!

It’s not too late; register now to hold your Chatterbox Challenge at a time and date that suits you.



Hello website


Hello facebook

Talking Point

Information for parents...Talking Point

Choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult business. If your child has speech, language and communication needs,
then you really want to be sure that the school can meet their needs.

Talking Point gives you a checklist and a set of questions you might want to ask when you visit a school. There is also a case study which shows you what good provision looks like. Please note that the features described here are for the perfect school for a child with speech, language and communication needs. When visiting a school there may be features that you don’t see as you look around, what is important, however, is the way that the school responds when they are asked questions about supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

Please send any comments to

Hello Regional Briefing Events

The regional briefing events have now finished. In 2 months we organised a roadshow of 5 regional events to brief local ‘movers and shakers’ on how they can help execute Hello across the country.

Hello isn’t a top down initiative, we want to enthuse, support, guide and help local leads to spread the word and make change happen in their local settings. This way we can reach the most amount of children, parents, carers and young people.

Over the course of 3 weeks we managed to;  
- Reach 592 practitioners across the country in 21 days
- Distribute over 6,100 Hello materials and many more from our consortium and sponsors
- Hear from 9 Local Authorities about their initiatives
- Confirm 102 communication leads
- Met with 127 representatives from a possible 152 top tier local authorities, along with many schools, colleges, universities and other individual settings

So thank you to everyone who attended, showed their support and helped out at these events. If you would like to nominate yourself as your local Hello co-ordinator please contact Eve Wagg at

We have uploaded all the resources, presentations and information that were available on the day so those who were not able to attend don’t miss out. Please visit

Alternatively if you are looking for support, information and guidance on how to make Hello happen in your local area please email  To look for the local Hello coordinator in your region please visit

NAPLIC and TCT Conference - Last chance to book!

This conference, titled Championing Better Communication: Theory, Practice and Innovation, will be held at the University of Warwick on 2nd-3rd April, 2011.

Final places are still available, please go to to book your place.


Working Together Better - Teachers and Speech and Language Therapists

Please click here for a report following a seminar hosted last year by The General Teaching Council, The Communication Trust and supported by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

The seminar Working Together Better brought together teachers and speech and language therapists and identified what supports and inhibits effective collaboration. The report pulls together discussions and presentations from the day and highlights aspirations for ‘next practice’ in working effectively with children and young people to develop speech, language and communication.

Big Voice

Big Voice is a national competition for students, sponsored by BT as part of the education programme supporting the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. It comes with a complete set of video-based resources that teach a valuable set of skills including group discussion, problem solving and using film to influence people.  Big Voice

To enter, teams of young people between 11 and 19 need to submit a proposal for a film that covers an issue in their community that they want to change. We're particularly interested in films exploring issues relating to diversity and inclusion. The deadline is May 27, 2011. 

After that, the Big Voice judging panel will choose 36 winning film proposals, 3 from each of 12 regions around the UK (9 regions in England, plus Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). In the second phase, the 36 winning proposals get made into real films, with help from crews from university film production courses, plus a budget of £1,000. All the completed films get shown on city centre video screens during the run up to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. There will be ‘Oscars’ for regional and national winners.

All the resources are free and schools can use these whether or not you enter the competition. They cover important skills like ground discussions, creative problem solving, and using film to communicate ideas. 

For more information go to

Storyonics School Competition

Register now for the 'Storyonics' Schools Competition - Storyonicsa class story-writing competition for Year 6 - open to all UK primary schools, supporting the National Year of Communication. The first 500 schools to register will receive free Storyonics for PC/Whiteboard worth £19.99.  Click here to register your school and read full details of the competition. 

Your school will receive 12 Storyonics slides (each with 4 images) on Monday 5th September 2011 by email. The children will work on the story for a half-term period. The children in the class select one image from each slide and create a story. The winning story will be selected by the judges on the basis of the following criteria - incorporating images in sequential order, imagination, description, plot, structure and impact.  All entries must be submitted by email by Friday 21st October 2011.

First, second and third prizes are £1,000, £500 and £250 of ZooBooKoo educational products and a Storyonics game for each child in the winning class. This competition is run by ZooBooKoo International Ltd in recognition of schools' services to children's literacy learning and is supported by The Communication Trust and Volunteer Reading Help.

Free entry to Naidex National - 5th-7th April

Come and visit the Communication Village, supported by Communication Matters, at Naidex National. This area is for speech and language therapists, carers and parents of children with special needs, and individuals to find communication solutions.Naidex

The Communication Village welcomes everyone of all ages and is home to a host of the latest assistive technology from leading companies in this sector. This dedicated area provides not only the chance to touch, test and compare products to discover those right for your patients, but also offers the opportunity to talk to the experts and find out what’s new in the market.

Visit Naidex National to:

  • Get information and impartial advice from charities including Communication Matters, the RNID and the Sequal Trust.
  • Hear expert product recommendations according to your needs. Touch, test and compare the latest innovations to make informed decisions.
  • Meet with the Association of Speech & Language Therapists and get personalised career advice and discuss the issues facing your profession.

Naidex National is proud to be supporting the Hello campaign!

Click here to register for free entry.

News from our members

The Communication Trust is a consortium of 40 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.

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

1Voice 1Voice

Family Fun Day, 2nd April

On 2nd April in Birmingham the West Midlands branch of 1Voice will be holding a family fun day for users of Augmentive and Alternative Communication (AAC) and their families. Activities will include a treasure hunt, face painting and a quiz.

Please click here for more information.

Summer Event, 18th-19th June

1Voice will be holding their next family weekend on 18-19th June at the Hays conference centre in Derbyshire. This weekend is open to AAC users of all ages, their family and friends.

There will be workshops for parents, activities for children and young people, the opportunity for
professionals to work alongside families and AAC users to increase and compliment their knowledge of AAC.

For more information please go to

Ambitious about AutismAmbitious about Autism

Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism, has launched its new strategy, brand and fundraising appeal. Ambitious about Autism is built on the strong foundations of TreeHouse, a charity started in 1997 by a group of parents who set up a school for their children and sought to transform education provision for all children with autism in the UK.

The charity’s new strategy is driven by three themes:

  • More and better services – grow and develop TreeHouse School as part of a wider range of services for children and young people with autism
  • Awareness and understanding – evidence the needs of children and young people with autism and give them, and their families, a voice through the Talk about Autism online community
  • Influencing policy – ensure that the needs of children and young people are heard and considered at every stage of policy development. 

The name Ambitious about Autism reflects our renewed mission to enable children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve. For more information please go to


Secondary Talk is an evidence-based practical programme to help schools support their young people to develop essential communication skills. The programme, developed by I CAN, the Children’s Communication Charity, has been piloted in 14 secondary schools nationwide, and leads to improvements in both behaviour and engagement in learning. 

Bursaries available for trailblazer schools who apply to be part of the first wave of our roll out from September 2011!

For more information visit


Hello is sponsored by:

BT and andPearson Assessment

Contact Us

If you would like to contact us please call 0207 843 2550 or email
The Communication Trust, 8 Wakley Street, London, EC1V 7QE


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