The Communication Trust Newsletter
May 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.

It's time to shine!

The 2011 Hello campaign awards open for entries Shine a Light

The Hello campaign is inviting entrants to take part in the ‘Shine a Light’ 2011 Hello campaign awards for developing children and young people’s communication, launched this week in partnership with Pearson Assessment.

‘Shine a Light’ is the first and only national awards scheme to focus on children and young people’s communication. Twelve awards are available including three ‘Communication Friendly’ awards, three ‘Team of the Year’ awards, an award for ‘Communication Strategy’ and ‘Commissioning’ as well as the ‘Hello Young Person of the Year Award’.

Applications are encouraged from a wide range of settings, professionals and individuals – those who work with children and young people, those responsible for planning children’s services as well as parents and young people.

The winners will be celebrated at the ‘Shine a Light’ 2011 Hello campaign awards ceremony taking place at Pearson’s Head Office in London from 3-6pm on Wednesday 23 November.

Full details of the awards and how to apply can be found at

Good luck with your application!


Listen Up!

During April the Hello campaign was focused on the building blocks of communication. Children learn to talk by listening, taking turns and through play and interaction with others. If a child can’t listen and understand, they’ll struggle to talk.

It can be really difficult for parents and professionals to see and recognise what happens beneath the surface of children’s communication but to help them we've developed two brand new FREE resources to encourage listening, understanding, interaction and play. Short and simple activities can be done easily and quickly and with everyday things. Fortune Teller

  • For pre-school children, Listen Up (0-5), includes a card game with fun activities and advice on how parents and early years workers can use the resource.
  • Remember fortune tellers from the school playground? The folded up square pieces of paper that you control with your fingers and thumbs? Well you will when you see it!  For school aged children Listen Up (5-11) includes a fun fortune teller with the card game. 
To order a free copy of Listen Up please click here.



This month's theme - Good communication begins at home

This month will be focusing on how language and communication is everywhere, so everything we do can be turned into a language opportunity for children. During May we’ll see the launch of a number of new fun and exciting initiatives and events, which children, parents and carers can all take part in.

Roar with Raa Raa

One of the hot topics we hear about is the use of TV in the home and how it could be turned into a Raa Raacommunication opportunity. We have partnered with Chapman Entertainment, award-winning creators of much loved children’s TV shows, such as Little Charley Bear®, Fifi and the Flowertots® and Roary The Racing Car®.  

Raa Raa the Noisy Lion® is Chapman Entertainment’s newest creation. Raa Raa helps children find their voice as he goes on a noisy journey with his friends through the jingly jangly jungle learning and developing their communication skills through the use of Raa Raa’s 4Rs – repetition, rhythm, rhyme and retelling.

Chapman Entertainment have also produced a pack which will be sent to nurseries the week commencing 9th May. This fantastic pack includes a practitioners guide, activity sheets and a parent activity guide plus Raa Raa DVD’s for every child.

Raa Raa’s adventures will be shown on CBeebies every weekday at 3.30pm from Monday 9th May and on CBeebies iPlayer.

You can also find more information about Raa Raa at  

National Family Week

We are supporting National Family Week – the biggest  annual celebration of family life in the UK taking place during the Summer half term holiday (30 May - 5 June 2011). NFW

National Family Week will take to the road this May and June bringing free, fun, family days out to all corners of the UK. There are 10 flagship partner events; a tour of shopping centres and two headline events in London and Liverpool, all filled with ideas and inspiration on ways to spend more fun time with your family.

And that’s not all - there are thousands of events happening across the UK organised by the charity and their not for profit partners who are all excited to celebrate National Family Week. With everything from picnics to parties and sports day to story time, there's no excuse for staying indoors during National Family Week!  With many of the events free for the whole family, can you afford to miss out?!

This is a fantastic initiative to get involved in with your family, or to promote amongst your networks – particularly highlighting the importance of communication. Find out what’s happening in your area and how you can take part and register for their newsletter here

National Family Week is also part of the new website, a one stop destination for families with children of all ages. The site will provide families with valuable information on what to do and where to go together in their local area and beyond. Plus with the Family Value Club there will be great money saving offers for families to save money.




June - primary schools 'get on your marks'

I CAN, one of our consortium members, and Openreach; a BT Group business have worked in partnership to develop the first ever national Communication Triathlon.

The Communication Triathlon is a series of active and fun-filled events for primary schools, intended to boost speaking and listening skills, which can be undertaken by a class, a year group or a whole school over the course of a week or even a day. To celebrate their achievement and recognise their hard work, children are awarded with a certificate and even participate in a closing ceremony.

The programme encourages children to take part in three London 2012-themed speaking and listening activities around Thinking, Talking and Teamwork and is split across 4-7 and 7-11 year olds.

Additionally, the Communication Triathlon is part of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme. 

To get your Communication Triathlon pack go to


  • Our theme for June is ‘Imagine what it is like for children who struggle’. This will be an important time for all of us to get messages out about speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and its impact on children, young people and families.
  • A conference on SLCN in older children and young people is taking place from the 15th-17th June 2011 at City University.  It is being hosted jointly by the Department of Language and Communication Science, City University London, I CAN and Afasic.  Places are limited, so if you are interested pleasebook ASAP. Click here to register and find out more.   
  • Keep an eye out for our Hello short film and You're the voice, our campaigning toolkit (including letters to MPs and a Communication Charter).


Charity of the Month - National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS)

NDCS is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. They help deaf children thrive from diagnosis to their teenage years by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.


NDCS believe that every deaf child should be valued by society and have the same opportunities as any other child. They offer parents information and support on all aspects of childhood deafness. This includes free membership to NDCS, helpline support, award-winning publications and a wide range of projects and one-to-one advice from their family officers.

They provide direct support to deaf children and young people, through a range of projects and events to develop their interpersonal skills and enhance their confidence and self-esteem. Their Buzz website, the biggest online space for deaf young people, brings deaf young people together to meet and share their views.

NDCS also support professionals working with deaf children of all ages to continue their vital work. Professionals planning activities for Deaf Awareness Week (2 – 8 May) can find helpful information and materials on their website and from their Helpline.

This October they are running a Fingerspellathon – a great activity for all primary school children to raise awareness of deafness, learn some simple sign language and help improve their spelling. 

For the latest updates from NDCS, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, visit their website or call the Helpline on 0808 800 8880.

Universally Speaking birth to 5 - Available to order now

Universally Speaking - the ages and stages of children's communication development Universally Speakingfrom birth to 5, is the latest resource to be made available for the Hello campaign.

The booklet provides information on what helps children learn to talk and listen, whether they are on the right track and what to do if you have concerns about any of the children you work with.

This booklet is the first of three in a series looking at the ages and stages of children's communication development. There will be a version for those who work with children aged 5-11 and another version for those who work with children aged 11-16. These will be available shortly.

Universally Speaking is produced in partnership with Pearson Assessment, Hello sponsor, who will be sending a copy to all nursery schools in the country the week commencing 23rd May.

Please click here to download or order your free copy.


The SLI Handbook

What you need to know about Specific Language Impairment (SLI): What it means, looks, feels and sounds like, and how to get help. SLI Handbook

The SLI Handbook is an exciting new resource for parents of children with a Specific Language Impairment and professionals working with families struggling to understand SLI.

To help you understand this complicated and confusing difficulty, the Handbook describes what SLI can look like in children of all ages and how it is different from other forms of speech, language and communication needs.  

Illustrations and a handy jargon buster help to make the Handbook easy-to-read and accessible. There is a clear explanation of the processes that children with SLI may go through once they have the right diagnosis. Other information includes the kinds of schools available and examples of what good support looks like for children with SLI.

Written and produced jointly by I CAN and Afasic, the SLI Handbook was commissioned by The Communication Trust as part of the Hello campaign. To find out more and to order a copy please visit




Hello website


Hello facebook

Talking Point

Talking PointHow can you tell if a child’s speech and language is progressing as it should? On Talking Point we’ve described the stages which children typically go through as they develop speech and language.

We’ve also launched a new progress checker which allows you to check your child’s skills are developing as they should. It will ask you a number of questions. Answer these as well as you can, and we will give you an indication of the progress of your child.

If you have concerns, find your speech and language therapy department using our postcode search.

New research shows boys are more confident communicators than girls

Boys are more confident communicators than girls, particularly when speaking in front of their classmates and teachers, according to the first large-scale UK survey of young people’s views on communication skills.

The new research from the National Literacy Trust and The Communication Trust, commissioned as part of the Hello campaign surveyed 6,865 young people aged between 8 and 16.69% of boys compared to 57% of girls said they were either ‘very confident’ or ‘confident’ when speaking in front of classmates.

The research found that more boys than girls value and realise the importance of communication skills, believing that if you speak well it makes you seem more intelligent and that people judge you on the words and phrases that you use. Boys were also more confident in talking with teachers (81% compared with 78%).

To read the full survey please click here.

An article on the survey was featured on page 19 of The Times newspaper on Wednesday 4 May.
This led to subsequent pieces on BBC London FM, Sky Radio News and BBC News Online

South Devon celebrates Hello

On Saturday 26th March 40 families from across South Devon enjoyed a 'fun day' at Woodlands Adventure Park to celebrate the National Year of Communication. This was funded by an Aiming High grant from Devon County Council. South Devon Fun Day

The aim was for families to meet other families who have children experiencing communication difficulties. Everyone had a fantastic day and the weather was kind to them! There was lots of amazing talking by children and adults alike!

The photo shows the Smith family from Dartmouth - the Smith brothers have received support in their local mainstream schools. 

Thank you to Shirley O'Connor from Barton Primary School for sharing the news about the fantastic work they are doing.

To find out more about what’s happening around the country or to tell us about what you’re doing visit

Coming soon...

Small Talk - With BT we are developing a booklet for parents of children aged 0-5 to show where children are likely to be with their communication at a certain age. The booklet will be available to download and order by the end of next month.

Other Ways of Speaking - This is a booklet that looks at the different methods we use to communicate, especially the methods used by children who have difficulties with speaking.

The booklet was developed in partnership with Communication Matters, 1Voice, ACE Centre, ACE Centre North, The Makaton Charity and Signalong, and will be available to order at the end of this month.

Watch this space for updates!


The UK's first Technology4Good Awards including the BT Contact Us Award

These exciting new awards, being organised by AbilityNet, celebrate the hard work of many charities, businesses and individuals across the UK that use digital technologies to help change our communities for the better. BT is delighted to be working alongside AbilityNet to recognise the best use of technology enabling people of all abilities to participate in today’s connected World. BT

BT has its own BT Contact Us Award to recognise organisations that have gone the extra mile to use IT to enable deaf, hearing impaired and other disabled consumers to interact with them more fully.  We are looking for an organisation that has thought about its contact strategy and put options in place so customers can choose how they make contact. For example, it will provide direct communication methods for its deaf customers without reliance on text relay and will be able to demonstrate that it has considered the needs of its disabled customers and made improvements to enhance the customer experience as a result.

If you are an organisation with a contact centre you can nominate your own organisation for the BT Award.

If you are someone who has had a good experience and been able to easily interact in a way of your choosing with an organisation, you can nominate that organisation for the award.

For more information about all categories within the Technology4Good Awards covering accessibility, community projects helping people overcome social disadvantage or giving people a voice, inclusive fundraising campaigns, innovation, volunteering and working in partnership,  visit . The closing date is 9th May so don't miss out!

Storyonics School Competition

Over £10,000 worth of prizes for schools in national story-telling competition!Storyonics

Registration is now open for the National Schools Storyonics Competition for years 5 and 6.  There are over £10,000 worth of prizes including 500 sets of 'Storyonics for PC/Whiteboard' worth £19.99 for 500 lucky participating schools to be won in the prize draw.  First prize for the winning class is £1,000 worth of educational toys and games with second and third prizes of £500 and £250 respectively.   At the beginning of September participating schools will receive 12 slides each with four images.  The class selects one image from each slide and creates a story for submission before the half term break.  This is a wonderful opportunity to encourage imagination and creativity while incorporating curriculum literacy skills in a fun way.

The competition is run by ZooBooKoo to celebrate the National Year of Communication and in recognition of schools' services to children's literacy learning.  The competition is supported by The Communication Trust ( and Volunteer Reading Help (

Schools can register by visiting and clicking on Storyonics Competition.  It only takes one minute to register - a minute which will bring you hours of fun in your classroom.  

The National Teacher Research Panel

The National Teacher Research Panel ( is a group of practicing teachers and school leaders who promote teaching as a research and evidence informed profession. The Panel is currently exploring what practitioners want and need from research, to enable them to develop suitable materials and adopt an approach that will support and champion practitioner research into the future.

The NTRP is consulting with a wide range of practitioners from across the profession and have designed a short questionnaire which will help them gauge opinions on a number of topics including:

  • the research themes which most interest teachers  
  • how and where teachers access research findings
  • the formats which teachers find most helpful

To participate in the survey please click here

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

Communication Matters
Communication Matters

During May and June there will be a wave of regional Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) events and activities across the UK, supported by Communication Matters and linked to Hello

Events can include an individual school activity or a larger regional event. The AAC wave of events will travel throughout the UK, starting in Cornwall on the 2nd May and finishing in Aberdeen week commencing 20th June. 

You can find out more about these road shows and how to get involved here


Secondary Talk

I CAN are excited by the initial findings from the University of Sheffield, with the final evaluation report due in May.

Secondary Talk can enhance teachers’ knowledge of pupils’ spoken language and communication so that they feel more confident about identifying pupils with language and communication needs, suggests preliminary data analyses.

Most Secondary Talk Co-ordinators in the schools rated the programme as having a high impact on teaching practice and on pupils’ learning. I CAN are also seeing exciting changes to practice in classrooms – read examples and case studies of what individual pilot schools are doing here

I CAN are offering a limited number of £5,000 bursaries for trailblazer schools wishing to implement Secondary Talk in September 2011.

For more information visit or send an email to to express your interest.

Signalong with free sheetsSignalong

Signalong supports the National Year of Communication and is offering free sheets of signs each month, to illustrate and support the monthly themes of Hello.

Signing is a quick and easy way to help children who have problems with words. Check out the links below to download the sheets.



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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