The Communication Trust Newsletter
June 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:


Communication Leaders resources are now live!

Communication LeadersCommunication Leaders is an innovative peer mentoring approach, supporting children and young people to take on a unique leadership role in communication within their schools and homes.

The project has been piloted over two years and we have now launched the Communication Leaders training video and resources on our website.

Communication Leaders is suitable for use in both primary and secondary schools, with different resources available for each. The evaluation from the pilot of this project highlights the benefits for both the leaders themselves, as well as the pupils with whom they work:

  • Over 70% of primary and secondary leaders felt that their communication skills had improved as a result of being a Communication Leader in their school.
  • Over 60% of year seven students felt that their communication skills and confidence had grown and in primary schools, teachers reported improvements in younger children’s listening and language skills.

You’ll find everything you need on our website, including a training session for staff to introduce the approach, resources for leaders and a video showing staff and Communication Leaders talking about their experiences from the pilot project.

Find out more about Communication Leaders and access all the free resources that you’ll need to implement this approach in your school.


No Pens Day Wednesday Sharing Function - 2015 activity pack and posters!

No Pens Day Wednesday 2015We are delighted to announce that our new No Pens Day Wednesday sharing function is now live on our website.

In addition to our new sharing function, you can also download our brand new 2015 Activity Pack. The pack contains lots of useful information about how you can get involved and how to plan your No Pens Day Wednesday, whatever your setting!

We also have a new poster for the 2015 event, which is perfect for reminding pupils to park their pens for the day.

As a direct result of feedback that we've received from schools, this year we've also released an editable poster that you can personalise by adding your school's name.

We know from the fantastic feedback we've had from previous events that in many schools and settings, teachers are keen to use No Pens Day Wednesday as an opportunity to showcase their existing skills and knowledge around supporting spoken language in the classroom. That's why this year it's over to you!

We want to support those teachers, practitioners and other school staff who have great ideas and effective lesson plans to share them with us and others through No Pens Day Wednesday via our website.

The process couldn't be simpler:

  • If you haven't already, register to take part.

  • Read and agree to the terms of use and fill in the short online form to upload your resource. You can share lesson plans, ideas for activities, assemblies and engaging parents with spoken language activities and even information for staff.

  • Your resource will then be looked over by a member of The Communication Trust's professional team to ensure it's No Pens Day Wednesday friendly and suitable to share on our site.

  • Your resource will appear on the site for other registered No Pens Day Wednesday users to freely access!

So what are you waiting for? Log onto our website and share your fantastic resources with the world!

Everyone that uploads a resource before the 8th July will be entered into a prize draw to win a Progression Tool of their choice! We have a total of five to give away, so make sure you upload your resources as soon as possible!

Remember, although the official No Pens Day Wednesday date is the 7th October 2015, you can run your No Pens Day whenever it suits you best - the resources stay on the site all year round!


Shine a Light Awards 2015 - deadline extended to 1st July

The Shine a Light Awards, run in partnership with Pearson Assessment, has extended the deadline for entries to Wednesday 1st July.Shine a Light Awards

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 and individuals who deliver innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development then nominate them today!

Find out more, view last year’s winners and nominate.


SEND Reforms Survey - closes this Monday!

Our short survey gaining your views about the opportunities and challenges of the reformed SEND system for children and young people with SLCN is still open. Don’t forget to tell us which aspects of the reformed systems you feel confident in delivering on and where guidance and support would be most useful, by Monday 29th June.

Take the survey.

Order your Progression Tools now, ready for September

As this academic year draws to a close why not prepare for next year by exploring the range of Progression Tools we have on offer?

The Progression Tools are a suite of tools developed to support schools and early-years settings. These tools enable practitioners to find out more detail about the speech, language and communication skills of individual children.

They 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.

In March we launched our Secondary Progression Tools for teachers and support staff who work with students aged 11-18. We also offer Primary Progression Tools and Early Years (up to age three).

See all of our progression tools and watch a video on how to use them.


Voice Box returns to Westminster

We are teaming up with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) to run the Voice Box joke-telling competition again this year - extending the competition this year to secondary pupils.

Giving VoiceMainstream primary, secondary and special schools are invited to work on their own or with their SLT to hold a joke-telling competition between 7th September and 14th December 2015.

Send the RCSLT the winning joke by 14th December and they’ll shortlist the best. For each category - primary and secondary - there will be 10 finalists.

Shortlisted joke tellers and their parent or guardian will be invited to a grand final in Westminster on 2nd March 2016. Last year's final was a great day with the young finalists telling their winning joke at Speaker's House to a judging panel that included comedian Lee Mack.

Download the online toolkit with everything you need to run your own Voice Box competition.
If you have any questions, please email


Disabled children and the Equality Act 2010: what early years providers need to know and do

Council for Disabled ChildrenMany early-years settings have been covered by disability discrimination duties since the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) was first implemented. This booklet by the Council for Disabled Children places them in the context of duties to all young children, set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and duties to disabled children, as outlined in the Children and Families Act 2014.

It provides a short guide to what early years professionals need to know and do in order to address inequalities and ensure they don't discriminate against disabled children.

The guide also considers how the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 sit alongside other requirements on early-years providers, in particular requirements set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, requirements in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice.

For further information, please click here.


New resources for parents and professionals from The Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust is pleased to launch a set of free online resources aimed at parents who haveFamily and Childcare Trust children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and at organisations and professionals who work with such families. These resources have been commissioned by the Department for Education and aim to help make childcare in England more accessible to families who have children with SEND.

For parents

The Family and Childcare Trust have developed information and guidance to help families who have children with SEND access the childcare that meets their needs, including a parents' guide and a section about how to complain and appeal decisions.

View the SEND resources for parents.

For organisations and professionals

These resources are designed to help professionals and organisations give consistent information and advice to families and for childcare providers to understand how to make their settings accessible to all children. Contained within them are best practice case studies offering tips and ideas.

View the resources for professionals and organisations.

If you have any questions about these resources, please email


Government to double free childcare for working families

The Childcare Bill, introduced on 2nd June, will double free childcare available for all working parents of three and four year olds, from 15 to 30 hours a week.
Government to double free childcare for working families
Plans are being drawn up to introduce the changes for some families a year earlier than planned, with pilots in some areas offering 30 hours' worth of free places from September 2016.

The government is also committing to increase the average childcare funding rates paid to providers (the hourly funding provided for each free place) with the Department for Education set to begin a review before summer, overseen by Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah.

Find out more information on free childcare places here.


OECD Skills Outlook 2015: youth, skills and employability

The OECD Skills Outlook 2015 report has identified that more than 35 million young people aged 16-20 across OECD countries are neither employed nor in education or training (NEET). It also highlights that young people are twice as likely as prime-age workers to be unemployed. This report advises that governments need to do more to give young people a good start to their working lives and to help them find work.OECD

To help more young people into work, the OECD have many recommendations including high-quality pre-primary education for all children in order to help mitigate disparities in education outcomes and give every child a strong start to their education. They also suggest that teachers and school leaders should identify low achievers early on to give them the support they need to attain sufficient proficiency in reading, mathematics and science.

Read the OECD Skills Outlook report 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

Communication Matters trustee vacancies

Communication MattersCommunication Matters is a UK-wide charity that supports all those who have an interest in or need of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

They currently have four vacancies available on their Board of Trustees. Election and announcement of voted trustees will take place at the Annual Meeting on Sunday 13th September 2015 at the University of Leeds during the Communication Matters National AAC Conference. Applications are welcomed from family members, people who use AAC, professionals and interested parties. 

Read more about the role of trustees here.

Download further information and the nomination form here.

The closing date for completed nomination forms is Friday 7th August 2015.

Contact a Family – Family Support Census

Every Disabled Child Matters and Contact a Family have partnered to put together the Family Support CensusContact a Familly and Every Disabled Child Matters. They are aware that families with disabled children have been affected by cuts in recent years. They also know that there will be many challenges ahead for families with disabled children as the new Government introduces further cuts to local authority funding and spending by Government departments.

The census includes questions about changes to services like short breaks, health, transport and financial support. The information will be used to help develop their campaign plans and make the Government listen to families with disabled children and understand their lives.

Find and complete the census here.

London Bubble Theatre Company - research suggests that drama helps children with speech, language and communication needs

London Bubble Theatre Company are delighted to announce that acclaimed actor and director Mark Rylance has given his support to Speech Bubbles, a national programme devised by The London Bubble Theatre Company for children who need support with their communication.

Each week small groups of children in schools across London and Greater Manchester take part in practical drama sessions, telling stories and acting them out together. Evidence indicates that these children face lifelong disadvantages if they are not supported to improve these crucial skills.

New research undertaken by Dr Jonathan Barnes, Senior Lecturer in Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, has identified significant benefits of the programme for the children who take part.

He found that there were improvements in speaking, language, listening and general communication for 70-80% of the children taking part. An improvement in the children’s confidence, communication and friendships was also identified. It was also noted that these improvements positively affected the children's engagement with all aspects of school.

Find out more about Speech Bubbles here.

New 'Getting two year olds talking' resources from I CAN

I CANFor early-years settings and schools working with two year olds for the first time or increasing their two year old offer, I CAN has a new bundle of resources:  ‘Getting two year olds talking’ is available for the fantastic price of £40 - a saving of almost £23 when compared to buying these resources individually.

The bundle offers activities for talkative 2 year olds and those who need additional help with communication and language. It provides information for parents on what to expect when, and support to practitioners carrying out the two year old progress check or integrated review.

Find out more about the new resources here.

Children's and Young People's Reading in 2014: findings from the 2014 National Literacy Trust's annual survey

National Literacy TrustThe National Literacy Trust's fifth annual literacy survey was conducted over November and December 2014, with 32,026 children and young people aged eight to 18 participating. Results show that levels of reading enjoyment and daily reading outside class are both at their highest levels in nine years.

The gap between the proportion of girls and boys who enjoy reading has increased, however, and more girls are reading daily outside of the classroom. Children and young people who read daily outside of class are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age compared with young people who never read outside class.

The findings also show there is still more to do to raise awareness among parents of how important their engagement is for their child's literacy development, particularly among the most disadvantaged children.

Read the annual survey results reports here.  

Contact us

If you would like to contact us please call 0207 843 2526 or email
The Communication Trust , 31 Angel Gate, Goswell Road, London, EC1V 2PT


Sentence Trouble:
Talking Trouble:


If you would like to unsubscribe from all emails from The Communication Trust, please click here.

Privacy policy