The Communication Trust Newsletter
September 2015


The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 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).

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:


Events  - Spotlight on the TES Show

TESThe Communication Trust is exhibiting at the TES Show, the UK's largest special educational needs show, on 9th and 10th October 2015. Please do come and see us at stand 96! We will be giving away lots of our resources including Universally Speaking, Let’s Talk About It and copies of the Cracking the Code poster, to name just a few!


No Pens Day Wednesday - 7th October 2015

NPDWWith just one week to go until No Pens Day Wednesday 2015, we thought we'd let you know about the fantastic new resources now available online.

We have added a new range of free lesson plans for secondary, special and early-years settings, bringing our total number of Trust lesson plans on the site to almost 200!

In addition, for the first time this year we have introduced a selection of pupil evaluation tools to allow teachers to collect the views of children and young people taking part in No Pens Day Wednesday. Schools and settings have a choice as to how they complete their evaluations. Pupils can either:

a) Complete their evaluation as part of No Pens Day Wednesday - this approach uses discussion and votes to gather pupils' views and includes resources to help teachers gather pupils' views without using pens!

b) Complete a written evaluation about the day, which should be done the day after No Pens Day Wednesday if possible, where pupils can write down what they thought about their experience of the day.

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2015

Did you know that No Pens Day Wednesday also takes place during Dyslexia Awareness Week 2015? In association with the British Dyslexia Association, we have developed a document with some fantastic suggestions about how dyslexic students can be supported during No Pens Day.

New resources from Consortium members

We also have some fantastic new resources from our Consortium members. The Makaton Charity has developed a new resource especially for No Pens Day Wednesday called 'All About My Senses - Touch', which is full of fun activities using Makaton symbols and signs to encourage children to listen, understand and express themselves.

In addition, Consortium member SMIRA (Selective Mutism Information and Research Association) has also provided us with some guidance on the best way for teachers, parents and carers to create an anxiety-free environment for children with selective mutism on No Pens Day Wednesday.

This year we have also released our new 2015 activity pack and resource-sharing function, as well as a selection of new posters that you can use to publicise your No Pens Day Wednesday around your school.

To access all of these resources and to strengthen the focus on speech, language and communication skills in your school or setting, sign up at  

Once you have registered you will be able to take part in No Pens Day Wednesday on 7th October 2015 (or whenever works best for you)! 


Shining a light on good practice - the winners have been unveiled!  

Shine a Light Awards 2015Last week the 2015 Shine A Light Awards, run by Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, took place at a glittering awards ceremony in London.  

Hosted by comedian David Baddiel, the awards honoured individuals, teams, campaigns, communication-friendly settings and communities that have excelled in their support of children and young people's communication, particularly for those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Seventeen year-old Jonathan Middleditch from Surrey picked up the Young Person of the Year Award. A pupil at Moor House School and College, Jonathan was diagnosed with severe specific language impairment, dyspraxia, dyslexia and dyscalculia resulting in unintelligible speech. Jonathan now communicates with confidence, has achieved two GCSEs and attends mainstream college. 

Bev Crisp from Yorkshire took the award for Communication Champion for her tireless efforts developing an early-years intervention programme, Building Blocks for Language, in her spare time and the Talk About Team from Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust won the Community Friendly Award for their project that trained early-years practitioners to improve the communication skills of young children in Norfolk. 

See the full list of inspirational winners and highly commended finalists.


Voice Box joke-telling competition returns to Westminster

The Communication Trust and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) have teamed up once more to run Voice Box – a joke-telling competition that aims to raise awareness of the fun and importance of communication. This year it has also been extended to secondary pupils.

Mainstream primary, secondary and special schools in England, Scotland and Wales are invited to work on their own, or with their speech and language therapist, to hold a joke-telling competition between 7 September and 14 December 2015.

Send RCSLT the winning joke from your school by 14 December and a judging panel will shortlist the best ones they receive. The shortlisted joke tellers, along with their parent or guardian, will be invited to a grand final at Speaker’s House in Westminster on 2 March 2016.

Find out more and download the online toolkit.


Early identification in early language and communication - supporting and upskilling the early years workforce seminars  

4ChildrenThe Early identification in early language and communication - supporting and upskilling the early years workforce seminars are being run by 4 Children in partnership with the Trust. The seminars are being held in London on Tuesday 3rd November and Leeds on Thursday 5th November. Both events will be held in city centre venues.
At these seminars practitioners will hear about:

  • Early language and communication in the context of the free 30 hours childcare
  • The importance of early identification of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and next steps
  • Upskilling the workforce and looking at what tools are available
  • Looking at how settings can support parents to encourage their children's speech, language and communication development at home
  • Good practice case study examples.

There’s also the opportunity to meet SLCN voluntary sector organisations offering support and services in our exhibition space.

These seminars provide a unique opportunity to hear from experts in early language and communication, see some good practice case studies and pick up some tools to ensure that your workforce has the skills to support all children’s speech, language and communication development, including those with SLCN.

Book your place or find out more information.  

Early-years resources

Cracking the CodeThe Trust’s early-years webpage has plenty of free resources and tools to support the early-years workforce. The page includes lots of information about children’s communication development and help with identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

There are several resources from the Trust, including guidance on SLCN and the SEND Code of Practice. The resources include:

  • An online short course all about speech, language and communication – free to access
  • A poster with advice about identifying and supporting children with SEN, in line with the new Code of Practice – free to download
  • An early identification framework to help you identify children who are struggling – free to download
  • A poster with advice about implementing the graduated approach of ‘assess, plan, do, review’ – free to download.

Find all of these resources and more here.

Below is some feedback we've had about the resources so far:

“I am so impressed and really think that the practitioners that I work with will find them incredibly useful. I plan to let them all know about it them at the next half-termly SENCO and SLC Lead forum that I lead in my local authority!” Early Years Language Consultant

“The Early Identification Framework model is an excellent tool for early years practitioners. It is clear, well explained and concise.” Early Years Practitioner, Sure Start East Children’s Centres


NEW - Guide for commissioners from Better Communication CIC, supported by The Communication Trust

Better Communication CICWe are delighted to share a new resource available to support the commissioning of support for children and young people with SLCN by schools and health services. This resource is based on the findings of the landmark Better Communication Research Programme commissioned following the Bercow Review.

Gascoigne M.T. (2015) Commissioning for Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN): Using the evidence from the Better Communication Research Programme - a commissioning guide for SLCN draws on the evidence from the Better Communication Research Programme together with the extensive experience of the author Marie Gascoigne in her work developing the Balanced System®.

View the synthesis of the evidence on their microsite. Alternatively, download the report as an interactive pdf with links to all the relevant source material.


Dyslexia Awareness Week highlights need for better understanding of dyslexia

Dyslexia affects approximately one in 10 people in the UK. It is the most common and best understood hidden disability yet much still needs to be done to help people ‘make sense of dyslexia’, says the charity Dyslexia Action.

For many people affected by dyslexia the biggest difference to their progress and well-being comes from being able to learn or work in an environment where there is a good understanding of what dyslexia is and a positive, supportive attitude amongst colleagues, teachers and peers.

Dyslexia Awareness Week in England this year runs from 5th - 11th October. It aims to shed further light on what dyslexia is and how people affected by dyslexia can be supported at school, at work and in their day to day lives.

Find out more

Visit for more information on how to get involved in each week, the signs of dyslexia, how to get the right help and support and useful resources for parents, teachers and employers.

Find more information on the work of the British Dyslexia Association in DAW 2015.


New training offer: Key-working supporting the SEND reforms

CDCThe Council for Disabled Children has developed training on the key working approach to supporting disabled children, young people and those with SEN and their families. This training is designed for a multi-agency group of professionals from across health, education and care and builds on learning from the Early Support Programme.

The one-day workshop is an opportunity for colleagues from different agencies to come together to understand the key working approach, functions and how it can benefit families and services.

More information about the background to the training and learning outcomes can be accessed here.

Book your place:


Improving school readiness: creating a better start for London report

Public Health England has published a report showing levels of 'school readiness' among London's children - an indicator of how prepared a child is to succeed in school cognitively, socially and emotionally.

The report presents:

  • The importance of school readiness
  • The economic case for investing in school readiness
  • A descriptive analysis of school readiness in London
  • A summary of the evidence of what works to improve school readiness in order to facilitate improvements in service planning and delivery

Read the full report.


SEED childminder report published

The latest from the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED), a major government longitudinal study evaluating early education in England, has been published. The report has been written by Professor Edward Melhuish, University of Birkbeck and 4Children, following a study of the quality of childminder provision in England.  

The report identifies three key factors distinguishing the quality of care provided by childminders:

  • Participation in a quality improvement network. This had a positive influence on the quality of the childminder’s provision, particularly in distinguishing between those with a ‘good’ rating or higher from those with a lower rating.
  • Years of experience as a childminder. This factor distinguished outstanding settings from the rest.
  • A setting with a lower adult-to-child ratio (fewer children per adult) was more likely to have an adequate or above quality score, rather than a poor rating. Adult-to-child ratio did not appear to distinguish between the quality delivered at the higher end (adequate to good / outstanding)

Click here to read the report





News from our members

The Communication Trust is a Consortium of over 50 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 email

CLAPA Conference 2015

CLAPA ConferenceCLAPA's Annual Conference is the only event of its kind, bringing together parents, patients, health professionals and everyone with an interest in cleft lip and palate.

Date: Saturday 21st November 2015
Venue: Holiday Inn Camden Lock, London

This year's event is focused on 'taking control' and will look at what motivates people to become an advocate for their own (or their child's) care, and how this involvement can benefit them in unexpected ways. You will hear from parents and patients about the different reasons that they've decided to take control and make their voice heard in what can sometimes feel like an intimidating medical environment. You'll hear from young people making a difference in the NHS, adults at various stages of treatment who have taken control of their care, and parents who have been driven to speak up for their children and others like them.

In particular, the conference will look at how young people with a cleft lip/ palate transition into adult patients and how they can be best supported to understand and feel in control of the future of their own care after years of going along the treatment pathway.

Even if you can't attend in person, they will be streaming the entire conference LIVE online so you can join the debate at home!

Visit to find out more and book a place.

New early-years language intervention from I CAN

Early Talk BoostFollowing on from the success of the Talk Boost intervention for four-to-seven-year-olds, which has been rolled out across more than 2,000 schools and helped over 30,000 children, we are pleased to announce the launch of Early Talk Boost – a targeted intervention aimed at three- to four-year-old children with delayed language development, helping to boost their language skills and narrow the gap between them and their peers.

Initial findings show that after Early Talk Boost, children made statistically significant progress in their early language. On average they made six months progress after a nine week intervention helping them catch up with other children their age. This is twice the progress of children not having the intervention.

Find out more about Early Talk Boost.

Sense - The case for play: Sense public inquiry into play

SenseThe UK deafblind charity Sense is running a public inquiry into access to play opportunities for children aged up to five with multiple needs.

The play inquiry will explore whether barriers exist for children with multiple needs accessing play, and gather information about what is working well. Sense will use the evidence from the inquiry to produce a report and campaign for changes to take place. 
Sense is keen to hear from professionals about their experiences of play. There are several ways to get involved:

  • In writing - share your views on the issue by responding to the call for evidence. Please send your written responses to by the 27th November 2015.
  • Over the phone - take part in a structured interview.  If you would like to book a time to take part, please get in touch at
  • In person - attend a play roundtable discussion event at Sense HQ. A session for professionals and academics is taking place on Thursday 29th October and a session for play practitioners on Thursday 19th November.  If you would like to attend either of these sessions, please email
  • Spread the work - Let the families you support know about the play inquiry and ask them to share their experiences by filling out a short play survey online.
  • Tweet your support! Please tweet@sensetweets is running a public inquiry into play for children with multiple needs. Find out more at #playalong

Find more information about the play inquiry or contact

Download the information leaflet.

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


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