The Communication Trust Newsletter
October 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:

The October newsletter is coming to you slightly later than usual in order to avoid coinciding with half term.


Events -  4Children Early Language seminars

4ChildrenIn partnership with 4Children, The Communication Trust is holding two Early Language events in November. The Trust will be exhibiting at the event as well as speaking about early identification of SLCN and tools for the Early Years workforce to support Speech, Language and Communication (SLC) /SLCN.

We will have a range of our Early Years resources at our stand, so do come and visit us. More information about the events can be found further down in this newsletter.


The Communication Trust appoints new Director

Octavia HollandWe are delighted to share that Octavia Holland has been appointed the new Director of The Communication Trust. Octavia makes the transition from her role as Director of Policy, Advice and Communication at Gingerbread – a charity which campaigns for, and provides advice to, single parents. Octavia will lead the Trust in its work to ensure that every child and young person is enabled to communicate to the very best of their ability, through collective support for those who work with children and young people.

Octavia’s career covers policy roles for the Department for Education and as Chief Executive of Coram’s Fields – a London based children and young people’s charity.

Octavia Holland said: "The work of The Communication Trust and the organisations it represents is essential to developing the skills of the workforce to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and young people – an impact that could improve their life chances significantly. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be involved in working towards seeing this mission achieved."

Virginia Beardshaw, Chief Executive of I CAN, which hosts the Trust and is one of its founding members said: "Octavia’s background working with children and families and her education policy experience in the Civil Service are both useful and relevant for taking forward the important work of the Trust. We look forward to working with Octavia and other partner organisations to support more children with speech, language and communication needs."


No Pens Day Wednesday 2015 evaluation survey - win one of two £50 Pearson vouchers! 

NPDWThe Trust would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that participated in No Pens Day Wednesday 2015 - the day was a huge success! In total we had just under 4,800 schools and early years settings signing up to take part in the event. It was absolutely wonderful to see teachers across the country sharing their experiences and talking about their activities on social media using the #nopensday hashtag - please click here to see them all!

The evaluation work that we undertook for last year’s event was extremely helpful and your feedback led to the development of our new sharing function and pupil evaluation tools - it really does make a difference!
PearsonCompleting our short survey is essential to helping us improve No Pens Day Wednesday for next year and for being able to assess the impact of this year's event.

Please take a few minutes to complete the short No Pens Day Wednesday evaluation survey here. Everybody that completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two £50 Pearson vouchers! The survey will be open until the 19th November 2015.

After seeing all of the fantastic lesson plans that teachers have shared on social media, we're also very keen to get as many people as possible uploading to our new sharing functionAnyone who uploads an activity or lesson plan to the site during the next month will also get entered into the prize draw. If you complete the survey and upload a resource, you'll double your chances of winning!

If you have photos or any quotes/feedback from staff, parents or pupils that you’d be happy to share, please send them through to Jack Williams: We'd also love to receive completed pupil evaluation forms and completed case study templates!


New report - SLCN and the SEND reforms in the Youth Justice Sector

In June 2015, The Communication Trust and the University of Sheffield ran a survey to find out more about how the youth justice sector across England is responding to the needs of young people who have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), within the reformed SEND system.

The findings from the survey are bought together in this report.  The report highlights existing good practice, but also makes clear the additional support and resources those working in the youth justice sector would benefit from to better support young people with SLCN through the reformed SEND system.

If you have any questions, please contact either Dr Judy Clegg, Senior Lecturer, Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield or Jo Bolton, Programme Manager, The Communication Trust -


Help Us Celebrate the Communication Commitment's Second Birthday!

Communication CommitmentThis week, on Thursday 5th November, we’ll be celebrating the Communication Commitment’s second birthday by highlighting the great work that so many schools have been doing to make communication a priority in the classroom and throughout school.

We’ll be sharing examples and ideas from schools, as well as other settings and practitioners, throughout the day. If you are passionate about communication don’t forget to send us a picture about why you, or your students, think it is so important! You can use our template by clicking here - just print it out, write on it and send us a photo of someone holding your message!

We had such a fantastic response last year for the Commitment's first birthday and we'd love you to join us again in celebrating the importance of communication! You can email us at or tweet your photo/ideas to @Comm_nTrust.


Involving children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and their families: A survey to explore parents' views

The Trust is working with Professor Sue Roulstone and colleagues at the Bristol Speech & Language Therapy Research Unit and the University of the West of England. Together we will explore the experiences of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and their parents, regarding their involvement in decisions about their individual needs and in service development, especially within the context of the reformed SEND system. 

As part of this research, parents of children and young people who have SLCN are invited to take part in the online survey which can be accessed here

The survey will be open for a few more days so please take the time to complete it and help us get the best possible response rate to inform this important research. 

We will share the final completed research report with our supporters in early 2016 via this newsletter and our website.


Early Years Pupil Premium – how have you been using yours?

Does your early years setting receive Early Years Pupil Premium funding?

To help us in our work supporting the early years and workforce around use of the EYPP, we’re really interested to hear examples of how you have been using your EYPP to support children’s speech, language and communication.

If you would be happy to speak to us about this please e-mail Kelly


GCSE English Language Spoken Language Endorsement - arrangements for learners with communication issues and/or hearing needs

Effective from 2014, Ofqual took the decision to remove the spoken language assessment from the weighted element of the GCSE English Language.  The Communication Trust contributed to various consultations around this before the decision was confirmed, strongly opposing the proposal, as well as responding to subsequent changes to the format of the assessment. You can access our responses to these consultations here

In order to ensure that young people with speech, language and communication needs are enabled to achieve their best in the new assessment, we have worked constructively with Ofqual and awarding bodies, to produce guidance for teachers undertaking the assessment. Our members at the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) also contributed to the guidance for hearing impaired young people specifically. The guidance focuses on making clear flexible arrangements that can be put in place to best support students with SLCN to access the assessment and showcase their language skills to the best of their ability.

The guidance was published on 30th September and you can access it here.

The new look Consortium catalogue is here!

We are delighted to share that the Trust’s catalogue of Consortium products and services has had a re-vamp! The new catalogue makes it easier to find what you’re looking for and also gives you an idea of how much products and services are likely to cost (or if they’re free!) – and where to find them.

What’s more, there are new products featured from our Consortium members and you can now access separate catalogues for early years, primary years, secondary years and post-16.

Why not take a look here.


4Children seminars - "Early Identification in early language and communication - supporting and upskilling the early years workforce"

4ChildrenThe Early Identification in early language and communication - supporting and upskilling the early years workforce seminars are being run by 4Children in partnership with the Trust.

London - Tuesday 3rd November
Leeds - Thursday 5th November

At these seminars practitioners will hear about:

  1. Early language and communication in the context of the free 30 hours childcare
  2. The importance of early identification of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and next steps
  3. Upskilling the workforce and looking at what tools are available
  4. Looking at how settings can support parents to encourage their children's speech, language and communication development at home
  5. 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 good practice case studies and pick up tools to ensure that your workforce have the skills to support all children’s speech, language and communication development, including those with SLCN.

Book your place or find out more information.  


Ofsted and CQC announce consultation on SEND services inspections

CQCOfsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have recently launched a consultation on their proposals for inspecting how local areas are meeting their responsibilities to disabled children and young people, and those with special educational needs (SEND).

Following the passage of the Children and Families Act 2014, Ofsted and CQC were invited by the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, to formally inspect local areas on their effectiveness in fulfilling their new duties. The new inspection framework is expected to be in place by May 2016.

The consultation seeks views on a number of proposals for the new inspection arrangements, including how children and young people with SEN and disabilities and their parents can be involved and what information should be considered in the inspection process.

The consultation will run for three months and will close on 4th January 2016. The Trust will be producing a response to this important consultation working with our Consortium members and wider partners. As with all our policy work, our final response will be published on our website.

The consultation on the inspection of local areas’ effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who are disabled and/or have special educational needs, can be found here.


The Council for Disabled Children Autumn Digest - available now

CDCThe Council for Disabled Children (CDC) Digest is packed full of information and resources from the SEN sector. There are useful updates on a range of relevant issues including:

  1. The Childcare Bill
  2. The reformed SEND system a year on and in particular amendments to transfer review timescales
  3. The latest news from the CDC networks
  4. Best practice sharing for young people aged 16 and above with SEN
  5. A range of new resources and training available for those working with children and young people with SEN

Access the full digest here.

CDC have also worked with nasen and the SEN Leaders programme to produce a briefing for schools on what the reforms mean for schools one year on:

  1. Who has responsibility for what 
  2. What support is available for schools

The briefing is available here.


Department for Education SEND unit - October update

The Department for Education Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) unit have published a newsletter update on developments around the reformed SEND system.

There is a lot of useful information in the newsletter including;

  • A focus on the engaging communities with the Local Offer
  • A focus on EHC plans including transfer review timescales, outcomes and general FAQs
  • A letter sent from NHS England to CCGs outlining their responsibilities in the new system
  • An update on SEND Appeals to tribunals
  • Training offers available
You can access the newsletter here.





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

AfasicAfasic – new resources for professionals

Afasic has recently produced some new information downloads for professionals which focus on where to find the right SLCN resources and training.

The downloads can be found on the new FAQs for professionals and students page. The range of resources are aimed at professionals in teaching, speech and language therapy, youth work, social work or anyone involved with children who have speech, language and communication needs.

Chatterbox Challenge 2016I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge 2016 is now open for registration.

This month I CAN launched Chatterbox Challenge 2016! This year’s theme is Ben & Holly’s Elf and Fairy Party. Join in the fun, get chattering and help raise awareness about I CAN who support more than one million children in the UK that struggle to communicate, making it difficult for them to do well at school, to join in and to make friends.

Chatterbox Challenge is I CAN’s annual, educational event that encourages 0-five year olds to develop their communication skills by learning songs and rhymes around a theme before singing them together in an inclusive sing-along.

For more information visit and watch a short video to see what’s involved.

NAPLIC Save the date - NAPLIC Conference 2016 announced

Following the success of this year’s NAPLIC Conference, we are delighted to share that the NAPLIC Conference and AGM 2016 will be held on Saturday 23rd April 2016 in Birmingham. The conference will be of interest to a wide range of practitioners including teachers, SENCos, Speech and Language Therapists, Advisory Teachers for SLCN and LA Advisors.

The confirmed key note speakers for the event are Dorothy Bishop and Maggie Snowling. Further information including the programme will be released soon.

The full summary of NAPLIC Conference & AGM 2015 Summary - SEND reforms and SLN: Good practice to support children and families can be found 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


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