The Communication Trust Newsletter
November 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:


Message from Octavia Holland, the Trust’s new Director

Octavia Holland“I am delighted to join The Communication Trust team as Director. From my time in the Department for Education and subsequently running the children and young people’s charity Coram’s Fields, I am well aware of the crucial work of the Trust and the difference it makes to children and young people with SLCN.

Having a unified voice on the importance of children’s speech, language and communication development and SLCN has obviously enabled the sector to be heard on important policy and reform areas and I look forward to continuing to maximise our impact in to the future. As I get to grips with the role over the coming weeks and months I plan to gain as much feedback as possible from those working directly with children and young people, and I hope to hear from some of you as part of that process.”


Communication Leaders - new resources to help you implement the approach in your school!

Communication Leaders is a peer-mentoring approach to supporting the language and communication development of primary and secondary pupils. The approach gives children and young people a unique leadership role in supporting communication skills at home and at school. As part of Communication Leaders we developed free resources, which we launched in June 2015, to support schools to get started.

Communication Leaders started as a two-year pilot project funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Three months after the completion of the pilot project we are excited to share an extract from the final evaluation report which includes key findings from the project and feedback from the Communication Leaders, school staff and parents involved in the project. One such finding identified that 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.

To read the report check out the Communication Leaders page or download it here.

In addition to this we have developed an FAQ’s document to answer some regularly asked questions about Communication Leaders to help you implement the approach in your school.

If you are interested in Communication Leaders and would like to adopt a whole school approach to communication, why not check out some of our similar programmes – No Pens Day Wednesday and Communication Commitment. To find out more about these projects please click here.

We’re really interested to hear examples of how you have been using the Communication Leaders resources or approach in your school. If you would be happy to speak to us about this please e-mail Rosie at


Beyond Measure feedback survey

Beyond MeasureBeyond Measure was launched in July this year. This resource offers guidance to help teachers using the reception baseline assessment process as an opportunity for identifying children who may have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), helping to ensure that appropriate support is put into place for these children as quickly as possible.

The baseline assessment process is now complete in schools, and we are gathering feedback from practitioners who have used Beyond Measure.

This short survey, which will be open until 11th December, should take no more than five minutes to complete and can be found here

Please share the link with your colleagues and networks that work in schools.

The Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF)

The SLCF is a free self evaluation tool for anyone working with children and young people to evaluate their skills and knowledge around speech, language and communication.
Where gaps are identified the SLCF will signpost to relevant training and professional development activities to further your skills and knowledge.

You can register as an individual or a group for the online SLCF, or download a copy at

We always appreciate feedback on our resources. If you have used the SLCF and have any comments please email Kelly at


Minister reaffirms his commitment to SEND at The Council for Disabled Children's (CDC) Vision 2020 SEND Conference

CDCOn 11th November CDC held a conference which looked at the future of SEND in the next five years. In attendance was the Minister of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, who in a speech reaffirmed his commitment to seeing positive outcomes from disabled children, young people and those with special education needs (SEND).

The conference, Special Educational Needs and Disability: a vision for 2020, brought together senior leaders and decision makers from across education, health and social care to debate the future for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs.

To read the Minister's full speech as delivered at the conference, please click here.


DfE publish annual report on SEN data trends

This month the Department for Education released their Special Educational Needs (SEN) summary publication, which gives an overview of the available data on SEN and a link to the external data sources. 

This document provides a combination of analysis and links to the key data sources on children and young people with SEN. The format has been revised to make it easier to access the data directly and the document will now be updated twice a year to improve the timeliness of the information.

You may also wish to use this publication alongside benchmarking data tools, such as the Local Authority Interactive Tool (LAIT) and LG Inform.

To download and read the document please click here.


College of Teaching announce Founding Trustees

Claim your collegeThe College of Teaching, the new independent chartered professional body for the teaching profession, recently announced their Founding Trustees who are playing key leadership and governance roles in consultation with the teaching profession. 

The Founding Trustees include five teachers and three Headteachers with Dr Penny Barratt, Executive Headteacher at The Bridge London, bringing a wealth of SEN expertise to the board. The Bridge is a specialist school for Communication and Interaction and the first SEN Leadership and Innovation Academy in the country. 

The Bridge is one of only 42 special schools across the country that is designated as a National Teaching School. In her time as a teacher, Penny has worked across maintained primary and secondary schools, independent secondary schools and further/higher education.

The College of Teaching has recently launched The Big Staff Meeting - a nationwide initiative to explore teachers’ views on the scope of membership of the College and the related benefits. If you would like to find out more, please click 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

ACE Centre - NHS training sessions now available for professionals

ACE CentreACE Centre offer a series of free monthly training events in the North West and Thames Valley & Wessex regions to support the use and implementation of Augmentative & Alternative Communication within the framework of the NHS Specialised AAC Service. These sessions are designed for existing and potential referrers to our NHS specialised AAC services and for professionals involved in the establishment or development of local AAC services.

These sessions typically run for half a day. Please note that due to limited capacity, a maximum of two places will be allocated to any single organisation (e.g. speech and language therapy department, school etc.)

More information about upcoming events in the North West region.

More information about upcoming events in the Thames Valley & Wessex region.

Communication Matters - New AAC, Literacy and Complex Needs Study Day

Communication MattersCommunication Matters will be holding a study day focusing on AAC, Literacy and Complex Needs on 1st April 2016. The Study Day will be held at Birkbeck College, London and led by Jane Farrall and Sally Clendon.

The workshop will cover the rationale and principles underlying a balanced comprehensive approach to literacy instruction for all students. A range of skills that are critical for children who use AAC to develop conventional reading and writing skills will be targeted. Specific strategies, adaptations, and technologies will be outlined.

To find out more information and book your place, please click here.

I CAN announces new CEO

I CANThis summer I CAN’s CEO Virginia Beardshaw, CBE, announced she was stepping down after 10 years leading the 127 year old charity. I CAN are delighted to announce that Bob Reitemeier CBE will be their next CEO, taking up the role in January 2016.

Bob makes the transition from his role as Chief Executive of the Essex Community Foundation – one of the largest community foundations in the UK. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive of The Children’s Society for 10 years and was awarded a CBE for services to children in 2012. I CAN look forward to welcoming Bob as their new Chief Executive.

Find out more.

National Literacy Trust - State of the Nation and Impact Report 2014/2015
National Literacy Trust
National Literacy Trust are delighted to share that they have published a new State of the Nation and Impact Report for 2014/2015. The report provides a snapshot of literacy in the UK and showcases the impact their work has had on children and families in the UK at key moments of literacy development.

In the 2014/15 financial year, they brought a celebration of reading to London with Books about Town, which saw 50 book-shaped benches placed on the streets of the capital and raised awareness of the importance of reading for enjoyment in the UK and across the globe.
Furthermore they convened the National Literacy Forum, which brought together 19 charities and published the Vision for Literacy 2025 which received cross-party support. They have also played a key part in the Read On. Get On. campaign which launched in September 2015.

Read the report 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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