The Communication Trust Newsletter
May 2016


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).

We have developed a catalogue that provides information on the products and services available from our Consortium that are useful for schools and those working with children and young people. The catalogue is available to download on our website.

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, find out more about how to become a Local Champion for The Communication Trust.

For more information, please email:


Platform 3 for Childminders Independent Evaluation report is now available!

Platform 3 is an innovative, accessible and cost effective online learning route for delivering and undertaking the Level 3 accredited qualification: Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication.

Following the success of the 2013-2015 pilot project, The Communication Trust was awarded further funding through the Department for Education VCS Grant Scheme for 2015-2016.  We worked with PACEY to tailor the existing delivery mechanisms of the qualification to address the specific needs of childminders.

We are delighted to announce that the independent evaluation report for Platform 3 for Childminders is now available, to access the report please click here. Some of the key findings from the report are highlighted below:

  • Almost all (94%) of the practitioners surveyed at the end of the qualification felt that the qualification had enabled them to feel more confident in supporting children’s speech, language and communication development.
  • The proportion of childminders who felt ‘quite confident’ or ‘very confident’ in their ability to discuss a child’s strengths, weaknesses and needs with their parent/carer increased from 62% before the qualification to 100% after the qualification.
  • There were statistically significant increases in the frequency of good practice around speech, language and communication being demonstrated by childminders between the start and end of the qualification.

Interested in Platform 3?
Platform 3 is now available to all those who work with all children and young people from different sectors across the workforce.

To find out more about completing or delivering the Award, please visit or email us at



State of Education report

The State of Education is an annual report published by The Key, an information network for school leaders. The report can be found here.

The report is based on the findings of a survey conducted with over 2000 school leaders. This year a key issue reported by school leaders was challenges around pupils arriving at school without the skills they need to learn, including speech, language and communication skills specifically.

Our Director, Octavia Holland provided a comment on these findings, which The Key has featured on page 20 of the report: Commenting on The State of Education, a report from The Key, Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust says:

It is deeply worrying what this report shows, that too often children are arriving at school lacking the basic skills they need to thrive. When asked the reasons for this lack of school readiness, 78% of Primary Headteachers responded that one of the most common reasons is due to delayed speech.

We know that early language is crucial to a child's development and it underpins a child's ability to learn, form good relationships and achieve their potential, government needs to take note of these findings and review support for language for under 5s. 

The Communication Trust believes a relentless push for high quality childcare, stronger opportunities for supporting a child's language development before they reach school and better support for parents are essential, particularly for the most disadvantaged.



The Reception Baseline Assessment and Beyond Measure

In April 2016 the Department for Education announced that the reception baseline assessment will not be formally introduced in September 2016, following a comparability study of the 3 approved reception baseline assessments. Schools that wish to can still elect to use the reception baseline assessment; however it will no longer be a statutory requirement for schools.

For more information about the assessment, approved providers and recent comparability study, please see the Department for Education website here.

While the baseline assessment process will not be a requirement for schools from September 2016, The Communication Trust believes that it is still important to consider children’s speech, language and communication development as part of getting to know pupils at the start of and throughout their reception year.

Beyond Measure can therefore still be a useful resource for schools to support them to:  

•  Understand more about speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and the importance of early identification

• Think about next steps for children where observations or any summative or formative assessment highlight concerns with speech, language and/or communication

• Understand that speech, language and communication are foundation skills, linked to many other areas of the EYFS areas of development

Beyond Measure can be downloaded for free from our website here.


Job vacancies at the Trust

We currently have two vacancies at the Trust, further information about each role can be found below.

Professional Advisor

Annual Salary: Therapy Band 4.1, £31,750 + £3,334 London weighting allowance
Fixed term to 31st March 2017 - possible extension subject to funding
Full Time (35 hours per week)
Based in EC1, London

Lead Professional Advisor (maternity leave cover)

Annual Salary: Therapy Band 4.4, £35,387 + £3,334 London weighting allowance
Fixed term to 31st March 2017 (maternity leave cover) - possible extension subject to funding
Full Time (35 hours per week)
Based in EC1, London

If you want to be part of a fantastic team to help delivery of our strategy, we need an excellent Professional Advisor and Lead Professional Advisor to work collaboratively delivering our government funded contract.

Coming from a speech and language therapy or educational background and with experience working with children and/ or young people and the children's workforce, both roles will provide high-quality expert advice, develop accessible information, learning materials and resources and ensure effective evaluation of this work.

To apply for either of these posts, please complete the application form in the attached pack which can be found on the I CAN website - and return it to by the closing date.

The closing date for applications is 1st June 2016 at 5pm and interviews will be held on 6th and 7th June 2016.


Ofsted and CQC publish SEND local area inspection framework and guidance

CQCOfsted and CQC have released the framework and guidance for inspecting the effectiveness of local areas fulfilling their new duties for supporting children and young people with SEND.

OfstedThe guidance includes explicitly the requirements for inspectors to look at local areas’ support to children and young people in the SEN support category and also includes clearly that the inspection should look at joint commissioning arrangements and the local offer. There is a useful reference also to the role school census data should play to identify possible inconsistencies in the identification of children and young people’s needs.

The framework and guidance also provides clarity about how the inspection outcome will be reported and makes clear that each local area’s inspection report (which will be in the form of a letter) will be available publicly after the inspection on the Ofsted, CQC and local authority websites. 

The framework can be accessed here and the guidance can be accessed here.


Council for Disabled Children and KIDS are recruiting young people

CDCCDC and KIDS are recruiting for a national group of young people to advise on young people’s participation. They are looking to recruit up to 12 disabled children and young people and those with SEN aged 14-25 years from across England.

The national group will meet in London 3 times a year and there will also be an opportunity for 6 group members to attend a further 3 meetings in regional areas each year. The group will:  KIDS

  • Work together to share their views and experiences of support and services
  • Give feedback and advice
  • Talk to professionals about how to make positive changes to improve things for all disabled young people
  • Support our work to ensure all disabled children and young people can be involved in decisions about their care and support

To apply please complete the application form which can be downloaded here

The deadline for applications is 1pm on Friday 3rd June 2016.

The first national young people’s meeting will be held in London on Saturday 2nd July 2016.


Reading and Spelling: Evidence Informed Practice in the Classroom Conference

SENJIT (Special Educational Needs Joint Initiative for Training) are holding a Reading and Spelling: Evidence Informed Practice in the Classroom conference on 13th June at the UCL Institute of Education (IoE). It will be an exciting opportunity to hear about the latest research, the impact for practitioners and the development of partnerships between UCL IoE, schools, local authorities, federations, alliances and SEN professionals.

This full day event will provide an array of presentations by leading experts from UCL IoE and leading educational research institutes across the UK. To find out more information about the presentations please click here to download the flyer.

Following the conference, there will be a Literacy, Language, Numeracy, Reading & Practice summer lecture. To find out more information about the lecture please click here.

To book a place at the conference, please click here.

The full conference programme can also be found 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 Network Day - 23rd June 2016

ACE CentreThe ACE Centre Network Days provide professionals, parents and carers interested in the uses of Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for people with physical and/or communication disabilities, the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Held twice a year in both the North and South Centres, the Network Days incorporate a varied programme of topics for discussion and demonstration, whilst also providing the opportunity for networking with colleagues working in the same field.

Bookings for the latest Network Day on 23rd June in Oldham are now open. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please complete and return this booking form if you would like to attend. The cost of the day is £85 including refreshments and a buffet lunch. We can offer a reduced rate of £25 to parents and individuals who use AAC.

Details of the agenda are available here.

Barnardos - ‘Promoting secure attachments’- Five to Thrive: Frequently asked questions webinar

BarnardosIn this webinar, Debbie Koroma, the Implementation Manager for the Early Intervention with Families strategy at Barnardo's, puts some frequently asked questions about the Five to Thrive approach to Julie Revels, Interim Training Director at Kate Cairns Associates (KCA), who created the Five to Thrive resources. The webinar will take place on Friday 10th June from 1:30-2:30pm.

Five to Thrive is a relationship based model and approach for promoting positive parenting and secure attachment. It was developed in 2011 by KCA as part of their involvement in Hertfordshire's My Baby's Brain initiative. In 2013 it was adopted by Barnardo's to sit at the heart of their Early Intervention with Families strategy. To date over 1200 Barnardo's practitioners from a broad range of children's services have received training and have gone on to use Five to Thrive to develop structured interventions as well as embedding the model and approach within their day-to-day work with children and families.

To register your place at the webinar please click here.

New NDCS campaign - Right from the Start

NDCSThis month the National Deaf Children's Society launched a new campaign report, called Right from the Start. The report which is available to download here, celebrates 10 years of new born hearing screening in England.

The report calls on the Government, local authorities and health bodies to work together and make a commitment to ensure high quality support is in place as soon as a child is diagnosed as deaf. It makes five broad recommendations:

  1. Action is taken to protect and invest in paediatric audiology services and support them to become accredited under the Improving Quality in Physiological diagnostic Services (IQIPS) programme. 
  2. The Government and local authorities continue to protect funding for specialist education services for deaf children.
  3. Local authorities review the provision of support with communication available to families in their area to ensure that the varying needs of families can be met at any one time.
  4. Local authorities ensure that radio aids are more readily available to parents of deaf children so that they can support their child's spoken language and communication development.
  5. The Government should take action to ensure there is sufficient and effective provision across all local authorities for specialist childcare provision for deaf children, and that mainstream staff receive the training and advice they need to effectively include deaf children. This should include action to support parents with transport costs and to improve the listening environments of childcare settings.


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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