The Communication Trust Newsletter
June 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:


SLCF Baseline Survey

We are going to be making some improvements to the Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) from summer 2016. To help with this, we are seeking feedback on the current online SLCF tool. Your feedback will support our SLCF improvement work, and help us to evaluate the changes that we make.

The SLCF is aimed at anyone and everyone who works with children and young people, and sets out the skills and knowledge needed by practitioners to support the speech, language and communication development of all children, including those with communication needs.

We would very much appreciate your feedback if you have used the SLCF, either as an individual or as a group.
Our short survey will be open from 20th June until 1st August and by leaving your details you could be in with a chance of winning a £50 Speechmark voucher!

Access the survey here:

Please do share the link with your colleagues who have used the online SLCF.



National Voice Box Joke Competition for Schools – This Autumn

Are you a parent, teacher or speech and language therapist working in a school? If the answer is ‘yes’ then why not bring laughter and fun into a classroom near you by encouraging teachers you know to hold a Voice Box Joke Competition for pupils in the Autumn Term?

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and The Communication Trust are inviting mainstream and specialist schools across England, Scotland and Wales to hold joke competitions in October and November to find their pupils’ funniest joke.

Schools should submit their funniest joke to the RCSLT by 1 December 2016 for a chance to go through to the Grand Final next year at Mr Speaker’s House, Westminster, London.

The pupil with the ultimate winning joke will receive an iPad mini, while two runners-up will each receive national book tokens worth £50.

Good communication skills can have the most profound and positive impact on our lives – our social and emotional development, behaviour, learning and educational attainment. They also affect how we interact with other people, understand them and, in turn, how we are understood.

All children need support to build their communication skills and confidence and some need additional specialist help to speak and understand what is being said to them. So go on, get involved with Voice Box and help make a difference to children’s lives.    

For information on how to run a competition and a submission form, visit:



Reminder - Professional development survey and prize draw opportunity from The Communication Trust

Are you interested in entering a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher? The Communication Trust is seeking the views of those who work with children and young people about their experiences of professional development opportunities around speech, language and communication and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

We’ve developed a short survey to gather the views of a wide range of professionals including teaching assistants, teachers, school nurses, youth justice professionals, health visitors and early years practitioners. We want to hear from everyone, whether you’ve never had any CPD or initial training around children and young people’s communication, or have accessed a number of development opportunities in this area, your views are vital to our work.

Please follow this link before 15th July to access the short survey and enter the £50 Amazon voucher prize draw –

Once you’ve completed the survey, please do forward the link onto all of your relevant colleagues to help us gather as many views as possible.


NASEN - Focus On SEND training

NasenNASEN have recently launched a free online course - Focus On SEND. The course aims to help teachers and educational practitioners working across the 0-25 age range to develop high quality practice to better meet the needs of their learners with SEND.

It is based on the evidence of what constitutes good continuing professional development (CPD) and so takes a practice- led, enquiry-based and collaborative approach.

To read more, and access this free training click here.


New report on the impact of the 30-hour entitlement on early years education and childcare

A new report from the think tank CentreForum has highlighted that the 30 hour entitlement policy may mean that children from disadvantaged backgrounds end up with worse, rather than better, access to high-quality early-years education.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Following the introduction of the 30-hour childcare entitlement, Tax-Free Childcare, and Universal Credit, it is expected that a two parent family on the national living wage and earning £19,000 per year to receive 20 per cent less childcare subsidy for a child aged 3 or 4 years than a two parent family with annual earnings of £100,000, meaning that those on higher incomes are the main beneficiaries.
  • The policy also risks access to early education for the most disadvantaged children. Not only do children of parents on low incomes not qualify for the entitlement, but there is a danger that greater competition for places could result in these children struggling to access even their core entitlement to 15 hours per week of early education.

To read the full report please click here.


Family and Childcare Trust - Holiday Childcare Survey

Family and Childcare TrustFamily and Childcare Trust are publishing their annual Holiday Childcare Survey on Thursday 21 July 2016 which will detail the average price of holiday clubs and other formal childcare during the school holidays, as well as its availability in England, Scotland and Wales.  In 2015, the Holiday Childcare Survey showed that parents were struggling to juggle work, school holidays and summer childcare. The report can be found here.

This year they want to bring parents’ voices into the report and are looking for real life stories of how parents cope during the school holidays. Parents who are struggling to afford or find childcare, families who have to use shift-parenting or the help of relatives and also, parents who are happy with the arrangements they have over the school holidays. They are looking for families who want to share their experiences with them (as written case studies) and also families who would be happy talking to the media.

If you would be interested in sharing your experience please contact Iris Bano at or 020 7940 7537.



DfE data on EHC Plans and statements of SEN maintained by local authorities in England released

The Department for Education has released statistics relating to the numbers of SEN statements and/or education health and care (EHC) plans up to January 2016.

The data is drawn from the SEN2 survey, which Local Authorities (LAs) complete annually to report on all statements of special educational needs (SEN) and EHC plans issued during the previous calendar year.  EHC plans have only been reported on since 2014.
The data shows that:

  • 74,210 statutory EHC plans and 182,105 statements of SEN were maintained by local authorities as at January 2016 (totalling 256,315 plans and statements).
  • This represents a 13% increase between January 2010 (228,220 plans) and January 2016, with numbers increasing each year.
  • In 2015 24,655 new EHC plans and 3,270 new statements of SEN were issued by local authorities (totalling 27,925 plans and statements). This is an increase in the numbers in 2014 (27,140) but a decrease from 2013 (29,110).
  • The percentage of EHC plans issued in 2015 within the guide time frame (20 weeks) was 46.5%. This shows a decrease from 89% in 2014.
  • The percentage of statements of SEN issued in 2015 within the guide timeframe (26 weeks) was 59.2%. This shows a decrease from 64.3% in 2014.

Please click here to read the full statistical first release 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


Barnardo's - New baby brain workout launched

BarnardosBarnardo's has published a 'baby brain workout' which shares simple activities parents can do with their baby or toddler to support their early communication skills. 

The activities are based on 'Five to Thrive' building blocks of talk, play, relax, cuddle and respond. The building blocks help children aged 0-5 grow up healthy and happy by building their communication skills, helping them learn how to get on with and understand others and manage their personal feelings.

Please follow this link to download the free baby brain workout.

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 11th September 2016 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 29th July 2016.

National Literacy Trust – New early years resources to support practitioners to use technology

National Literacy TrustThis month the National Literacy Trust published a range of early years resources to support practitioners to use technology in their settings. The resources were created as part of the Helping Early Language and Literacy Outcomes (HELLO) programme. Funded by the Department for Education, HELLO worked with practitioners in more than 70 early years settings across the county to look at how technology can help to develop pre-school children’s early communication, language and literacy skills.

They have produced video case studies for practitioners highlighting best practice for using touch screens and a range of planning templates and activity sheets for use in early years settings.

To access the free resources please click here.

The Makaton Charity - Sign of the Week!

MakatonThe Makaton Charity have launched a new campaign to raise awareness and encourage people to join in and have fun with Makaton!  Each week, they reveal a new Sign of the Week video which shows the Makaton symbol and sign for that week.  You can join in by sharing the sign or even better, upload photos/videos of you making the sign to your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #wetalkmakaton.  Your video will then be featured on their video wall at!

Be the first to hear about the new signs each week by subscribing to the Sign of the Week news alerts at

The Makaton Charity says:

We have been developing the Makaton language programme for nearly 40 years. And in that time we've made a huge difference to thousands of lives. Now we want to help even more people. We want to break down the isolation people feel when they can't speak and help them feel more connected to the world around them and give them a voice. But we can only continue to help people if we reach more people. To do that, we needed to find our own voice so we can inspire people about our mission and what we stand for. And communicate what we want to say, more clearly. Quite simply, our new brand is all about communicating what Makaton is and how easy it is to use. It's a rallying invitation to start, join in and get talking!

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:
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