The Communication Trust Newsletter
September 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:

In addition to this, the Trust has recently developed a new network, Language Leaders, specifically for head teachers, deputy/assistant heads and other senior leaders who are able to emphasise the importance of communication skills within their schools and networks. You can find out more about Language Leaders here or by emailing


Events - Spotlight on the TES Show

TESThe Communication Trust is exhibiting at the TES Show, the UK's largest special educational needs show, on 7th and 8th 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!



New resource – ‘Developing and Using Evidence’

Developing and using evidence The Communication Trust (TCT) has launched a new web page, ‘Developing and Using Evidence’, a resource dedicated to helping the speech language and communication sector to take steps - big or small - towards understanding evidence and developing their own evidence base.

It will bring together a number of tools, including TCT’s new guide, ‘Building an approach to self evaluation’ aimed at small organisations delivering children’s speech, language and communication services. Other key features on the page include, a blog sharing thoughts and approaches on what makes good evidence and a platform to celebrate mini triumphs in developing evidence.The page can be accessed here.

As the web page is still in its early stages, we are open to hearing your thoughts on what you would find particularly helpful as well as contributions to the mini triumphs and blog at



The SLCF is getting a make-over!

The Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) sets out the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children and young people need in order to support their speech, language and communication. Practitioners can use the SLCF to evaluate their skills and knowledge in this area, to highlight their professional development needs and to find training or information to ‘fill the gaps’ identified by the SLCF.

Over the next few months we’re going to be developing the SLCF to streamline the content, bring it in line with current policy and practice, and make sure that it is fit for any future policy updates. This will mean some changes to information on the site, but existing courses on the SLCF will remain and it will continue to cover all aspects of children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

We’re very excited to be developing the online SLCF tool and are hoping it will improve the experience for users. We will be adding extra functions and creating a more interactive CPD tool which will allow practitioners to easily monitor and track their CPD progress.

We will be contacting everyone signed up to the SLCF in the coming weeks with more information about your account – so be sure to keep an eye out for an e-mail from us in your inbox and junk folders.



No Pens Day Wednesday - 5th October 2016

With less than one week to go until No Pens Day Wednesday 2016, we thought we'd remind you about the fantastic new resources now available online.

We have added over 25 new free lesson plans for primary, secondary, special and early-years settings, bringing our total number of Trust lesson plans on the site to over 200!

As part of this year’s theme, ‘No Pens at Home’, each new plan features a homework component. The aim of this is to encourage communication at home as much as possible - a child's home learning environment is hugely important and parents have a vital role in supporting speech, language and communication development. We have also updated our existing suite of resources so that there is at least one additional homework activity available per year group. 

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2016

Did you know that No Pens Day Wednesday also takes place during Dyslexia Awareness Week 2016? 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.

This year we have also released our new 2016 activity pack, 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 5th October 2016 (or whenever works best for you)! 



The Shine a Light Awards 2016 - Open for Submissions! The Shine A

SALThe Communication Trust and Pearson have joined forces to launch the fifth Shine a Light Awards. The Awards seek to recognise the incredible contributions of teams, settings and individuals across England who support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

The flagship Shine a Light Awards will return by popular demand in 2017 with a range of award categories. This includes a brand new award for SEN School or Group of the Year, highlighting the exceptional work carried out in SEND schools and colleges across the country.

The Shine a Light Awards will feature the following categories:

  • Early Years Setting of the Year Award
  • Primary School of the Year Award
  • Secondary School or College of the Year Award
  • The Communication Commitment School of the Year Award
  • SEN School or Group of the Year Award (New category for 2017)
  • Young Person of the Year Award
  • SLCN Innovation Award
  • Communication Champion Award
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Award
  • Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award

Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said: “All children and young people deserve the opportunity to develop good speech, language and communication skills so they can thrive and make friends. The Shine a Light Awards gives individuals, teams, settings and young people a unique opportunity to shout about their achievements and for this best practice to be recognised across the sector."

The awards website is now open for applications and further details on how to apply can be found at Applications close at 11:59 pm on the 12th January 2017.

The Shine a Light Awards ceremony will take place with a secret celebrity host on 23rd March 2017 in London.


New report by Family and Childcare Trust and Child Poverty Action Group

Family and Childcare Trust and the Child Poverty Action Group have launched a new report – Unfinished Business: Where next for extended schools? This report draws on surveys of more than 1,000 teachers and of 1,200 children and finds that extended schools are popular with children and schools, but lack of resources prevent them from expanding.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Extended school services are now the norm, with only 2 per cent of schools surveyed saying they did not offer any kind of provision.
  • Extended schools are popular with children and schools. Only 7 per cent of the children surveyed were not interested in extended school services. Head teachers were also considerably more likely to want to expand, rather than reduce, services.
  • Schools would like to expand their services and improve their availability for disadvantaged families, but are limited by a lack of funding, and a lack of space and facilities.

To read the full report please click here.



New school readiness resources from Home-Start UK

Home StartHome-Start UK has recently launched new school readiness resources for families as part of its Big Hopes Future project, which has been backed by the Department for Education.  

The programme uses Home-Start's national network of volunteers who tailor their support to the specific needs of the parents and children of each family they support.

The downloadable activity cards contain tips, ideas and activities to support families in establishing the daily routines needed for attending school and help children to start recognising numbers and letters. They cover the four categories of 'Reading and writing', 'Fun and games', 'Keeping clean' and 'Building routines' and also suggests additional books and resources that parents can use.

To download the resources and find out more information please click here.


Joseph Roundtree Foundation Report – We can solve poverty in the UK

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has recently launched a five-point plan to solve poverty in the UK. Some of the recommendations relating to children and families include:

  • Raising the child element of Universal Credit by 20% for families with children under five.
  • Supporting families with the costs of all their children rather than just the first two.
  • Developing effective prevention and early intervention networks in local areas
  • Increasing the quality, affordability and availability of childcare
  • Improving the educational attainment of children experiencing poverty

To read the full report 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’s Network Day - 3rd November

ACE CentreACE Centre, the national charity that provides expert advice and services in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT), is hosting a Network Day in Andover, Hampshire on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

The day will bring education and health professionals, suppliers, experts, families and individuals who use AAC and AT together to explore recent policy, service delivery changes and technological advances as well as provide the opportunity to network with peers and professionals.

The full-day event offers attendees the opportunity to hear from:

  • Individuals who use AAC on how technology has improved their life
  • ACE Centre experts and suppliers on the latest developments in the field of AT for communication and learning, with the opportunity to try out the latest equipment
  • ACE Centre specialists on the four blocks approach to literacy for children with complex communication needs as well as gaining advice on what to consider when matching communication needs with access
  • Mike Clarke, University College London on the Functional Near Vision Screening in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy
  • A Motor Neurone Disease Association representative on where you can get support at a national and regional level for those with motor neurone disease.

To find out further information about the event please click here.

If you have further enquiries, please email Katt Dunlop at ACE Centre on

Communication Matters - Project Coordinator vacancy

Communication MattersCommunication Matters are currently recruiting a Project Coordinator, two days a week over two years. The roles and responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating meetings, resources and activities related to direct engagement with beneficiaries, such as the Communication Access pilot
  • Recruitment of trainers including people who use AAC for this and other activities within CM
  • Marketing projects, evaluating & disseminating results
  • Producing and adapting business training & other resources
  • Updating the Board of Trustees regularly

The closing data for applications is 14th October and interviews will be held in early November. To find out further information about the vacancy please click here or contact Hilary Gardner/ Toby Hewson at

National Autistic Society – School Report 2016

NASNational Autistic Society have launched a new report based on surveys of around 1,000 parents, carers and children and young people on the autism spectrum. This report is part of the joint Every Child campaign, led by The National Autistic Society and Ambitious About Autism.

Some of the findings from the report include:

  • 74% of parents have not found it easy to get the educational support their child needs
  • 69% of parents said that their child had waited more than a year for support after concerns were first raised – and 16 per cent had waited more than three years
  • While 50% of parents say they’re satisfied with their child’s SEND provision, just 33% are satis​fied with health care and 30% with social care
  • 17% of parents say they appealed to the SEND Tribunal against their local authority’s decisions on their child’s education

To read the full report please click 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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