The Communication Trust Newsletter
June 2017


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 may be useful for schools and those working with children and young people. The catalogue is available to download on our website.

The Communication Trust relies on brilliant, local practitioners, our Local Champions, who are able to spread the word about the importance of speech, language and communication where it is needed most. If this sounds like you, and you would like to find how to become one of our 300+ Local Champion’s please email

In addition to this, The Communication Trust have developed a network of Language Leaders. Specifically for those in leadership roles, such as head teachers, deputy or assistant heads and other senior leaders, this network is for those who are able to share the importance of communication skills and effect change across their schools and networks from a strategic level. You can find out more about Language Leaders here or by emailing

We are particularly interested in recruiting Local Champions and Language Leaders who work across the 12 Government Social Opportunities areas. If you work in one of those areas we’d love for you to get in touch.


Win a set of Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools!

This year we have been funded by the Department for Education to produce a series of online learning videos to support practitioners to talk to parents about speech, language and communication. We will be working in partnership with Afasic (a UK based charity who support to parents who have children with speech, language and communication needs) to develop the videos which aim to support practitioners to effectively engage with parents, a learning need highlighted in our 2016 Professional Development Survey.

To inform this piece of work, we are running a short survey to gather your views and experiences of working with parents. As a thank you for taking part, you have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw to win a set of our Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools.

Please follow this link before Thursday 6th July to access the survey! 

Please share this link with your colleagues to help us gather as much feedback as possible. 


Displaying outcomes on What Works

LuCiDWhat Works is a database of evidenced interventions which support children and young people’s speech, language and communication, hosted by The Communication Trust.

The Communication Trust, in collaboration with the What Works Moderating Group, have developed a new set of graphics that display the effect size of interventions on different speech language and communication outcomes. Each display includes:

  1. the largest/strongest effect size;
  2. the smallest/weakest effect size; and
  3. the effect size for the primary outcome as stated by the researchers (in other words what the researchers were primarily looking at in their study).

These have been calculated from the research studies included for each intervention using Hedges G.

Visit the What Works database to view the graphics and guidance on how to interpret effect sizes.


Vacancy at The Communication Trust - Programme Manager

Salary: £32,366 per annum 
Full Time (35 hours per week) 
Fixed term contract to 31st March 2018 
Based in EC1, London

The Communication Trust leads a consortium of over 50 charities and community organisations with expertise in speech, language and communication. We work together to help people who work with children support the speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) of all children and young people.

We are seeking an experienced Programme Manager to join our small team in Central London to manage and deliver a number of high profile and complex projects across the Communication Trust’s programme of work with the Department for Education.  This will include the project management of work focused on speech language and communication in Further Education Settings and a programme of work around Initial Teacher Training. 

We are looking for someone who is experienced in successfully managing multiple projects and multiple stakeholders in a complex organisation.  

Apply by downloading the Job Description below and emailing your CV and covering letter to

I CAN reserves the right to close this role before the deadline if we receive a sufficient number of applications.
To read a full job description for the role, please click here.

The closing date for applications is 5pm, 6th July 2017 and interviews will take place in the week commencing 17th July 2017


Opportunities to get involved!

Are you a budding researcher? Or just want to improve your evidence based approach to practice?

The Communication Trust is developing a programme of academic support that will match an academic with a practitioner who would like to review how they currently or would like to begin to:

  1. Develop evidence for an approach or intervention for children and young people with speech language and communication needs (SLCN)
  2. Develop evidence for a training programme designed to increase knowledge within the education workforce in speech language and communication
  3. Use evidence for when decision making around SLCN in an education setting

The programme will enable a practitioner to access expert advice on how to better develop or use evidence around speech, language and communication for an education setting. The support will equate to accessing half a day of face to face time from an academic. Please note that places for this opportunity are limited.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, please e-mail us by 14th July at outlining:

  1. The support that you would like from an academic.
  2. The impact you think that participating in this programme will have on an education setting.

Do you have experience working children and young people who speak EAL?

Do you know anyone who has exemplary practice in supporting their speech, language and communication development? More than 1 in 6 primary school pupils in England are recorded as EAL. In London more than half of pupils are EAL, and this figure stands at more than 75% in some schools.

Last year, The Communication Trust consulted with more than 1200 members of the children and young people’s workforce about their professional development needs around supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication. One area in which nearly half of those who responded felt they needed additional professional development was in supporting EAL pupils with their speech, language and communication development.

Identifying and supporting speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in EAL pupils can be very challenging, so over the coming year The Communication Trust will be developing a series of case studies to support practitioners by providing examples of good practice in this area. If you have or know of any such examples we would be very grateful if you could please get in touch with Laura at

Local Authority workshops on supporting children and young people’s speech language and communication

In some areas of the country, 50% of children are entering school without the speech, language and communication skills needed for learning. Local Authorities (LA) have the power to transform the support that children with speech, language and communication needs receive locally.

The Communication Trust have been commissioned by the Department for Education to deliver workshops for LAs to provide the information and tools needed to;

  1. enhance support for children and young people with speech language and communication needs,
  2. enable them to reach their full potential, and
  3. to fulfil statutory duties in relation to the SEND Code of Practice (2014).

Workshops will take place in London and Manchester, to find out more see here.


No Pens Day Wednesday 2017 Activity Pack is now live!

NPDW 17We are delighted to announce that our brand new No Pens Day Wednesday 2017 activity pack is now live on our website and available to download here. The pack contains lots of information about how to get involved and plan your No Pens Day Wednesday, whatever your setting!

For No Pens Day Wednesday 2017, we plan to have an increased focus on involving Further Education (FE) settings with No Pens Day Wednesday. This carries on from our theme in 2014, where we successfully expanded the day by creating lesson plans and activities for early years settings and special schools. At present, although we know from our sign up data that FE settings take part in the day, our lesson plans only specifically cater for ages 0 - 16.

This year, that's set to change! In addition to creating new FE focussed lesson plans and activity packs, we will also have a specific focus on FE in our post event work, aiming to create a range of new FE case studies to sit alongside our existing case studies when evaluating the day.

In addition to this, we will be launching all of our new resources for this year in September, ready for the big day on October 4th 2017. To access these, as well as our huge suite of lesson plans and activity ideas from previous years, sign up and take part in No Pens Day Wednesday this October (or whenever works best for you!).


Help LuCiD investigate how smartphones affect communication development!

LuCiDThe way we communicate is changing rapidly. It is exactly 10 years ago this month (29th June 2017) that the first iPhone was released, and smartphones have transformed the way in which people keep in touch with each other and interact. There are very strong opinions on how this change in technology has affected our communication, but as yet very little real research investigating how screen time influences children’s learning. Smartphones bring both challenges and also huge opportunities for how we communicate and learn.

To address this evidence gap, researchers at the LuCiD Centre are investigating how availability of phones, tablets, TVs, and books affect children’s language development. They want to hear from caregivers of children aged 6 months to 3 years about experiences of language learning and exposure to different media, via a short survey. You can help contribute to this important research by completing the survey, or by sharing the link with your networks.



'The Secret Life of Us' - campaign by the Disabled Children's Partnership 

The Disabled Children's Partnership recently launched 'The Secret Life of Us' campaign to highlight the challenges that children and young people with disabilities and their families often face. The Disabled Children’s Partnership is a coalition of more than 35 organisations that have joined forces to fight for better health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families in England.

43% of the general public say they don’t know anyone who is disabled, and 97% of parents with disabled children say that people do not understand the challenges they face every day. 69% of families with disabled children say they receive no support in caring for their child. 

The goal of the campaign is to improve understanding of the issues faced by families on a day-to-day basis. The campaign aims to remove the barriers to people being able to relate to the lives of disabled children, creating greater understanding, affinity and empathy for them and their families.

To join the campaign and receive updates you can sign up to the Disabled Children's Partnership here.  


Natspec launches National Student Voice Parliament

Last month Natspec launched the National Student Voice Parliament, to bring together disabled learners from different colleges to discuss the issues affecting them. Natspec is the membership association for organisations which offer specialist provision for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The Parliament was launched in partnership with the National Union of Students, a confederation of students' unions in the UK. The aim of the Parliament is to promote student voice at colleges, and help learners to be heard at a national level.

The group recently met for the first time at Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham, and will meet twice a year, as well as running regular online forums and discussions. Some of the key issues students discussed at the recent meeting were difficulties with public transport, and concerns over funding for education. Funding problems often mean that students with disabilities don't find out until the last minute whether they have a college place.

To find out more about the Parliament, please email Dan Baxter at


Department for Education statistics - statements of SEN and EHC plans

The Department for Education (DfE) has recently published new data on SEN Statements and Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCPs). This data is drawn from School Census information collected in January 2017. Every year, schools complete a census about the pupils they have on roll, covering things like gender, whether they have free school meals (which is often used as a social disadvantage measure), ethnicity and special educational needs, etc. This data is therefore based on school report and should not be quoted as definitive research data.

From September 2014, any children or young people who were newly referred to a local authority for assessment were considered under the new EHC plan assessment process.

Children and young people with an EHC plan or statement of SEN
As of January 2017, there were 287,290 children and young people with an EHC plan or statement of SEN. This is broken down into 175,233 with EHC plans and 112,057 with statements of SEN.
The combined total has increased from January 2016 by 12.1%.

Transfer of statements of SEN to EHC plans
During the calendar year of 2016, 59,545 (32.7%) children and young people (out of a total of 182,106 children and young people with statements at January 2016) transferred from statements of SEN to EHC plans.
The DfE data also includes information on Statements and EHC plans by age group and type of school, the assessment process, the percentage issued within the 20 week time limit, and personal budgets and mediation cases. 

For further information please see the data 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 Trustís Consortium please go to or for more information email


Communication Matters National AAC Conference

Ambitious LogoThis year’s Communication Matters' annual AAC conference will take place on 10th -12th September at the University of Leeds. The conference will bring together those from a range of disciplines associated with AAC, including people who use AAC, parents, carers, professionals and suppliers of AAC equipment. The conference will also feature an exhibition of AAC products. 

The programme will be based around three aspects of evidence-based practice: 

    • Best Research Evidence (from independent organisations such as education, social or health services and universities)
    • Clinical & Professional Experience (presented by health or education professionals or those working for other organisations for people who use AAC)
    • Personal Stories & Preferences (would include personal experience stories, single case studies and examples of AAC in the wider community)

Please click here to find out more about the conference, including rates and how to book.

I CAN – revised Primary Talk training course is coming soon!

Communication Matters LogoI CAN is pleased to announce the launch of its revised Primary Talk Supporting Communication training course. Available to schools from September 2017, this whole staff training day can help schools to create an environment that develops the speech and language skills of all children, and supports effective school based provision for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). It improves staff knowledge and understanding of speech, language and communication and embeds learning through follow-up activities and a personal action plan.

Primary Talk training is aimed at teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs and school staff who have an active role in the classroom.

For more information about Primary Talk, contact or 0207 843 2515.


Bercow: Ten Years On - new surveys

The Bercow: Ten Years On review has launched its final push for evidence with a set of new surveys targeting specific audiences: 

A survey for children and young people
A specific activity has been launched to hear what children and young people think about the support they get. Views can be shared in a number of different ways:

  • a survey can be completed online;
  • paper versions of the survey can be competed and sent in;
  • children and young people can send in a vlog (share their views via a video recording);
  • a sorting task can be downloaded to enable those with limited communication skills to participate 

Commissioners and employers
Two additional surveys have been developed, tailored to capture the views of commissioners and employers. This will enable the review to:

  • gather information on how support for children and young people SLCN is planned and funded. They want to hear from anyone who commissions support for SLCN: local authority commissioners, Clinical Commissioning Groups, commissioners of specialist services or school leaders or business managers.
  • seek views on the communication skills of young people in the workplace; the views of employers in any business - from large to very small - are welcome

Information about all of the Bercow: Ten Years On surveys is available at Please do share information about these surveys as widely as you can.


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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