The Communication Trust Newsletter
September 2011


Hello, the 2011 national year of communication, is a campaign to increase understanding of how important it is for children and young people to develop good communication skills.

The campaign is run by The Communication Trust, a coalition of 40 leading voluntary sector organisations, in partnership with Jean Gross, the Governmentís Communication Champion. The campaign is sponsored by BT and Pearson Assessment and is backed by the Department for Education and Department of Health.

This newsletter provides updates on current developments in the world of speech, language and communication and on Hello.

September - Back to School with No Pens Day Wednesday

No Pens Day Wednesday is a brand new free initiative from The Communication Trust. We’re encouraging schools to spend time focusing on speaking and listening as a vehicle for learning. No Pens Day Wednesday takes place on Wednesday 28th September (although you can run it on any day that’s convenient) and so far we’re delighted to say that over 500 primary and secondary schools have registered to take part.No Pens Day

No Pens Day Wednesday has the backing of leading curriculum experts including Sir Jim Rose, Mick Waters, Robin Alexander and Andrew Pollard (who sits on the National Curriculum Review expert group) as well as Jean Gross, the Government’s Communication Champion for Children. They all recognise the fundamental role that speaking and listening plays in providing rich learning experiences and exciting teaching, as does Ofsted:

A common feature of the most successful schools in the survey was the attention they gave to developing speaking and listening (Removing Barriers to Literacy, Ofsted, 2010)”

By registering to take part you’ll receive everything you need to run the day including guidance on organising your No Pens Day Wednesday, comprehensive lesson plans for subjects across the year groups, activity templates that can be adapted for any lesson and information to share with colleagues and parents. By taking part, your school could also be in the running to win £1,500 of resources to help develop longer term speaking and listening activities.

Complete this form to register your school for No Pens Day Wednesday or visit for further information.

Times Education Supplement - TES

To tie in with September's 'Back to School' theme Hello has worked with the Times Education Supplement (TES) to produce a special 8 page Hello supplement Talk, Listen, Take Part.TES

Co-funded by BT and the Communication Champion, Jean Gross, the supplement features a number of schools that have developed effective strategies to develop their pupils speech, language and communication skills.

It will reach an audience of 430,000 and additionally through the TES website a further 2.9 million users.

A digital edition is available here.

Please signpost this link on your facebook, Twitter and blogs to help us spread the word.

Universally Speaking

Universally Speaking

This is a series of three booklets for professionals to show where children and young people are likely to be at with their communication at a given age. The first of this series was published earlier this year, for those who work with children aged 0-5, and is available to download from here on the Hello website. Universally Speaking

The second booklet, for those who work with children aged 5-11, is now available to download and order here.

The final booklet, for those who work with children and young people aged 11-18 is currently available to order from our website and will be available to download shortly.

These booklets have been produced with the support of Pearson Assessment, Hello sponsor.

August - Talk and Go

During August we launched Summer Talk – a downloadable pack with games and activities that support children’s communication skills when families are out and about this Summer. It includes fun and ‘easy to do’ activities for trips to the zoo, park and museum and contains games and challenges to keep kids entertained on car journeys and at home.

Partners from across the country, including Hello sponsor BT, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, Signalong and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust and Children’s Speech and Language Therapy team, have provided the activities as part of their support of Hello.

We would like to say a massive thank you to Fink, run by mother of four Lisa Warner, for their support this August. They created a month-long calendar of activities including a conversation booklet, tips and expert blogs from the likes of parenting expert Sue Atkins. You can find these at

Please click here to download Summer Talk.

If you have run August activities we would love to hear from you at

Shine a Light Awards update

Shine a LightWe are delighted to report that we have had a fantastic response to the Shine a Light 2011 Hello campaign awards with over 250 applications.

The Hello team and Pearson Assessment would like to thank everyone who applied for an award or encouraged others to do so. The number and standard of applications received has been has been high and it's amazing to see such incredible working being carried out across the country.

We have an impressive array of judges, spanning across a wide range of areas and expertise. These include young people, parents, professors, journalists and representatives from The Communication Trust’s consortium of voluntary organisations.

Amongst the 44 judges we have Jean Gross, Communication Champion; Dame Clare Tickell, Action for Children; Julie Dockrell from the Institute of Education; Lisa MacLeod from the Financial Times; Professor Neil Mercer from Cambridge University; Helen Moylett from the Early Learning Consultancy; Kamini Gadhok, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT); and Chris Pike, our young person representative on the Hello Operations Group.

The Shine a Light judges will be meeting on the 12th October at Pearson Headquarters in London to select the winners and two highly commended runners-up for each Award.

Provisionally, finalists will be notified on the 25th October and invited to attend the Shine a Light Awards Ceremony on 23rd November.

Bookmark the website for regular updates.

Coming up...

Support for October's Monthly Theme

In October, the Hello monthly theme is Not Just Words.  We will be focusing on children and young people who have little or no speech, or whose speech is difficult to understand. October is also International Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Month.  

If you haven’t already, download or order "Other Ways of Speaking" here – a information booklet for parents and professionals that provides information on the different ways children and young people communicate, how to support them and where to go for further information and help.

During October, the Hello campaign will be focusing on the work of key organisations in this area, such as Communication Matters and their member organisations.

Your support to raise awareness of this often misunderstood subject, and the organisations that can help, will make a big difference. If you are planning activities in October, please tell us about them by emailing

Hello Parliamentary Reception – request for help

Our major event in October is the national year of communication parliamentary reception, taking place on 19th October. This event will give us the opportunity to highlight the key successes of the Hello campaign and to recognise the enormous amount of work that has been put into the campaign across the country. 

This event is a great opportunity to show MPs and key sponsors our progress to date and ensure that we gain further support for the rest of the year and beyond. We want to showcase the fantastic things that have been going on, together with materials that have been developed to promote Hello and support children's communication development.

Help us bring Hello to life by sending us through leaflets, posters, information packs that you have developed along with any press releases, press coverage and photos that you may have seen/taken that we can showcase at this event.

Please email us copies at You can also post items to Sandra Telford, The Communication Trust, 8 Wakely Street, London, EC1V 7QE.

Help for November - Celebrating Communication

The theme for Hello in November is ‘Celebrating communication’. As you know, the Shine a Light awards are taking place in November, and we plan to have information on the people, settings and teams who have been shortlisted on the Hello website.

In addition to this, the Trust would like to showcase examples of how organisations are planning to get involved with the monthly theme for November, and how they are celebrating successes, big or small. It would be very useful to have the following:-

- Information on any activities, events or resources that you have created, or are intending to create, for November’s theme

- Information on how you support and celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity, e.g. how you include children and their families who have English as an additional language

- Any resources you have linked to the above bullet point e.g. tips for communicating with your child if you speak a language other than English

- Anything else that you think may link in with this theme

Please can you send this to Alison Marrs, Professional Advisor, as soon as possible to enable planning, and at the latest, by the end of September.

Charity of the Month - Radio in Schools

Radio in Schools is a safe and easy to use podcasting platform that promotes speaking, listening and creativity across the curriculum, and is supported by the national radio industry.

In a worldwide first, users can create content online through the simple Virtual Studio, and share it via the web. There is no need to download and install software and no technical knowledge is required.

Radio in Schools

Radio in Schools is aimed at infant, primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and youth organisations across the UK. The service won the Arqiva Social Action Initiative Award 2006 and was nominated for an NDL Radio Academy Award 2009 and BETT teaching and Learning Aware 2010.

Radio in Schools is supported by Global Radio - the UK's largest commercial radio group and home to the Heart network - TLT solicitors, BT, The National Literacy Trust and The University of the West of England. Radio in Schools is an independent, not for profit organisation and is a member of The Communication Trust Consortium.

You can view details on Podcasting Made Easy here or for further information visit

You can contact Radio in Schools on 0117 9005388.


Hello website


Hello facebook

Don't let disabled children pay the price for welfare reform

The Government has announced plans for a substantial cut to welfare support for disabled children under the Universal Credit. The new system will result in many of these children losing up to £1400 per year (£27 per week) compared to the current system - by the time a disabled child reaches 16, this could cost the family £22,000.

In total the Government estimates that 100,000 disabled children would lose out under this change - other estimates suggest the number could be considerably higher.

Financial support is crucial to help these families with the costs of raising a disabled child and manage their extra caring responsibilities. £27 is more than half the average family’s food budget - enough to mean the difference between a family meeting their child’s basic needs, and being left simply unable to cope.

25 major charities and other organisations have together launched a petition to call on the Government to change these damaging plans.

Please sign it now and promote it on your Facebook, Linked in and Twitter accounts.



Children's Language and Communication Needs Conference

The University of Sheffield and De Montfort University are organising a conference at the Halifax Conference Centre, The University of Sheffield on Saturday 15th October 2011, 9.45am - 3.30pm.

This conference aims to:
· Consider children with SLCN within the context of the 2011 green paper on SEN
· Explore processes for evaluating impact and outcomes of interventions, educational programmes and provisions for children with SLCN

The conference will be of interest for:
· Teachers, speech and language therapists and psychologists who are interested in evaluating impact and outcomes of interventions and provisions for children with language and communication needs within a school context
· Practitioners who want to know more about how new policies might impact on children with SLCN

For further details and to book a place go to:

Free resources to boost confident social communication available until 30th September

Children’s confidence specialist Kidz4Mation is offering free innovative resources to boost children’s social communication skills until 30th September.

Hundreds of schools, local authorities and NHS professionals downloaded and used the resources after they were announced in the July newsletter, so Kidz4Mation has continued to make them available for the start of the year. The resources will help you to:

· Build confident  social communication skills in children through stimulating and challenging role plays
· Help children to express their feelings openly and assertively
· Boost children’s presentation skills and their ability to speak to groups
· Develop positive body language

Six of the people who requested the resources over summer won one of Kidz4Mation’s positive picture books. Each book teaches a different life skill, which are also available as training courses for teachers.

Psychologist Dr Marie Stewart MBE comments, “Kidz4Mation’s work reminds us that a child’s emotional and social development is as important as their intellectual development for success at school and in later life.”
These resources have been developed to link in with the National Year of Communication.

Click here to get your free resources now.

Positive Parenting – supporting  parents of teenagers course - Skipton

A supportive group for parents of teenagers will run for 6 weeks on a Tuesday evening, starting on 27th September.

The sessions will be held at Craven Pupil Referral Service in Skipton, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm (5.45pm for coffee).

For more information and to book your place click here or contact Vanessa on 01609 798186 or 07967 311003

Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA) National Scholarship Scheme

The Schools White Paper, ‘The Importance of Teaching’ announced plans to introduce a competitive national scholarship scheme to support the professional development of teachers. The scholarship will let teachers choose professional development programmes and activities to suit their needs, supporting and strengthening their subject knowledge and skills relating to supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) , and giving them more control over their career.

For further information and the application form click here

For any further queries please email or call 0800 389 2500 if you would like to speak to someone about the scheme.

Applications to the scheme will close by the end of September 2011 and applicants will be notified by December as to whether they have been successful.

News from our members

The Communication Trust is a consortium of 40 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.

If your organisation would like to become a member of The Communication Trustís consortium please go to for more information or e-mail

Communication Matters
– Grants and Resources for AAC EventsCommunication Matters

The Hello theme for October is 'Not Just Words', focusing on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) - informing others of the need and the benefits of using AAC - and linking to ISAAC's International AAC Awareness Month.

Grants of £100 are available from Communication Matters if you need some help to finance an AAC event in your area.  Anyone may apply, at any time between March and September 2011.

Up to four grants will be available. To find out more please click here

Please let Communication Matters know of any AAC Events planned during the AAC Wave or at any other times during the Year, and they will add it to the Communication Matters' diary of AAC events. Simply email with the name of the event, date & time, a short description and contact email or website address where people can get more information.

If you require resources for an event, Communication Matters has 'Focus on' and other leaflets - email

Please let Communication Matters know how your event went, sending us photos that we can put on the website. Email

Contact a Family - Recruitment of Regional Parent Carer Advisor Posts, anContact a Familyd Parent Carer Associate Posts

Contact a Family is pleased to confirm that they were awarded the contract by the Department for Education to continue to support the development of parent carer participation, and parent carer forums.

Subsequently, they are recruiting for Regional Parent Carer Advisor posts and Parent Carer Associate posts.  They are particularly keen to encourage parent carers with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to consider applying for these positions.

As such, they would be grateful if you could share the link to these job adverts to relevant colleagues, or parent carer groups you may be involved with.

You can view the job description, employee specification for the Advisor Roles and the role profile for the Associate posts here.

Find a Voice 15th Birthday Party Find a Voice

Find A Voice provide advice and support to children and adults with a severe speech and language difficulty who may require some form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication; their families, carers and professionals working alongside them. They joined as Associate Members of the Consortium earlier this year.

11th October 2011 marks Find A Voice's 15th Birthday. As part of this celebration and to coincide with the October theme for Hello, Not Just Words, Find A Voice are inviting people to help them celebrate by spending two hours of their day being sponsored to communicate via a communication chart rather than speech. They will supply all participants with a chart of basic symbols to point to for communication, plus advice on other non-verbal means for participants to use.

They are hoping that this event will both raise money and awareness of the difficulties encountered by those who do not have a voice.

To find out more and to get involved, please email

You can visit the Find a Voice website at

I CAN - Dawn House School Students tour Olympic Park with the Communication TriathlonI CAN

Eight students and two staff members from Dawn House School in Mansfield were treated to an exciting tour of the Olympic Park recently. Dawn House is a special school run by I CAN, the children’s communication charity, for children aged 5 to 19 years with severe and complex speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The visit was arranged in recognition of the school’s support of the London 2012 Get Set educationprogramme and also following the launch of the UK’s first national Communication Triathlon for schools.

To choose one pupil from each year group to go on the trip, pupils were asked to complete the sentence “I would like to go and visit the Olympic Park because...”

Angela Child, I CAN’s Dawn House School Principal said, “The competition to visit the Olympic Park, created a real buzz across the whole school. It was a very special day for our staff and students.”

The Communication Triathlon is a series of active and fun-filled events for primary schools, intended to boost speaking and listening skills. The programme is free to take part in as it is supported by Openreach, BT’s local network business. 

Download your Communication Triathlon pack here.


The National Literacy Trust’s Talk To Your Baby 2011 ConferenceNLT

The National Literacy Trust’s Talk To Your Baby campaign is delighted to announce its 2011 conference, Foundations for Life: shaping babies' futures in an evolving landscape. The conference aims to bring together professionals and practitioners from across the early years sector to discuss current research and practice around securing high quality outcomes for babies and young children.

Excitingly, this year’s conference will feature a keynote speech from the author of the Early Years Foundation Stage Review, Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children, on improving practice through effective policy.

The conference takes place at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London, on Friday 4 November 2011. It is designed for anyone working with families with young children.

There is an early booking price of £207 for the first delegate and £189 for each additional delegate from the same organisation for those booking before 1 September 2011. After 1 September 2011 prices will be £230 per delegate and £210 for each additional delegate. There will be a host of other interesting and informative speakers - to find out more and to book your place click here

For information about exhibiting at the conference please contact Shawna Spoor on 020 7820 6265 or email


Hello is sponsored by:

BT and andPearson Assessment

Contact Us

If you would like to contact us please call 0207 843 2550 or email
The Communication Trust, 8 Wakley Street, London, EC1V 7QE


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