The Communication Trust Newsletter
July 2013


The Communication Trust is a coalition of nearly 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).

Our newsletters contain information about the work of The Trust, how we're continuing the legacy of the 2011 Hello campaign and updates from our Consortium members.


No Pens Day Wednesday is back! Wednesday 9th October 2013

NPDWNo Pens Day Wednesday, a national speaking and listening event organised by The Communication Trust, is now in its third year. The first event took place as part of the 2011 Hello campaign and last year’s event saw 1,100 schools take part! This year on Wednesday 9th October we’re hoping to make it even bigger and better, getting even more pupils putting down their pens and picking up their language.  

To find out more and get ideas for planning your No Pens Day we have produced the 2013 activity pack available to download here. The activity pack provides more information about why schools should get involved with No Pens Day Wednesday, what it involves, some useful guidance for teachers about supporting effective talk in the classroom as well as a handy timeline to help you plan your day.

Alongside the activity pack, we are producing some exciting new materials to support schools getting involved in No Pens Day Wednesday 2013. These will be available via our website shortly and we’ll be in touch by email to all those who register their interest once the new resources are available. We also currently have all the resources produced for last year’s event available on our website to help you start your planning early should you want to.

To access these and the new for 2013 resources as they become available, please register your interest on our website here.

Please help us to make the day as successful and wide reaching as possible by circulating this one pager to any of your networks who may be interested in getting involved in No Pens Day Wednesday on Wednesday 9th October 2013.


Local Co-ordinator feedback and new ‘Local Champion’ role

Our army of Local Co-ordinators astounded us with their never-ending enthusiasm, determination and creativity throughout the national year of communication, Hello, when for many of you this was, and still is, a time of uncertainty.

As we all know, this is a vital time to be promoting the importance of speech, language and communication at a local level. The Trust relies on champions like you who are able to be spread the word where it's needed most. There is now the chance to sign-up to be a new ‘Local Champion’, which takes the Local Co-ordinator role one step further.

Your involvement is crucial to meet the aims of The Communication Trust and to ensure the importance of children and young people’s speech, language and communication continues to be recognised. More information on the new Local Champion role will be issued shortly, and we would be grateful if you could complete this short survey to help us shape a role that is both valuable and suitable.

We want to thank you for your continued hard work and contribution to such an important cause.
To access the short survey, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Harker


Spotlight on SLCN in Westminster

Conservative MP and strong supporter Robert Buckland led a 90 minute Westminster Hall debate on speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) on Wednesday 19th June. The debate was prompted by a request from The Communication Trust and provided an opportunity for MP's from across the house to debate this specific issue.

The debate was well attended and both the Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson and his Labour shadow counterpart, Sharon Hodgson MP took part. Robert Buckland MP addressed a number of issues that The Trust raised in its briefing note prepared for MPs on the third reading debate - to access the briefing please click here.

Issues included specific concerns around the issue of SLCN identification and support for young people in the youth justice system, children's education workforce development and training.

Wednesday 19th June also saw the Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson MP attend a meeting of the SLCN working group, chaired by Paul Maynard MP with support from The Communication Trust. This meeting gave the opportunity for representatives from the Communication Consortium and others in the sector as well as interested parliamentarians and peers to probe the Minister on aspects of the Children and Families Bill that they have concerns about.

The Trust will be following up with all the MPs and Peers who got involved in both the Westminster Hall Debate and the SLCN working group over the next few weeks to ensure the quality debates that came out of this day will positively influence the progress and content of the Children and Families Bill.

Resource of the month - Summer Talk

WavingSummer Talk is a downloadable pack with games and activities that support families to develop their children's communication skills when they are out and about this summer.

Summer Talk includes fun and 'easy to do' activities for trips to the zoo, park and museum. It also contains games and challenges to keep the children entertained on car journeys and at home.

Partners from across the country - 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 these activities to make up this fun guide.

Please click here to download Summer Talk.


Module Leader required for two online Masters modules in Speech, Language and Communication Needs

The Speech, Language and Communication Needs modules have been designed by the academic and professional team at Real Training, with input from The Communication Trust. The modules are part of the SEND Programme which is made up of PG Certificates, PG Diplomas and a Masters in Education (SEND). These practice-led learning modules are quality assured by Middlesex University and candidates receive a Middlesex University award upon successful completion. Information about the MEd SEND programme is available at

Real Training are currently seeking a Module Leader with expertise in speech, language and communication to join their academic and professional team . You will have a Masters qualification and experience of tutoring or training education professionals. Whilst you will work in a freelance capacity we will endeavour to ensure you feel part of the team. The role could expand as we often have additional work for skilled and experienced SEND professionals.

For more information call 01273 35 80 80 and ask for Siobhan Mellor, Programme Director ( or Dr Mark Turner, Co-Director of Academic and Professional Studies (


Early Support resources and materials feedback surveys

Early SupportEarly Support are gathering feedback on the Early Support resources and materials via short surveys to help inform the next stages of work.

Each survey should take no more than 10 minutes and there are three different surveys for different audience bases (see below). If you have used the Early Support resources and materials please fill in the survey most appropriate to you. If you haven’t used them yourself but know networks or colleagues who have please pass this information on to your networks, and include it in newsletters, websites etc.

Details of the surveys are set out below and are also available on the Early Support website here.  

For parent/carers, a young person or professional, please click here to complete your survey.

To feedback on behalf of a group, please click here to complete your survey.

To feedback for the Early Years Developmental Journal, please click here to complete your survey.


Time to Talk offer

Time To TalkJean Gross, the former government Communication Champion for children, has gathered together the great practice she saw during the national year of communication (the Hello campaign), and more broadly in her two years in post, in a new book called Time to Talk.

In the book Jean summarises research on what helps children and young people develop good language and communication skills, and highlights the importance of key factors at home, in early years settings and in schools: a place to talk, a reason to talk and support for talk. There are case studies and descriptions of whole-class approaches to developing all children and young people’s speaking and listening skills, ‘catch-up’ strategies for those with limited language, differentiating the curriculum for those with difficulties, ways in which settings and schools can develop an effective partnership with specialists to help children with more severe needs, and examples of good practice in supporting parents/carers to develop their children’s language skills.

Jean would like to say a special thank you to The Communication Trust’s members for the inspiring practice she has featured in the book.

The book is available at a discount for The Communication Trust newsletter subscribers. Please click here and when ordering the book please enter the code ACED13.





New RALLI films

RALLIIn April and May, RALLI, created to Raise Awareness of Language Learning Impairments, uploaded the following new films to their YouTube channel:

Supporting families: The role of AFASIC
Linda Lascelles, Chief Executive of Afasic and a parent of a child with specific language impairment, explains what the charity does. Afasic is a parent-led organisation to help children and young people with speech and language impairments and their families.

For more information go to: or contact the parents' helpline: 0845 3 55 55 77.

It's not your fault
This film is for young children with SLI. Professor Gina Conti-Ramsden and Bunny talk to children to explain they have not done anything wrong and that lots of other children have the same difficulties. 

Talking about friendships: Megan and Eleshia
Megan has some difficulties talking with her peers but her good friend Eleshia offers support. Megan's speech and language therapist explains the role of language within friendships and how SLI can affect communication between friends.

Consortium member of the month - Language for Learning

The Communication Trust is a consortium of nearly 50 organisations and each month we highlight one member and the work they're doing...

Language for LearningLanguage for Learning provides training and resources to support all those working with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, and covers the whole age range from early years through to secondary.

Developed in 2000 by Sue Hayden, specialist teacher and Emma Jordan, specialist speech and language therapist, Language for Learning is a Worcestershire joint health and education non-profit making project.

All courses are led by a speech and language therapist and a specialist teacher providing a dual perspective and specialist knowledge. They support theory into practice through reflective tasks and aim to develop use of strategies at a universal and a targeted level. A participant handbook containing information and photocopiable materials to support strategy suggestions is supplied with each session.

Courses are mapped on to the Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) meeting a range of competencies at both a universal and enhanced level. Language for Learning is currently working with The Communication Trust to develop a pathway for providing accreditation for schools following whole school training.

A recent survey of Language for Learning trainers has provided some really positive and enthusiastic feedback about the impact it is having in local areas. Full report to be published shortly. Resources have been developed as a direct result of the requests made by our course participants and can be purchased via the online Language for Learning catalogue.

Language for Learning provides training throughout the UK including tailor made courses to address specific needs as well as training to enable authorities to become licensed themselves so they can deliver their own training.

Find out more at or follow them on Twitter @LforLearning


The British Academy of Childhood Disability research

The British Academy of Childhood Disability currently has a survey around research priorities for children affected by neurodisability; we’d be really keen to have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and the priorities for children with SLCN represented in the responses, so if you can, please do take the time to respond around issues for children with SLCN.

The aim of the Childhood Disability Research Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) is to identify the unanswered questions about the effectiveness of interventions for children and young people affected by neurodisability from both patient and clinical perspectives. Interventions can take many forms; they include mainstream and alternative treatments and therapies, social interventions, changes to the environment, and any other ways we could change something to make a difference.

The plan is to then to prioritise those unanswered questions that young people, parents and clinicians agree are the most important to create a ‘top 10’ important research topics.

The objectives of the Childhood Disability Research PSP are to:  
- Identify potential partner organisations and individuals and encourage their participation
- Encourage families and clinicians to identify uncertainties about the effectiveness of treatments
- Agree by consensus a prioritised list of those uncertainties, for research
- Publicise the results of the PSP and process
- Take the results to research commissioning bodies to be considered for funding

The survey link can be accessed through the website here or directly here.


Lampton School - Communication Centre opening

Lampton School openingEdward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, has opened a new on-site Communication Centre at Lampton comprehensive school in Hounslow this week to benefit pupils with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) from across the borough.

Lampton School, a Department for Education Outstanding Academy and Teaching School, has unveiled the Michael Sterne Communication Centre offering 16 places for pupils with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and benefitting a further 90 pupils with SLCN.

It has been named in honour of Michael’s long-standing contribution on the governing body at Lampton and in particular for his exceptional work supporting children with special educational needs.

The opening was also attended by The Trust's Professional Director Wendy Lee and more information can be found here.

News from our members

The Communication Trust is a consortium of nearly 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.

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

Communication MattersCommunication Matters - Call for nominations for Trustees

Do you think Communication Matters does a good job? Are there things you feel it should be doing? By joining the Board of Trustees you have an opportunity to influence the development of Communication Matters as an organisation.

This year there will be 4 vacancies on the Board of Trustees - several Trustees are standing down as their term of office will be completed this year (one will be standing for re-election). Election for these new Trustees will take place at the Annual Meeting on Sunday th15 September 2013 at The University of Leeds, during the Communication Matters CM2013 National AAC Conference.

If you are a current individual member of Communication Matters (or are applying for Individual membership), have time to devote to work as a Board member, and want to help Communication Matters develop and further its aims and objectives, then please download the nomination form and return it to us by Friday 9th August 2013.

Please click here to download further information and the nomination form.

Contact a FamilyContact a Family - Free workshops in England

Contact a Family continues to offer free sessions for parents of children with disabilities or additional needs and professionals who support them.

For parents and carers sessions include:

  • coping and support
  • challenging behaviour
  • benefits
  • helping your child to sleep
  • stress management
  • and for professionals we look at how you can support families and how Contact a Family can help you.

If you would like to find out more information or wish to book an information session, please contact their regional teams:

Or send an enquiry to their information team through their online enquiry form.

ElklanElklan - Communication Friendly Schools Project

A two year project to promote Communication Friendly Schools has just been completed with funding from The Communication Trust. Elklan CIC in collaboration with Open College Network South West (OCNSW) and Afasic have used accredited training to enable schools to increase capacity and so meet the speaking and listening needs of all children but especially those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The outcomes from the project included:

  • 4,267 staff in 131 schools are trained to support all children’s communication more effectively including those with SLCN.
  • 259 teaching assistants have achieved the Elklan level 3 qualification in ‘Speech and Language Support for 5-11s’.
  • 262 senior teachers (one being the SENCO) have been trained using the Elklan/Open College Network(OCN)  level 4 accredited course, Speech and Language Support for Communication Friendly Schools.
  • 3,746 staff in the schools, including lunchtime organisers, support staff, welfare offices and administrative personnel received the Communication Counts course.
  • 38 schools have achieved full accreditation, the rest will complete soon.
  • 100% of teaching assistants’ (TA’s) reported a significant improvement in their ability to support the communication skills of children and to share their knowledge with others.
  • 100% of teachers will achieve the level 4 qualification in July 2013.
  • 91% of SENCO’s/teachers rate themselves as confident or very confident in training and supporting staff in the school to implement key strategies to support speech and language.
  • 74% of teaching assistants rated the strategies learnt as being either effective or very effective with the children.
  • 90% of teachers valued appropriate interactions strategies more highly post training (57% pre-training).
  • 77% of questions children were asked were accurately differentiated post training for all in the classroom.
Full reports can be viewed here.

I CAN - Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) provides evidence of success

ELDPThree case studies from Bolton, Cheshire East and Northamptonshire are showing the emerging impacts of the ELDP: on practitioners and their support for under 3s’ speech, language and communication (SLC) development; on parents’ awareness of the impact of SLC on longer term outcomes, and the important role they play; and on children’s progress with SLC development. Click here to download the findings in more detail.

For experienced practitioners wanting to develop their skills further and gain a level 4 qualification, ELDP has teamed up with Elklan to deliver ‘Speech and Language Support for 0-3s’. For more information about this free course, please contact Sally McAlister on 020 7843 2562 or

MakatonThe Makaton Charity - Tell us what you think

The Makaton Charity wants to learn more about the children and adults who need to use Makaton to communicate and the people who share their lives. Learning about you and your Makaton experience will help us to give the best possible service in the future.

We would be really grateful if you could take 5 minutes to complete our short, online survey. We would love to hear from anyone who uses Makaton. Please tell us what you think at:

Contact us

If you would like to contact us please call 0207 843 2526 or email
The Communication Trust, 8 Wakley Street, London, EC1V 7QE


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