The Communication Trust Newsletter
August 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 provide updates from our Consortium members.


Speaking and Listening Term

Autumn term this year in schools is an exciting time in the communication calendar. Not only does it see the return of No Pens Day Wednesday but it sees the launch of two new initiatives for schools to get involved with...

NPDWNo Pens Day Wednesday
This year on Wednesday 9th October we’re running our third No Pens Day Wednesday, which is a national speaking and listening event. This year we're hoping to make No Pens Day Wednesday bigger and better than before by getting even more pupils to put down their pens and pick up their language.

Every year we provide free resources and ideas for planning your No Pens Day Wednesday and you can download your activity pack here. Alongside the activity pack, we are producing some exciting new materials which will be available via our website next week. In the meantime please register your school to take part and gain access to all the resources we've produced so far here.

1,500 schools have already signed up – why not join them?

Keep an eye out next week for our special No Pens Day Wednesday update which will give you a bit more information about the exciting new resources we’ve got on offer and have some handy hints for the 1 month to go stage to keep your planning on track at this busy time!

If Wednesday 9th October isn't good timing for your school you can run it any day of the year! The resources will remain available for you to download any time.

Voice BoxVoice Box
We've teamed up with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) to launch Voice Box 2013 – a national joke-telling competition designed to raise awareness of the fun and importance of communication.

RCSLT are inviting mainstream primary and special schools in England to work on their own, or with their speech and language therapists, to hold a joke-telling competition between 2nd September and 4th October 2013. You then send RCSLT the winning joke from your school by Monday 7th October and a judging panel will shortlist the 10 best jokes they receive.

RCSLT will invite the shortlisted joke tellers and their parent or guardian to the Houses of Parliament on Monday 28th October for a national final, hosted by The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.

For more information please click here.

CommitmentCommunication Commitment
The Communication Commitment is a simple way to develop a whole-school approach to communication through a user-friendly website, developed in partnership with schools. It recognises that all schools and pupils are different, and helps you on your journey from wherever your own school’s starting point is, giving you the help you need to move forward in making communication a part of your school’s policy and practice, in the way that works best for your school and pupils.

Through the Communication Commitment site, you will assess where you are already at in terms of embedding communication development across your school. You will then be guided to choose five actions that best suit your school and the needs of your pupils. These will create your personalised Commitment Action Plan that you will be able to print and share with your colleagues, pupils and wider school community. We’ll provide lots of free resources and guidance that will help you achieve these actions and you will also have the chance to share ideas with like-minded schools across England.

If when you’ve completed your Action Plan you feel you’d like to take it further, we’ll direct you to our expert member organisations who can offer a range of support including training and consultancy services as well as full accreditation programmes, to help you build on what you’ve already achieved.

The Commitment is being made possible through the support of Pearson and the Department for Education and will be launched later this term so please watch this space!


All these activities are free and accessible for all schools to get involved with. Together they will help schools put communication at the heart of their work in the 2013 autumn term.


Become a Local Champion for The Communication Trust!

The Trust relies on brilliant, local practitioners who are able to spread the word on the importance of speech, language and communication where it's needed most. There is now the chance to continue this vital activity and become a ‘Local Champion’ for The Communication Trust.

We all know that the government’s proposals to reform provision for children and young people with special educational needs will be implemented in September 2014 and are likely to have a big impact locally. The Trust has been looking closely at the Children and Families Bill to try and ensure the best deal for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). To ensure this work benefits and empowers practitioners working on the ground and dealing on a daily basis with the new systems, we want to work to support local champions like you.

A large focus of our work with you over the next 12 months will be to provide you with all of the information you need to help prepare for the changes in September 2014 and to learn from you and share with others what the reforms really look like on a practical level.

Based on survey feedback to date, an outline of what you will get out of the new voluntary role is:

Access to a dedicated web page of information
*This will include information on resources and relevant news from the sector, as well as interesting and relevant policy updates

Bespoke email updates with latest news from the Trust

Updates on the political landscape, including information on changes
*This will include up-to-date information on policy consultation responses submitted by the Trust as well as briefing papers and links to further information about policy activity around the Children and Families Bill and the SEND reform agenda more widely.

A chance to showcase your good work nationally and share best practise with others
*We are really keen to share best practise and to hear about the great things you are doing. We would therefore like to share this with the Local Champions group to create a network of shared information. We would also really like to showcase a list of our Local Champions, allowing you to network with others who are also championing the cause!

A chance to show off your good work - add your role to your signature and your CV!

An outline of what your role would include:
Awareness raising: Champion the cause where you live and work.
*We would really like to hear about your good work, and to publicise it both within the group and beyond. This will also help us share local examples when working on national policy changes.

Striving for best practise: Signpost to resources and training – there are many activities to support the children and young people’s workforce.

Local policy: Have your say and highlight issues of concern regarding speech, language and communication and Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
* Your essential practical information about how policy reforms are having an impact on your day to day practice will allow us to echo this in our lobbying and policy work. Where you can provide us with case studies about what’s happening in your local area and services, we will include them in our consultation responses and briefing papers for parliamentarians.

Feeding back: Is there brilliant work going on in your local area? Tell us about it! We want to hear about people who are making a difference to children and young people.

If you are interested in becoming a Local Champion, or you have any questions, then please email Amy Harker by Monday 16th September. If you are interested in the role, we’d also value some information about your job and how you see the role of Local Champion fitting in with it


Tender opportunity to provide online learning, assessment and accreditation

The Communication Trust has secured a Department for Education VCS grant to pilot an innovative online learning model for early years practitioners to gain the accredited Level 3 Award: Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication.

This accessible and cost effective blended learning solution will allow practitioners, from a wide range of backgrounds, to study their mandatory and optional units and be assessed and accredited online. This in turn will enable settings, through a better qualified workforce, to provide high quality early education in relation to children's language and communication.

We are now entering the exciting stage of procuring a provider for the online learning, assessment and accreditation.

If you would like to submit a proposal please click here to download the full brief which contains further background information, criteria and milestones.

All proposals must be submitted to Emma Hickley by midday on Friday 6th September 2013.

Resource of the month - Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool

This tool was developed as part of the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP) in 2012. The BCRP was a 3 year research programme that was part of the Government's response to the 2008 Bercow Review of provision of services for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The Communication Trust are supporting the BCRP to share their findings.

Information about the Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool:

  • The observation tool is designed to be used in an observation of a classroom or a learning space by someone other than the adult working with the children.
  • The observation tool can be used in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classrooms and other Early years learning spaces.
  • It is recommended that the observation takes place during a regular classroom session (usually a morning session starting with the class register).

The tool is designed to profile the oral language environment of the classroom. It is not expected that all items will appear on all observations.

To download the tool please click here.


Let’s talk quality! 4Children conference

4ChildrenQuality in the early years is in the spotlight! There is overwhelming evidence that children’s life chances are determined by their development in the first years of their life.  It is therefore crucial that services for 0-5 put children’s life chances at the forefront of everything that they deliver.  Children who get off to the best start have the best chance of success for the future.

‘Let’s talk quality! Making early year’s quality achievable for all’ conference will bring together experts from across the early years sector, to discuss and debate quality in the early years, and how it is achievable and sustainable in a world where budgets are being constrained.

The conference will address and debate:

  • What the Government’s vision is for Early Years
  • The journey to outstanding – continuous quality improvement
  • How to ensure quality is delivered within the EYFS
  • Evaluation of Early Education in England
  • How leadership is one of the key ingredients in quality in the early years
  • Health – integrated health review, important of attachment and nutrition in early years settings
  • Developing quality practice – 2 year olds, 3 year olds and quality reception practice

Date and location: Thursday 10 October 2013 – London

To book or for more information please visit or call the Events Team on 0207 522 6970.


Child Talk – What Works’ Free National Events and Online Survey

Child TalkThe Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit has for the last two years been undertaking a programme of research called Child Talk – What Works. This is a national research programme, funded by the Department of Health, which aims to improve the quality of Speech & Language Therapy for preschool children with primary speech and language impairments (PSLI). 

The team are currently seeking the help of parents to try and have their voice represented in the final developed model. The parent panel has put together a whiteboard animation talking a little bit more about how parents can take part.

One of the ways for parents to feedback into the research is to undertake a short online survey. At the end of the survey there are links to resources that should be fun as well as helpful in developing speech and language in children.

Another opportunity is free events in London or Leeds for parents (who are, or have been, concerned about their pre-school child’s talking), speech and language therapists and workers in early years settings.

At these events, the research team will talk about the exciting research, which aims to improve the quality of speech and language therapy for pre-school children with PSLI. There will also be some informal discussions about how much people agree with the findings from the research and whether there are any gaps.

If you have any questions or comments do get in touch with us, 0117 340 6529.





A call to all young people!

Amplify is a group of young people who advise the Children's Commissioner and its team.  They are at the centre of the Children’s Commissioner’s work and make sure children’s and young people’s views are taken seriously. Children's Commissioner

Amplify are looking for young people to be part of their team.

In particular they are looking for young people who have an interest in the work of the Children’s Commissioner’s and who have an understanding of things that affect the lives of children and young people.

Any young people who are interested and would like to be part of this fantastic opportunity can get more information about this position by contacting Amplify here.

New RALLI films

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

Teacher tips 1: Adapting your language

Stephanie, Megan, Michael and Jake, along with professionals who work with them, explain how teachers can adapt their spoken language to help children with SLI understand in the classroom.

How specific is SLI?

In this film Professor Dorothy Bishop discusses how other conditions commonly co-occur with Specific Language Impairment. These include dyslexia, ADHD, developmental co-ordination disorder, maths difficulties and features of autistic spectrum disorder.

RALLI en Español

The new Spanish playlist includes “Introduction to Spanish RALLI”, Spanish versions of “What is SLI?”, “Friendships in teenagers with SLI” and “It’s not your fault”, as well as a subtitled version of “Why we’ve launched RALLI” (captions may need turning on).

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

Action for ChildrenAction for Children - Dame Clare Tickell to leave the organisation

Chief executive, Dame Clare Tickell is to leave Action for Children after nine years at the end of the year and take over as chief executive of Hanover Housing Association.

All of Clare’s work has been much appreciated by both Action for Children and by The Communication Trust. John O’Brien, chair of trustees at Action for Children, said: “I’d like to pay tribute to Dame Clare Tickell, who has led Action for Children through some of the biggest changes and challenges in its history. Thanks to Clare’s dedication, Action for Children has thrived over the past nine years. We will miss her enormously, but I know that we will continue to go from strength to strength in future."

The charity has grown through Clare’s work and it now supports more than 250,000 children, young people, parents and carers. Through her work at Action for Children, Clare has ensured that the charity is one of the leading voices on behalf of children and young people and the driving force for their campaign work. Amongst this, Clare reviewed the EYFS and her next report is for the EYFS to be streamlined and give childcare practitioners more time to spend with children.

Clare will be very much missed not only by Action for Children, but by those at The Communication Trust and its members.

Ambitious About AutismAmbitious about Autism - Family support seminars

Ambitious about Autism are running a series of five family support seminars, covering all areas for parents and carers of children and young people with autism. 

The first family support seminar Securing and maintaining a Statement of Special Educational Needs for parents and carers of young people with a learning disability covers the law around Statements and Special Educational Needs (SEN) takes place on 27th September 2013. The seminar looks at several areas including how to help you understand the process for securing a Statement for your child and your legal rights, the importance of annual reviews and guidance on maintaining your child's Statement at key points of transition.

The course takes place at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA costing £15 per person, including a light lunch, refreshments and seminar materials.

For more information or to book a place please click here.

KIDSKIDS - Parental concerns and lack of accessible facilities still preventing disabled children from playing inclusively

To celebrate Playday 2013, KIDS wanted to examine how inclusive play for disabled children has progressed over the past two years.

A survey of over 900 people working across play and leisure provision and disability services in England found that although attitudes towards including disabled children and young people in mainstream activities has improved, most providers still do not have the resources or support needed to deliver good quality inclusion.

As a result, parents are not confident to leave their children in mainstream services and are preferring to place their children with specialist providers.

This lack of choice is further excluding disabled children and young people from their communities at a period when all children are experiencing a restriction in their ability to play out in their local area.

The report highlights the main concerns preventing disabled children from accessing local play and leisure provision, and some ideas on how to address these. You can read the report here.

I CANI CAN - Chatterbox Challenge 2014 will be open for registration next week!

I CAN, the children’s communication charity, are launching their 13th annual Chatterbox Challenge next week (Monday 2nd September). They are calling on as many early years settings across the UK as possible to sign up online and get involved. Children will learn songs and rhymes to develop their communication skills and will be sponsored to perform at a Challenge event in front of families and carers at their early years setting.

Thanks to the support of Openreach and TTS, the funds raised will enable I CAN to help more children who struggle to communicate and express themselves.

Chatterbox Challenge week is 10-16th February 2014 but groups can also hold their Challenge at any time convenient to them.

Register from Monday 2nd September and find out about the fantastic theme for this year at

The Makaton CharityThe Makaton Charity

Join our team!
We are looking for a Marketing Executive who has excellent communication, writing and organisational skills.  Are you a team player, calm under pressure and skilled at managing different projects?

If this sounds like you and you would like to find out more, read the full job description and find out how to apply here:

Makaton signage for schools and colleges
This great new resource contains Makaton symbols which can be used to label rooms and facilities around schools and colleges. Using symbols for signage is a great way to support pupils in accessing their learning environment.

For more information visit

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


Sentence Trouble:
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