A number of recent Ofsted reports note that a common feature of the most successful schools surveyed was the attention they gave to developing speaking and listening

Involving children and young people with SLCN and their families

A key element of the reformed SEND system is the engagement and participation of children, young people and their families in developing, delivering and reviewing provision.

The Trust is committed to supporting those working with children and young people with SLCN to involve them in decisions making. To find out more about our work on this please click here.

Support from our members' and partners:

  • The National Deaf Children's Society has produced an FAQ document for parents outlining their understanding of what the SEND reforms mean for parents of deaf children. You can find it here.
  • Mencap have developed free guidance on: parent and young people's rights under the new system, outcome setting, and getting an EHC plan. They also have free resources outlining what's stayed the same and what's changed in the new SEN system as well as an overview of the reforms, including an easy read version. Access these resources here. They have also produced an easy read overview of the SEND Code of Practice, which you can find here.
  • Sense's new guide has been designed to help families understand the new SEND system. It explains the main changes taking place and provides a step-by-step guide to the new processes. It also highlights aspects of the changes which are particularly relevant to deafblindness. Access this free guide here.
  • KIDS have updated and extended their guide for families on personal budgets and direct payments  for disabled children and young people and their families. This guide is available here.
  • A coalition led by KIDS have produced a suite of resources to support those affected by the SEND reforms to gain a greater understanding of the changes and the impact these changes will have on the lives of families of disabled children and young disabled people, particularly with regard to the personalisation element of the reforms. You can find this here.
  • The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) are the SEN and disability strategic reform partner to the Department for Education. CDC have produced 'Your rights, your future' a new resource to provide information for young people information about the SEND reforms and their right to be involved in decisions about their support. Find out more here
  • CDC are also offering bespoke training on developing person centres outcomes that reflect the aspirations of the children, young people and parents you work with. The training is suitable for local authorities, education providers, health services and organisations providing information and advice to children, young people and parents. For more information contact Matthew Dodd at mdodd@ncb.org.uk or 020 7843 9709   
  • Talking Mats have produced a learning resource (commissioned by NHS Education for Scotland) for health, education, social work and voluntary sector staff who want to know and understand how to improve their own communication and make their service more accessible for people with communication support needs. You can access this free resource here.


Other information:

  • The Department for Education has published a Young Person's Guide to the Children and Families Act, available here; they have also produced series of leaflets for young people, explaining the changes to the SEND support system, available here.
  • The landmark Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP) contained a research report which investigated the preferred outcomes valued by children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their parents. The findings are considered in terms of the implications for practitioners in both health and education. Please read the report here.
  • BCRP also ran seven workshops in special and mainstream schools around the UK to ask children with SLCN about their lives, what's important to them and their goals for the future. Please read this report here
  • Shortland Palmer Consultancy were commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Councils 'Support and Aspiration' Project Board to develop a strategy for the effective and meaningful participation of children and young people with SEND living in the area, which can be found here.
  • Here you can find the 'SEND Pathfinder information pack - Engagement and Participation', designed to draw together useful resources and learning from across England to support all areas in implementing the SEND reforms, including case studies and links to other relevant resources and guidance.
  • VIPER have produced a 'Guide To Participation In Decision Making', available here, which looks at the steps that should be followed when setting up or running participation opportunities for groups of disabled young people. 
  • NHS England produced an eBook on young people's participation in health services. This resource builds on the work done by CAMHS participation projects across the country and captures the 17 best examples of young people's participation across all health services. Read it here.


We are also looking to develop specific guidance on involving children and young people with SLCN. If you would like to know more about this please email us at enquiries@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk.


The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) are the SEN and disability strategic reform partner to the Department for Education. Find out more here.