Poor language is linked to poor behaviour even in very young children. 2 in 3 language delayed 3 year olds have behaviour problems

Professional development in speech, language and communication: findings from a national workforce survey

A new report from The Communication Trust presents the findings of our recent consultation with the children and young people’s workforce, seeking to hear about their experiences of professional development around supporting speech, language and communication development (SLC) and speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

More than 1200 members of the workforce responded, representing all regions of England and a large variety of roles across health and education, including early years, primary, secondary, and further education. Although they were almost unanimous in recognising the importance of children’s SLC, more than half reported having had very little professional development in this area. Respondents also told us about the barriers they face in accessing professional development, and their preferences around the content and format of the training they receive.

Some of the key findings include*: 

    • 53% of respondents reported having had little to no initial training around SLC development - this increased to 60% when asked about training around SLCN
    • Only a third of those who responded felt very confident supporting children's SLC development
    • 39% of teachers said they had received no learning at all in their initial training about typical SLC development and 42% had received no initial training around SLCN
    • Nearly half of Health Visitors said they had received no initial training about identifying and supporting children with SLCN
    • 70% of respondents working in further education felt that there were not enough relevant opportunities available to them 
    • Lack of time, budget, and relevant opportunities were highlighted as the main barriers to accessing professional development opportunities 


Please click here to read the report. You can access the Executive Summary here. 

Within the report you will find a summary of the findings across the whole workforce, as well as analyses of the following specific sectors/roles within the workforce:


We also consulted with our Consortium to find about the professional development opportunities they offer to the workforce and a discussion of these findings is included in the report. We consulted with key sector, practitioner and academic representatives to discuss the findings and develop recommendations to address some of the key issues raised by the workforce. These recommendations will inform the work of the Trust going forward, ensuring that we are keeping the needs of the workforce at the centre.


*You can access the full survey data here