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The speech, language and communication needs service

The Luton Council Speech, Language and Communication Needs Service (SENS) work with staff in early years/educational settings to improve practice and support the removal of barriers to learning for children identified with:


  • Global Developmental Delay;
  • Reluctance to speak or diagnosed with Selective Mutism;
  • Language delay not linked to a ‘disorder’ (receptive, expressive, social language development);
  • Social communication difficulties, some of which may go on to receive a diagnosis of Autism.


Access to the SEN Service is via referral from schools only.

Range of support available to Early Years and Maintained Schools:

  • Observation & Assessment of a referred child (in setting) with written report submitted to school, parents and relevant professionals identifying educationally appropriate and practicable recommendations for overcoming barriers to learning
  • Support in setting targets for referred child’s individual education plan
  • Support when planning for referred child’s move to first school or subsequent school
  • Liaison with NHS SaLT & other health colleagues
  • Advice on developing referred child’s early language skills at home
  • Meeting with SENCo or Foundation Stage leader for a ‘surgery’, where children are discussed and advice is given during the session
  • Support in schools to establish language groups, identifying needs, supporting planning, demonstrating delivery, evaluating process and transferring skills to main class setting
  • Access to ‘SMARTI’ (Selective Mutism assessment, resources, training and information) a termly support group.

NB: SLCN team support is available as a ‘Traded Service’ for Academies and Free Schools.



This service runs a termly support group for parents and staff who support children who are reluctant talkers or who have a diagnosis of Selective Mutism called


SMARTI-Selective Mutism Resources Training and Information (SMARTI) is a support group held termly for those caring for and working with children who have a diagnosis of Selective Mutism and those who demonstrate speech anxiety in certain situations.

It provides opportunities to network with others and to share ideas with them while providing/gaining support. A variety of resources and information to help with the management of this condition are on display in the form of handouts, books, toys and voice recorders and specialist advisors are available to discuss practical application.

An informal discussion is planned and organised for each session based on requested topics fed back by those attending. Discussions have included how to manage transitions and helping children to cope with anxiety, aimed at supporting both professionals and parents. Visiting speakers are sometimes organised to run the discussion such as Educational Psychologists and experts in the field such as Maggie Johnson.

When and where?

Sessions are held termly at St Joseph’s Primary School, Gardenia Avenue, Luton , LU3 2NS and are led by staff from Luton’s Special Educational Needs service (SENS).

For dates and time please contact


Tel: 01582 548151


What do people who attend say about SMARTI

‘I really enjoy going to the SMARTI meetings. It gives me an opportunity to meet other parents with children who are suffering with Selective Mutism. We are able to share our experience with an expert to guide us. These meetings have helped me to understand how my child feels and how to deal with difficult situations’ (parent)

‘I came to the question and answer session yesterday. It was fantastic’ (School staff)

‘All the best with your wonderful work’ (Maggie Johnson – co author of Selective Mutism Resource Manual)


Who to contact

Contact Name
Gold Coker
Contact Position
administrator for the Special Educational Needs Service

Further information on the speech, language and communication difficulties service

Where to go

Special Educational Needs Service
Futures Gouse (First Floor)
The Moakes
Marsh Fram

Last updated 16/11/2020