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Aiming high with communication

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Free training for school based staff

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) are by far the most commonly identified SEND in primary schools in the UK. More than 10% of children have SLCN, and in areas of social deprivation, upwards of 50% of children can start school with communication difficulties (Law et al, 2011; Locke et al, 2002). If left unidentified and unsupported, communication needs can have long-term implications across educational attainment, employment, social mobility, mental health and involvement with the justice system, perpetuating the intergenerational cycle of risk. (RCSLT, 2018)

As part of the ‘Talking Takes Off’ joint delivery model, the NHS Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy in Luton and Bedfordshire and the Luton Special Educational Needs Service (SENS) are promoting an integrated, collaborative approach to developing capability and capacity in the schools workforce to support children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

This is thanks to Luton Council’s commitment to provide training to mainstream schools, to ensure that all pupils have support to develop their speech, language and communication skills within the classroom and school environment. This training is free to the school, with only a small charge being made for the learning materials and the accreditation by ELKAN.  

We are initially inviting (up to) three members of staff, SENCo, Teacher and Teaching Assistant, from every mainstream primary school in Luton to attend the Elklan ‘Speech and Language Support for 5-11s’ training course. In doing so, the three members of staff will create a ‘Communication Champion Team’ for their school. The training commences in autumn 2020 in a virtual manner, which is a shift in delivery due to the impact of Covid-19, but will still result in the same outcomes for schools and children. The communication champion team from each school will attend 10 interactive modules online, one per week in the learner’s own time, as well as 10 weekly webinars. In addition, the learners will complete a Learning Log in order to gain accreditation at Level 2 or Level 3.

A similar model will follow for secondary schools, who will be invited to identify (up to) three members of staff to attend the Elklan ‘Speech and Language Support for 11-16s’ training course, and become the ‘Communication Champion Team’ for their school

The primary focus for this training is to support school based colleagues to have the skills to be able to support speech, communication and language development for the children and young people they work with every day in school. We do hope you take advantage of this excellent accredited training offer.

The trainers, whose contact details are below, are really excited to work with schools to ensure they have the knowledge and tools for enhancing children’s speech, language and communication skills, and they look forward to ‘seeing’ the ‘Communication Champion Team’ on the upcoming courses.

To book a place

or leave a message at 01582 548151

For more information, contact:

Catherine Fitzgerald

Lead Speech and Language Therapist for Training Delivery

Bedfordshire Community Health Services


Tel: 07866221246

Tracey Spence

Team Leader for Special Educational Needs Service (SENS)


Tel: 07507497081

Mandy Gutwin

Speech, Language and Communication Needs Advisor for Special Educational Needs Service (SENS)