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Our strategy 2013-2017 Published December 2012 The Communication Trust 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE 020 7843 2526 www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk


Who we are and why we are here Effective communication skills are fundamental skills for life. They can have the most profound and positive impact on our lives; our social and emotional development, behaviour, learning and attainment, impacting on how we interact with other people, understand them and are understood. These skills are central to so much of who we are, what we do and what opportunities we might have, yet they are often taken for granted. Effective communication skills don’t just happen. They need to be actively developed and nurtured from infancy, throughout a child’s life and educational journey. All children need adults to talk with them, to encourage and support their skills, if they are 2 The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017

to communicate to the best of their ability. There are many, many children and young people in the UK who face challenges with communication and who need more particular support from the adults around them. The children’s workforce has a clear and essential role in understanding and supporting children’s communication. It is absolutely vital that they are able to identify early children and young people who are struggling and can effectively provide support for all those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The Communication Trust exists to ensure that the children’s workforce can fulfil this role. We look to make

sure that the workforce and the third sector develop the confidence, skills and knowledge they need, so that every child and young person gets the right support from the right people at the right time. The Trust was founded in 2007 by Afasic, BT, Council for Disabled Children and I CAN, who recognised that in order to make a lasting impact for children and young people, particularly those who struggle to communicate, we needed to work collaboratively and collectively. Since 2007, the Trust has brought together nearly 50 organisations, combining the efforts of the notfor-profit sector and working constructively with Government

and civil society to make great strides in shaping policy, improving understanding and developing effective solutions. During 2013-17 we will take this work further and wider, so that anyone working with children and young people has the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to enable all children to communicate to the very best of their ability.

Effective communication skills don’t just happen. They need to be actively developed and nurtured from infancy, throughout a child’s life and educational journey.


Our vision is that every child and young person is enabled to communicate to the very best of their ability Our mission is to ensure that every child and young person is supported to communicate to the very best of their ability. We will achieve this by working in partnership to build skills, knowledge and confidence in the children’s workforce, based on a foundation of good practice, robust evidence and effective policy and legislation.

What we are aiming for...

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We will reach the children’s workforce and raise awareness of the importance of speech, language and communication for all children and young people, highlighting challenges and approaches to supporting children and young people with SLCN We will support the children’s D workforce to develop the necessary

behaviours, skills, knowledge and confidence in developing the speech, language and communication skills of all children and in supporting those children with SLCN to communicate to the best of their ability 4 The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017

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We will support the children’s workforce to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills in working with families to help them get the support they need for their child to reach their full potential We will ensure that the D Government and national and

local policy makers are focussed on the issue of speech, language and communication and SLCN and the potential impact on all children and young people when developing or reviewing policy, legislation and services

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We will build the capacity of third sector organisations to maximise impact and reach for children, young people and their families and to work collaboratively to achieve more together than we can alone We are here to work collectively to support the children’s workforce to help the following... The 11 million children and young D people who can develop speech, language and communication to the best of their ability

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The 1 million plus children and young people who have additional persistent difficulties with speech, language and communication caused by specific speech and/or language impairments

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The children and young people who live in areas of social deprivation where up to 50% have delayed language

We face crucial challenges in making sure that every child is understood...

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development, speech, language and communication skills continue to be overlooked

The 100,000 children and young people with severe and complex needs that mean they will always need specialist support We will do this through working with the children’s workforce; enabling families to support their children to develop their speech, language and communication to the best of their ability

Despite their fundamental D importance to children’s

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The children’s workforce lack confidence in recognising and supporting SLCN

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Many children and young people’s needs continue to be misinterpreted, misunderstood or missed altogether

The many children who have D delayed language or short-term

difficulties with speech, language and communication who need help developing their full potential The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017 5


The beliefs, values and approaches that shape our work

Collaborative

Expert

Working as a collaborative group, we are more than the sum of our parts. When we speak as one voice on key matters, we reflect the collective voices of an entire sector with a wealth of expertise in speech, language and communication and a shared commitment to children and young people’s life chances.

We make quality, accurate and up to date information accessible to the whole children’s workforce, including those who work with children and young people with specific needs. We believe in the specialist skills and expertise of speech and language therapists. Development of training and interventions for children and young people with SLCN must include specialist expertise and speech, language and communication training must be delivered by an appropriately qualified specialist.

We will build, strengthen and promote the unique role of the third sector in supporting the children’s workforce and families.

Universal and specialist We work to support the speech, language and communication of all children and young people, especially those who need extra support. We believe that all services must include and provide for children and young people with SLCN and make the most of every child’s speech, language and communication skills.

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Evidential Interventions for children with SLCN must be evidence informed. We work with academics and practitioners to develop and support the evidence base. We recognise the fundamental importance of robust evidence and outcome measures, balanced alongside outcomes in their widest sense, to capture the ‘softer’ outcomes important to children, young people and their families.

Children and young people centred The voices of children, young people and their families must be heard when dealing with issues that affect them. Ensuring that our work accurately reflects the needs of children, young people and their families is central to our model of working. The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017 7


Independent

Pragmatic

We are independent of Government and can lobby and influence in pursuit of our beliefs, programmes of work and for the benefit of those we work with and for.

We offer practical solutions needed on the ground to meet the challenges we know practitioners are facing at any given time in meeting the needs of children and young people.

Innovation and localism Effective We will not duplicate work or resources and we will ensure they are robustly evidenced as appropriate for addressing the needs of the workforce or children and young people directly. We will work as cost efficiently and effectively as possible. 8 The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017

Linking policy and practice We believe in using evidence and practice to inform policy and support the workforce to understand the links and methods of turning policy into effective practice, as well as ensuring practice influences policy.

We work with others to develop, trial and test ways of working, which meet the needs of the workforce, who in turn can meet the needs of children and young people. These tested models and principles of working can then be applied with flexibility in order to meet the needs of children, young people and their families in local communities.

Our vision is that every child and young person is enabled to communicate to the very best of their ability.

The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017 9


What we’ll do to achieve change in 2013-2017 Strategy 1 - Making speech, language and communication a burning issue We will continue to raise awareness of the absolute importance of speech, language and communication to children and young people’s life chances amongst everyone that works with or on behalf of children and young people. We will work with those who work directly with children as well as those who govern the services children use. We will work to reach those working in all settings where children and young people spend their days or in which they are supported, including their local community settings and services, schools, health services and youth justice services. 10 The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017

We will also work with those who do not work directly with children and young people but whose work directly impacts on them, including inspectorates, local authorities, governance bodies, think tanks, political parties and the media used by the workforce to inform their work.

Objective 1.1: The D Communication Trust will be the ‘go

We will gather evidence and good practice of ways of working to help all children to communicate to the best of their ability.

will be aware of the fundamental importance of speech, language and communication skills for children’s life chances and the prevalence, issues and impact of SLCN.

We will build momentum around the importance of children and young people’s speech, language and communication and supporting those with SLCN. We will make it everybody’s business.

to’ place the media approaches for expert information and opinion on new developments in speech, language and communication and SLCN.

Objective 1.2: All main political D parties and those who advise them

Objective 1.3: The educational D sector will have greater awareness of the importance of speech, language and communication in achieving positive outcomes for children and young people.

Objective 1.4: The Trust will be D known by the SLCN workforce for robust research, policy proposals and evidence-based solutions via dissemination in the media.

Objective 1.5: The workforce D will be aware of evidenced based

approaches and solutions that can be successfully implemented to support the needs of children with SLCN.

We will build momentum around the importance of children and young people’s speech, language and communication and supporting those with SLCN.


We will reach the widest workforce for children and young people and we will reach them in training and throughout their career.

Strategy 2 - Empowering the workforce We will support the children’s workforce to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in supporting speech, language and communication in all children and in supporting children with SLCN. We will encourage change in grass roots policy and practice to ensure greatest impact on children and young people. We will reach the widest workforce for children and young people and we will reach them in training and throughout their career. We will work with those in education, health and social care, early years and youth justice. We will research need and provision, and we will devise and provide training, workforce development, resources and interventions for working with children.

These can be built into the initial and continual training and development of key workforce in universal services. Objective 2.1: Challenges and D solutions for workforce development

will be identified and shared to support effective and efficient workforce development in respect of speech, language and communication and SLCN, nationally and locally.

Objective 2.2: Practitioners, local D authorities and settings will have access to a number of models of delivery and of tested routes to completing our Level 3 Award.

Objective 2.3: One identified D youth justice community will take a

community based approach to early

identification and collaborative working with a focus on positive outcomes for children and young people. Objective 2.4: An evidenced, D sustainable and integrated

community led approach (Talk of the Town) to supporting speech, language and communication in areas of social deprivation will be implemented in four further areas.

Objective 2.5: Individual schools, D federations and academy chains will

have access to a range of practical support, resources and products to help them improve outcomes for all children and young people they support, by putting communication at the heart of schools policy and practice.

Objective 2.6: The children’s D workforce will have access to

information on the evidence available to support the development of all children and young people’s speech, language and communication as well as those with SLCN.

Objective 2.7: The children’s D workforce will be aware of a range of

strategies and approaches to support their work with families who have children with SLCN.

Objective 2.8: Workforce D development opportunities based on

information and strategies from parent led and parent focused organisations will be disseminated to the children’s workforce.

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We will act as a centre of excellence encouraging innovation in the SLCN sector, working collaboratively to develop innovative approaches.

Strategy 3 - Strengthening our networks with even better co-ordination and collaboration across the third sector We will build capacity of third sector specialist organisations in speech, language and communication and SLCN to maximise impact and reach for children and their families. We will gather together and work with third sector organisations, social enterprises and community interest companies whose work can help more children and young people to develop their speech, language and communication skills to their full potential.

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We will provide access to training, support, advice, good practice and pioneers of innovative approaches. We will act as a centre of excellence encouraging innovation in the SLCN sector, working collaboratively to develop innovative approaches. We will support partners to evaluate the impact of their current programmes.

Objective 3.1: The SLC/N sector, D through the Trust’s Communication Consortium, will be supported to build capacity.

Objective 3.2: Access to D education and health commissions

and procurement opportunities, will be supported within the SLC/N sector individually and in partnership.

Objective 3.3: Consortium D members will be supported to

develop knowledge and skills in the evaluation and evidencing of approaches and interventions in order to build the evidence of what works for children with SLCN.

Objective 3.4: Members of the D Consortium will have increased

capacity to achieve sustainability and to adapt to the changing funding landscape.

Objective 3.5: Partnerships with D organisations across society will be

secured to strengthen our reach and influence and that of the Consortium.

Objective 3.6: Opportunities for D Consortium products and approaches will be built into the menu of options for the integrated community led approach to supporting speech, language and communication in areas of social deprivation.


We will support innovation in the SLCN sector to develop services for commissioning, deliver these with support and evaluate their outcomes for local knowledge and greater dissemination to improve commissioning frameworks. Strategy 4 - Supporting the changing local landscape for services We will ensure that speech, language and communication and SLCN are issues that those who develop policy and service frameworks understand, include and address appropriately in relevant policies.

We will work directly with those who develop national and local policy and services that change the daily shape of children and young people’s lives. This will include Parliamentarians, civil servants, national and local commissioning structures including Cabinet Members for Children and Young People and Health, Directors of Children Services, local and regional health commissioners and Clinical

Commissioning Groups. We will gather learning from the SLCN sector and the experience of those piloting innovative approaches to services for children and young people and disseminate this to inform future practice and policy.

Objective 4.1: The Programme Objective 4.4: Support for D D for Government 2013-2017 will children with SLCN will be included

We will support innovation in the SLCN sector to develop services for commissioning, deliver these with support and evaluate their outcomes for local knowledge and greater dissemination to improve commissioning frameworks.

Objective 4.2: Challenges and D solutions for commissioning and

include a focus on improving the development of children and young people’s speech, language and communication and support for those with SLCN.

explicitly in a range of local offers developed by local authorities. This will support children and young people with needs that require additional support which falls outside the boundaries of education, health and care plans or statements of SEN.

provision of support for children with SLCN will be identified, ensuring examples of successful models, and shared both locally and nationally.

Objective 4.3: Evidence on how D to best support the development of

all children’s speech, language and communication, including those with SLCN, will be shared with local commissioning bodies. The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017 17


We will ensure that the sector is represented on our programme board and that the realities of the daily work of our members is reflected in the way we work.

How we’ll work into the future The Communication Trust will continue to develop innovative approaches to working with children and young people so that the workforce is enabled to support them to reach their full communication potential. We will invest our time and resources in finding solutions to issues that challenge the workforce to meet the needs of children and young people. We will trial, test and evidence these solutions and disseminate them to the widest possible audience. The solutions we develop will be scalable, appropriate for a wide range of operational environments and be 18 The Communication Trust : Our Strategy 2013-2017

adaptable to suit local need. We will co-ordinate activity within the SLC/N sector through the Communication Consortium and ensure that organisations working on behalf of children and young people to support their communication are enabled to do so effectively. We will ensure that the sector is represented on our programme board and that the realities of the daily work of our members is reflected in the way we work. We will generate income for the Trust and for our Consortium through a diverse range of sources. We will develop mutually beneficial relationships with partners in the commercial sector and with trusts and grant awarding bodies. The

solutions we develop will be made available to the workforce through a trading model which will allow us and our Consortium to generate income. This income will enable us to continue to innovate and to build a wider bank of evidenced resources and approaches to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication and those with SLCN. We will work with partners across society to ensure that children and young people’s speech, language and communication is a burning issue for all and that everybody is able to play their part.

2013-2017 Strategy  

This is a summary of our next 5 year strategy. It explains our vision, what we're aiming to do and our objectives to meet these aims. It al...