Improving learner outcomes

Best Practices for Communication

Speech Language Communication Needs
Jacqui Webber-Gant

Author Jacqui Webber-Gant

Date 10th May 2018


Here at OLT our goal is to empower teachers, teaching assistants, and all those working with children with SEND, to improve learner outcomes. While our courses are the most effective way to do that, we like to point people to other useful resources online as well.

This time we’re looking at learners with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, and specifically how teachers can prepare themselves and their staff to meet the needs of pupils when they arise.

The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations, working together to support everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their development of speech, language and communication. Their vision is that every child and young person is enabled to communicate to the very best of their ability.

They have a vast amount of resources on their website and, below, we’ve picked out just a few of the ones we thought would be useful for you and your classrooms.

Speech Language Communication Needs 2

We recommend that you start by having a look at some EAL case studies of how various schools assess their pupils, support and train professionals and work with parents,. These include case studies on early assessment and early intervention, as well as strategic planning and service co-ordination.

Then, use their communication friendly checklist, to evaluate whether your learners environment is conducive to positive learning outcomes and follows all the best practices for communication.

For early years settings and Key Stage 1 classes, you may also want to arrange for another adult (other than the adult working with the children) to observe a classroom, to profile the oral language environment of the classroom. An observation tool is provided, and it’s recommended that the observation takes place during a regular classroom session, usually a morning session starting with the class register.

To help you understand the referrals process to speech and language therapy services, these factsheets and flow-charts on making effective referrals should be useful.

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If you have ever thought about commissioning speech and language support for your school or setting, then take a look at some of their ‘one stop’ guides to help you understand the key steps to consider. These can be really useful in providing some guidance on the decision-making process, and how to make the most of a commissioned therapy service.

Finally, for further reading, you may want to look at the ‘Talking About a Generation’ report from 2017, which reviews recent developments in policy and practice affecting children with speech, language and communication needs. It presents case studies from around the country that show solutions to some of the challenges identified.

The OLT course ‘Speech, Language and Communication Needs’ looks at the impact these needs have on a learner’s life. It shows how you can make your classroom and practice more inclusive for these learners and offers practical assessment ideas and intervention strategies. The course is available with a tutor for support, or as a guided version.

About the author

Jacqui is a Director of OnLineTraining. Contact Jacqui at or on Twitter @Team_OLT.


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