Thursday, 17 January 2013

Supporting the changing educational landscape, by Robert Buckland MP

Today I had the honour of hosting The Communication Trust’s Reception in Parliament, which focussed on how schools can help meet the speech, language and communication needs of children and young people.

I was thrilled to be asked to speak as I have long been a fan and a supporter of what The Communication Trust is seeking to achieve. By using its collective expertise, the Trust supports the children’s workforce and commissioners and allows them to provide high quality provision of therapy and assistance. The way in which the Trust spreads good practice and awareness of speech, language and communication needs, whether they be in education or health, is something that I have long considered vitally important.

Being a parent of a child with speech, language and communication needs I have also seen at first-hand the importance of therapy to help young people overcome the obstacles that they face. I have also experienced the benefits that dedicated speech and language therapists can bring, and their importance not only in providing direct professional services but also in the training of other providers.

Speech, language and communication skills are growing ever more important as children and young people enter an increasingly competitive global workforce. They are also now a central part of Ofsted’s revised framework for school inspection, with ‘communication skills’ explicitly referred to as a parameter for inspection in two areas of judgement.

However, the Trust is today launching its latest thinkpiece, A Generation Adrift, which demonstrates that schools often face a challenge in locating the support required for their pupils with speech, language and communication needs, using evidence from the new Better Communication Research Programme report. The Communication Trust can offer schools a range of support to overcome these challenges and help them to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

In a changing educational landscape such as the one that we face today, the issue of children’s communication needs to be considered by an ever-wider range of actors. This includes, but is not limited to, Multi Chain Academies, Umbrella Academy chains, independent Academies, Learning Co-operatives, for profit and not for profit learning support agencies, and the wider commission community. There is, I believe, much good work already underway and I am confident that the ongoing work of The Communication Trust and the organisations which it represents will ensure that no child is left struggling with unidentified speech, language or communication difficulties.

You can find out more about Robert Buckland on his website.

A Generation Adrift can be downloaded here.

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