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Latest policy and research

Read about the current and upcoming key changes in health and education that we feel are important to consider in relation to speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)


Professional development in speech, language and communication: findings from a national survey (March 2017)

The Communication Trust (TCT) recently published findings from their national survey into speech, language and communication (SLC) support for the children and young people’s workforce.

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Supporting children and young people with special educational needs: speech and language therapists share their experiences (February 2017)

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) has published a new report about the experiences of speech and language therapists (SLTs) since the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms were introduced in England in 2014.

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Ofsted annual report: 2015-16 (December 2016)

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills, has published his fifth and final annual report, based on inspections of schools, colleges and providers of further education and skills.

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What are the experiences of the children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families? (November 2016)

A new report has been published by the government, telling us about the experiences of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families at school.

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The 2016 Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results are out (October 2016)

The 2016 Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) results have been published and show that almost a fifth of children did not achieve expected levels in communication and language, so do not have the language they need to start school.

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How well do children with speech, language and communication needs do with phonics? (October 2016)

The government have recently published results from the 2016 phonics screening, the test that is done with every child in year one to find out how well they are using the phonics skills they've learned.

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Schools that work for everyone: new plans to make more 'good' school places (September 2016)

The government has recently announced plans to create 'a school system that works for everyone'. This includes the opportunity to create new grammar schools: selective schools that must meet certain conditions including guaranteeing places for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Changes to plans for a Baseline Assessment in Reception (August 2016)

On 7th April 2016 the government announced changes to plans to have a Baseline Assessment in Reception classes in England from September 2016. This is following publication of a report comparing the three Baseline Assessments that have been trialled this year.

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A new report on what works in early intervention (July 2016)

A new report from the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), "Foundations for Life: What Works to Support Parent Child Interaction in the Early Years" has been published. The EIF reviewed 75 early intervention programmes in the UK.

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How many children have language impairment? New information has been released (May 2016)

A new report has been released giving us important information about how many children have language impairment in primary school. The findings are based on the Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES) project, led by University College London.

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A new briefing highlighting the importance of supporting early language has been published (April 2016)

Save the Children recently published Lighting Up Young Brains, a briefing looking at the science behind young children's brain development and its relationship to children's language development.

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A new report on special educational needs and their links to poverty (April 2016)

A recently published research report has looked at the links between special educational needs (SEN) and poverty and why the links are so strong.

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The Integrated Review: a follow-up report on practice in two local authorities (February 2016)

The Integrated Review is a check of children’s development at about 2 years old, carried out jointly by health and education practitioners. A report on a follow-up study by the National Children’s Bureau was recently published, showing how the Integrated Review has been put into practice within two local authority areas, Islington and Warwickshire.

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Secondary school accountability: what schools will be reporting about children’s progress (February 2016)

This year changes have been introduced in how secondary schools measure the progress that pupils make. It means that schools will show how well they are doing using a different system; this is to make sure schools are doing all they can to enable all pupils make good progress.

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How will primary schools show children’s progress? New accountability measures have been published...(February 2016)

The government has published information on the measures they will use to compare how well primary schools are doing from 2016 onwards. Known as ‘accountability measures’, the new progress measures will be used to show the progress that pupils make from the end of key stage 1 to the end of key stage 2. This information will then be published in school league tables.

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Ofsted annual report: 2015-16 (December 2016)

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, has published his fifth and final annual report, based on inspections of schools, colleges and providers of further education and skills.

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Ofsted annual report: 2014-15 (December 2015)

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, has published his fourth annual report, based on over 5,000 inspections of schools, colleges and providers of further education and skills.

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Supporting the most disadvantaged pupils: a new report (December 2015)

The Department for Education has recently published a research report into the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was asked to look at the difference in the ways school support their pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who are eligible for pupil premium, and how they narrow the gap between these pupils and their peers.

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A fifth of children in the early years aren’t reaching expected levels in communication and language (December 2015)

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results for 2014-15 have been published by the Department for Education.

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Assessment Without Levels : a new report... (November 2015)

Since September 2015, schools have no longer been required to use national curriculum levels to report on children’s progress but instead have been encouraged to develop and use their own ways of measuring how well children are doing.

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Changes to Ofsted inspections have come into force (October 2015)

Ofsted have introduced some changes to the way that schools are inspected from September 2015.

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New report published about how schools are spending Pupil Premium funding (September 2015)

This National Audit Office recently published a report on how well the Department for Education is doing with its aim of narrowing the attainment gap between disadvantaged and other pupils with their Pupil Premium policy, and how well schools are spending the funding.

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Ofsted Early Years Annual Report (2015) (September 2015)

This year’s Ofsted Early Years annual report has been published. It has three main themes:
Is early education getting better across England? Is early education providing the quality that parents want? Is early education preparing children well for the next phase of their education?

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The Reception Baseline Assessment: latest news from the Department for Education (July 2015)

Schools wanting to take part in the pilot of the Reception Baseline Assessment from September 2015 are being encouraged to sign up before the start of the new term. The Reception Baseline is an assessment of a child’s level of development at the beginning of their formal schooling and will roll out fully from September 2016.

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A new report highlights what is needed to get children ‘Ready to Read’ (June 2015)

On 29th June a report was published giving new information about the challenge of getting all children reading well by age 11. The report was published by the Read On. Get On. coalition, of which I CAN is a founder member. The report tells us that a major problem in getting children reading well is the number of children under 5 that don’t have the language skills they’ll need for reading. This is especially the case for children living in poverty. This important report gives more information about the size of the problem and what we would like to see to help tackle it, as well as the key influences on the development of early language: parents, home environment, poverty and early childcare and education.

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Changes to free early years education and childcare – opportunities for children’s speech, language and communication support? (June 2015)

The new government set out its plans for education as part of its election manifesto. Now that the dust has settled we can see some of those promises being put into practice. A key feature of policy regarding families and children is the promise of 30 hours free childcare or early years education for working parents of three and four year olds; double the amount previously offered. The extra hours will be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week.

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New report supports the drive for Early Intervention (May 2015)

The Early Intervention Foundation has recently published a new report as part of their work to provide evidence and advice on early intervention.

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Semantic Therapy Can Help Children with Word Finding Difficulties (April 2015)

A research project carried out at I CAN’s Meath School, and recently published in academic journal Child Language Teaching and Therapy, has shown that semantic therapy (improving children’s knowledge about a word) can help children with word finding difficulties.

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The Reception Baseline Assessment providers have been announced (March 2015)

Under government plans, national testing for Reception-aged children in England will be introduced from September 2016.

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Schools to teach ‘character’ skills to children (March 2015)

A new Government initiative will see schools and settings introduce character education into their teaching. The aim is to make sure children develop the skills that the Government has identified as helping them to do better at school, alongside their academic skills.

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Support for disadvantaged children in early years from the Early Years Pupil Premium (March 2015)

The most disadvantaged 3 and 4 year old children in early years settings are set to be helped by new funding from the Department for Education to help narrow the gap between them and their peers.

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A revision to the Special educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice was published at the end of January. (February 2015)

There are changes to the Code around support for young offenders, and these will come into practice on 1st April 2015.

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Speech, language and communication needs continue to be the most common type of special educational need (February 2015)

The publication of the Government’s statistics on special educational needs (SEN) in September has demonstrated that yet again, speech language and communication needs (SLCN) are the most common type of difficulty reported by and seen in schools.

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A new Department for Education research report has been published on the 2-2 ½ year check (December 2014)

A research report has been published on the findings of a recent study, the ‘Integrated Review at 2-2½ Years - Integrating the Early Years Foundation Stage Progress Check and the Healthy Child Programme health and development review’. The aim of this study was to trial bringing together the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Progress Check at age two with the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) 2-2½ year health and development review to make just one check carried out on children, which will also be done at two years. This was because of worries that a lack of joining up between the two reviews (which are currently done separately) means that some parents receive confusing and conflicting advice and problems are not identified as early as they could be.

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Resources to help parents understand the Better Communication Research Programme (November 2014)

Symbol, working with The Communication trust, have published a website to help parents to clearly understand the findings of the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP).

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The Early Years Foundation Stage profile results 2013-14 have been published (November 2014)

The results of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) for the 2013 to 2014 academic year have been published. It explains how well children are doing in their learning and achievement in the early years. The report also contains information on how children perform based on where they live, and also describes how well settings are helping the lowest achieving children to catch up with their peers.

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The great Specific Language Impairment (SLI) debate (October 2014)

I CAN was pleased to contribute to the recent debate over the use of the label Specific Language Impairment (SLI) as a term used to diagnose some children’s language difficulties. The debate was published in a special July-August edition of the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders (IJLCD)

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Students’ educational and developmental outcomes at age 16: Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE 3-16) Project Research Report (September 2014)

The latest report on the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE 3-16) Project has been published with some very interesting results.

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National Curriculum – changes to the Secondary curriculum (September 2014)

At the start of September 2014 secondary schools in England were required to introduce a new national curriculum for children and young people in key stage 3 (up to age 14). A new curriculum for 15- and 16-year-olds will come into force from September 2015.

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National Curriculum – changes to the Primary curriculum (September 2014)

At the start of September 2014 primary schools in England were required to introduce a new national curriculum –this represents a major change in the way they will be working.

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Pupil Premium (September 2014)

The pupil premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and help them to catch up with their classmates.

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Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities: SEND reforms (September 2014)

September 2014 we saw the biggest changes for a generation in the way children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are supported. This took place as part of the Children and Families Act.

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