TES and The Communication Trust Supplement 3 September 2012


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A supplement produced in conjunction with The Communication Trust, and supported by BT. The supplement was published to coincide with the back to school element of the Hello campaign - the national year of communication in the UK.

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TES and The Communication Trust Supplement 3 September 2012

  1. 1. TALK LISTENTAKEPARTBetter learning, better behaviour,better communicationTES
  2. 2. 2 A primary school in Kidderminster is using visual prompts to increase interaction and help pupils communicateBelieve inthe reachof speech Hello, I’m Jean Gross, the Communication Champion for children. I regularly meet headteachers and teachers who are concerned about thenumber of children and young people withlimited vocabularies, difficulties expressingthemselves and who struggle to listen andunderstand language. Recent Government statistics show therehas been a 58 per cent rise over the past fiveyears in the number of children identified bytheir teachers as having special needs in thisarea. This TES supplement showcases thesuperb work taking place around the countryto tackle the problem. It gives examples of thesupport available from The CommunicationTrust through the Hello campaign – 2011national year of communication. Vocabulary at age five is a strong predictorof how many GCSEs a child will later achieve,and the best predictor of whether those whoexperience social deprivation in childhoodare able to escape poverty as adults. Good Visual aids play a major role, from timetables to painstakingly prepared lessons. The card cuescommunication skills are increasinglynecessary in a service-driven economy, yet 47per cent of UK employers say they cannot getrecruits with the oral language skills needed. Links between behaviour problems andpoor language are strong. Two-thirds of thoseat risk of exclusion from school have speech,language and communication difficulties, asdo 60 per cent of young offenders – in only 5 Matthew’s “board” shows he needs a pencil “We noticed about three years ago thatper cent of cases was this known before they and ruler for today’s maths lesson. Having pupils were increasingly arriving at schoolentered the criminal justice system. this on his desk in front of him reminds him with little vocabulary, even for words you It is really important that we do focus on of his task and helps to keep him focused. would expect them to know such as ‘cow’ orimproving all children’s oral language skills, Visual images are part and parcel of ‘horse’,” says Kathryn Sugars, headteacherand getting the right help for those who speech and language learning at Foley Park at the Worcestershire school. “Familiesstruggle. As many recent national Ofsted Primary School in Kidderminster (above). are not interacting at home in the way wereports have noted, outstanding schools are Every child, regardless of any special need, might expect.”those in which speaking and listening is high benefits from a whole-school system of Foley Park had already been working withpriority – like the schools featured here. prompts, pictures and even sign language. Worcestershire’s speech and language team, Follow this timeline By age five, children should be able to: of what to expect Ask, understand and Use speech that is easy to Join phrases with words Describe events but not at different ages to answer “what”, “where”, understand, although it such as “if”, “because”, always joined together or help you recognise “when” and “what could may still have immaturi- “so” and “could”. in the right order. good progress and we do next” questions. ties. potential problems.
  3. 3. 3 Supplement editor: Fiona Salvage All editorial content commissioned by Produced by TSL Education Ltd to a brief TSL Education Ltd. agreed with the Communication Champion To give us your feedback or to suggest ideas, and The Communication Trust. contact fiona.salvage@tsleducation.com Paid for by the Communication Champion For sponsorship or advertising opportunities, and BT. contact duncan.kirk@tsleducation.com staff carries a belt-clip containing visual cue Three years ago, the school reviewed its cards with instructions and praise, such as teaching after it emerged that working with “good listening” and “good sitting”, which act many different speech therapists created a as a prompt and are used to communicate lack of consistency in provision, says Claire with pupils. Bradley, the assistant headteacher. Classrooms all have a visual timetable of “We were working with different therapists that day’s activities, and individual task and getting mixed responses about what management boards – such as the one used we needed to do with these pupils. Now all by Matthew – set out in pictures and words the pupils are seen by the same person, who what is expected in class. has trained our school staff to deliver the “The system was painstaking to set up, same provision.” requiring hundreds of laminated cards with Watercliffe’s speech and language photographs of children, pictures and programme was devised through the eyes prompts,” Ms Sugars says. “But it works. of the children, says Ian Read, the deputy Visual timetables mean no surprises during headteacher. “We looked at what a pupil’s the day for pupils who might be unsettled by day looks like and there is a lot of playtime changes to their routine.” Governors made when the children interact socially. £10,000 available to help pay for staff and “Just as the teacher would structure developing resources. conversation and debate in the classroom, The visual prompts have been we have a team of ‘play leaders’, mainly TAs, accompanied by the “10-second rule”, which who initiate games in the playground that gives pupils time to listen to, digest and react encourage children to talk and interact.” to questions from teachers, rather than The dining room has also been designed as becoming stressed by not being able to a cafe, where children can sit in small groups answer immediately. “Often when a child and chat to each other. doesn’t answer quickly, the teacher In the classroom, questions are more rephrases the question, when what the pupil open-ended to discourage one-word answers. actually needs is more time to think about the Teachers lead discussions that allow pupils answer,” Ms Sugars adds. to express themselves, offer an opinion and Linda Davis, Foley Park’s Senco, runs take part in discussion. Circle time is also the “nurture room” for children who need used to promote conversation. constant support with language development. Parents are an important part of the RICHARD LEA-HAIR Here, visual prompts are supplemented with process. “We organise workshops for parents sign language for pupils who have difficulty and call these ‘food for thought’,” Ms Bradley communicating and understanding. says. “They are based on discussions raised “The benefit of visual prompts is that the in the book Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer teacher and pupil have to engage with each and centre on issues such as healthy eating.which was increasingly struggling to cope other,” she says. “No one can just sit quietly “We talk about the importance of play atwith the level of intervention required. at the back hoping not to be noticed. It also home, not just on the computer, but how they “They were only able to see about 20 of our helps to stop them being distracted. The can interact with their children in a fun way.”pupils a year, which simply wasn’t enough. So project has had a huge impact and it is lovely The first workshop is called ‘It’s good to talk’when we suggested we work with them, they to see the children’s confidence increasing.” and includes the experience of trying to talkjumped at the chance,” Ms Sugars adds. It is too early to attribute the programme with a spoon in your mouth, to bring across The team trained staff at the primary on to any improvement in key stage 2 results, the message about the use of dummies.procedures for early diagnosis of speech and which can be affected by cohorts. But Ms From September, Watercliffe will introducelanguage problems and other interventions. Sugars says: “The impact in terms of a family-based project exploring 101 thingsA scheme called Language Link allows staff behaviour has been tremendous and has parents should do with their children beforeto assess every child entering the school for eliminated a lot of the low-level disruption they leave the school, to encourage goodthe first time, to put in place appropriate that can make teaching and learning difficult. relationships and communication.programmes. Those who require very Attendance has also improved and exceeds Mr Read says: “We don’t think we havespecialist support are still referred to the the school’s target of 94.6 per cent.” cracked it yet, but speaking and listeningspeech and language therapy team but the At Watercliffe Meadow Community has improved and we have gone some wayschool’s own staff can now help most pupils. Primary in Sheffield, only two pupils arrived towards improving the communication skills The Communication Project is now at the school last year with the appropriate of our pupils.”embedded in the school. Every member of level of speech and language proficiency. Dorothy Lepkowska By age seven, children should be able to:Show good understanding Know key points to focus Ask questions to find Tell a story with key ordered sequenceof sounds and words on to answer a question out specific information, components in place of events.important for reading or follow an instruction including “how” and – setting the scene,and spelling. and begin to ignore less “why”. a basic plot and important information. reasonably well-
  4. 4. 4Schools can make a big difference to attainmentlevels with relatively subtle changes, such asgiving pupils more time to reflect on questionsor focusing on listening skillsGift ofthe gabWhen staff at the Spinney Centre carried outan audit of pupils’ communication skills, itcame as no surprise to find that almost two- GETTYthirds had some speech or language need. The centre is part of, though physicallyseparate from, Woodfield Special School in pairs tasks, rather than discussing these them- strategies themselves, allowing staff to tailorCoventry, and serves around 30 boys aged selves with classmates. “Many of the boys have provision to the needs of children directly in14-16 with complex emotional, behaviour and low self-esteem and fragile confidence and rely the classroom.social difficulties, who have failed to succeed on others to speak for them. Overall they had Janette Goss, the school’s Senco, says: “Staffor fit into mainstream education. very little verbal independence in lessons and are now self-sufficient and able to implement “The audit looked in detail at their special this needed to change,” Ms Tindale adds. strategies, while continuing to use the speechneeds statements, issues such as dyslexia and Ms McKinnon noticed the tendency for staff and language therapists in an advisory role.”autism, but particularly their language and to ask “closed” questions that left no room for Pupils with communication needs are identi-communication skills,” says Annie Tindale, students to elaborate. “There was not enough fied in Years 7 and 8, usually based on reportsthe centre’s headteacher. thinking through and developing ideas, so we from primary school. Talking and listening “We found that around 62 per cent of boys asked staff to increase the amount of time giv- have become part of the ethos of the school –had some communication need. Many had en to students for processing information to 10 staff are encouraged to take time to talk topreviously been offered speech therapy but seconds,” she says. “Staff were quite nervous pupils, and nurture groups have been set upthey hadn’t attended and had consequently about this but it didn’t faze the boys at all.” to support those who need it most.dropped off the list. It is hard to assess young One breakthrough came when an exception- For older students, the school offers a BTECpeople who don’t want to be tested.” ally quiet teenager paused for a whole minute in Workskills which includes units in aspects With the help of Sandi McKinnon, Coventry’s before answering a question, but got it correct. such as interview preparation and team work.lead speech and language consultant, and It dawned on staff that the strategy was work- An emphasis on listening in the schoolI CAN’s national Secondary Talk programme, ing and was encouraging the boys to speak, means that pupils and staff are aware of exact-staff at the centre were trained to focus more and to think more for themselves. ly what is expected of them. “Active listeningon speech and language. “We also do a lot of work with them on the reminds everyone that they need to listen and “We had to make staff aware of each pupil’s language of emotion to help them articulate understand each other,” Ms Goss adds.difficulty and give them the tools to deal with what they’re feeling,” Ms Tindale adds. “It also reminds them that they need tothese,” Ms McKinnon says. “But they also had “Students often lash out but don’t always process what is said and to make eye contactto realise that not every strategy was going to mean what they say. because that means you are engaging with thatwork with every child.” “A student refusing to do a lesson because person. If the pupil is engaged with the teacher The first exercises included lesson observa- it’s ‘rubbish’ probably means he’s stuck or it’s it means they are not doing something theytions. “We looked at the amount of time teach- going beyond his pace. The students definitely shouldn’t be.ers spent talking and found that there was too feel more listened to in lessons now and it has “We have only a small number of childrenmuch,” Ms Tindale says. “Staff believed that slowed down the pace of learning. Talking is with these difficulties but actually we havetalking to the boys kept them engaged but embedded in the whole fibre of the place.” found everyone benefits from developing theiractually it was more about controlling their At Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in communication skills.”behaviour. There was a fear of what might hap- London, a focus on listening has improved Dorothy Lepkowskapen if they let the students talk because these communication skills across the school. Sevenaren’t the kind of kids who come in on a Mon- years ago the school launched a project called Useful linksday and ask if you’ve had a good weekend.” Listen’Ear, for which it received help from a l I CAN An effect of this was that students also speech and language therapist. Since then, www.ican.org.uk/Secondary Talklooked to staff to negotiate their group and staff have been trained to deliver many of the By age 9, children should be able to:Infer meaning, reason and Use a range of words Use a whole range of Understand the interests Use language forpredict. related to time and regular and unusual word of the listener. a range of different measurement. endings, with few errors reasons, eg complimenting being made. or criticising, clarifying and negotiating.
  5. 5. 5A language-rich environment is vital to ensure allchildren develop confidence and communication skills,and there is a range of targeted interventions schools canemploy to identify and support pupils who are behindCatching upLiam is just five. He lives in a boisterous home were making progress of around 18 months figure is down to just over 20 per cent.”where everyone shouts over the noise of the TV after the 10-week programme. It also enables In secondary school, speaking and listeningand the baby crying. His mum works part-time staff to identify those children who may need can be even more challenging. Children needand has enough to do sorting out clothes and more specialist intervention. higher level language skills to meet thefood without engaging in long conversations. Staff in the schools involved have comment- demands of different subjects, and adolescents“Downstairs – quick” and “Got your coat?” are ed positively, not just on changes in children’s with communication needs may be wronglythe sort of unstructured sentences Liam hears language, but on their confidence and their identified as having behavioural difficulties.every day, and his literacy is suffering. readiness to learn and engage in activities Enhancing Language and Communication Jane Maloney, headteacher at Millbrook with their peers. in Secondary Schools (ELCISS) is being usedCommunity Primary School in Knowsley, knows At St Mark’s CofE Aided Primary School in in Beal High School, Redbridge. TAs run amany children like Liam. She has found that Stoke-on-Trent, inclusion leader Ann Stone 12-week programme for groups of four to sixsome four- and five-year-olds in her school only found a significant proportion of the 112 chil- children focusing on vocabulary and narrative.have the language development of the average dren on the special needs register had difficul- The aim is to boost language skills with athree-year-old. So her staff are using a pro- ties with speech, language and communication. cross-curricular approach. One child whogramme called A Chance to Talk, run by The The school has worked hard on communica- entered the school with a reading age of eightCommunication Trust, I CAN and the Every tion projects this year and where once staff left KS3 with level 5 and is predicted to achieveChild a Chance Trust, to help pupils to catch used question and answer techniques, they are B and C grades in his GCSEs.up. The programme supports speaking and now as likely to get a child to talk to a partner. Young people need to work on social commu-listening in the classroom and through targeted One of the most successful projects has been nication too. The inclusion advisory teachinginterventions. Staff receive training to help Spirals, a circle-time activity where children service in Bolton provides training on the local-identify children and to run a 10-week learn to make eye contact, smile, and greet ly developed Secondary Talk programme. Theprogramme of small-group work to improve others. One girl with very little confidence original focus was behaviour and generallanguage and communication skills. amazed her parents and teachers by acting in emotional well-being, but it has also made a A trained teaching assistant (TA) runs a class assembly in front of the whole school difference for children learning English as anwithdrawal sessions for groups of four children and speaking audibly and clearly. additional language and pupils who have state-with delayed language, with link activities back “The results have been excellent,” says Ms ments for speech and language difficulties.to the classroom, designed to support the chil- Stone. “When I looked at our current Year 6, 48 Turton High School Media Arts College has rundren who are struggling and which can benefit per cent had been on the special needs register the 10-week course where pupils work on id-all children. In the initial pilot study, children at some stage of their school career. Now the ioms or body language, identify an object from a spoken description or retell a local news story. The school has since seen improvements in vocabulary, behaviour and social skills. Deb Nicholl-Holt, one of the creators of Bolton’s Secondary Talk programme, points out children are expected to learn through listening at least 60 per cent of the time in primary school, but in secondary school this increases to 90 per cent. Hopefully, with initia- tives focused on improving language skills, children like Liam will not be left behind. Sal McKeown Useful links l A Chance to Talk www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/a RICHARD LEA-HAIR chancetotalk l ELCISS www.elciss.com By age 11, children should be able to:Begin to appreciate Use sophisticated words Tell elaborate, Manage and Explain some rules ofsarcasm, eg “My best but meaning might not entertaining stories organise collaborative grammar and knowvase, broken – that was always be accurate, eg that are full of detailed tasks. when a sentence is notreally clever”. “We had to corporate to descriptions. grammatically correct. get the task done”.
  6. 6. 6 1 2The 5 communication I can’t get words out Difficulties with talking include I don’t understand words Including difficultiesbarriers speech that is unclear, a stammer understanding specific or difficulty talking in sentences. meanings of words or long or complicated sentences.Hello, what’s going on in 2011? Hello hidden and, in the worst cases, invisible. Hello is the national year of communica- “Ultimately, this is about recognising chil- tion. It is run by The Communication Trust, dren’s needs and, while quality first teaching an alliance of 40 voluntary organisations, is fundamental, many children will also need with expertise in speech, language and specialist support and interventions. With communication, in partnership with educational reforms taking place, it is vital Communication Champion Jean Gross. these children do not become invisible again, Hello is backed by the Department for which is why we are calling on all teachers Education and Department of Health and to take part in Hello.” sponsored by BT and Pearson Assessment. Larry Stone, president of group public Anita Kerwin-Nye, director of The and government affairs at BT, says: Communication Trust, says: “As a former “Communication is key to our business. teacher, I know that communication But it needs to be everyone’s business. We difficulties do not have the same profile in depend on people being able to talk, listen schools as dyslexia or autism. It is more and connect with others.” Hello helps teachers Schools will find plenty of inspiration on the Hello website: fact files, classroom resources and stories. You can read about Aspull Primary, Wigan, where pupils applied to be part of a communication team and undertake activities such as reading regularly to younger children. In Southwark, schools ran drama- based language intervention groups, while Coventry primary schools took part in a “Zippy Lips” day, when children had to communicate without speech and discuss what that felt like. Hello offers free resources such as Misunderstood, an easy-to-read guide to speech, language and communication needs; Don’t Get me Wrong, which explains the issues further; What’s Typical Talk posters; and Universally Speaking “ages and stages” booklets for primary and secondary. To support parents with family talking activities, you can use Listen Up – a “fortune teller” game. A resource to help school improvement planning for language and communication will soon be on the site, with signposting to screening tools, interventions and whole-class schemes.By age 13/14, children should be able to:Understand instructions decide who you are Infer meaning, working Understand the Use sarcasm to interactthat don’t follow the working with and what out information not given difference between the with peers and familiarsame order as words in positions you are playing. directly, eg she grabbed style of talk used with adults.the sentence, eg before her coat and ran out of the friends to that neededyou get your equipment, door (she was in a hurry). in the classroom.
  7. 7. 73 4 5 I don’t know how to I don’t have enough words I have multiple barriers have a conversation Some children have speech Often because these difficulties Perhaps through not listening that is immature for their age are linked with other conditions well, interrupting too much or and have a limited vocabulary. such as autism, Down’s struggling to join in with group syndrome or physical difficulties. conversations.No Pens Day The communication barriers impairment or SLI. Others haveWednesday Being able to say what you want to say and understand what other people are saying is the most important skill we difficulties with other conditions such as autism, Down’s syndrome or physical difficulties.What is it? need in life. Yet many people take Some children will be able to useThe Communication Champion and The communication for granted. their voice to communicate, while someCommunication Trust, as part of Hello, are In the UK today, one million children may use other ways such as electronicasking schools to choose one day when they (or two to three in every classroom) have communication aids, gestures and signs:focus on speaking and listening in every speech, language and communication alternative and augmentativelesson for every child. needs. Each child’s difficulty will be communication (AAC). different – for some, it will have a huge The Communication Trust representsWhen is it? impact; for others less so – but left 40 organisations with expertise across theWednesday 28 September is the target day, untreated their difficulties will severely full range of speech, language andbut schools can choose another date if that limit their potential. communication needs. Organisationssuits them better. Above are some of the ways a child range from the British Stammering with speech, language and communication Association to Afasic (which supportsDon’t schools do speaking and listening needs will struggle. children and young people with SLI) andanyway? Some children have language Communication Matters – a UK-wideYes, but it is often mixed in with reading and difficulties as their main or only difficulty organisation focused on AAC.writing. No Pens Day Wednesday is to be a – this is known as a specific language www.talkingtrouble.infoday where children put down their pens anduse their ears and their voices.Why is it needed?Language is central to teaching andlearning, but in poorer areas more than 50per cent of children are starting school withdelayed communication skills. Their speechmay be unclear, vocabulary is smaller, Useful linkssentences are shorter and they are able tounderstand only simple instructions. Poor l Hello resourceslanguage skills go hand in hand with poor www.hello.org.uk/resourcesliteracy. A child’s vocabulary at age five is a l The Communication Trustvery strong indicator of the qualifications www.thecommunicationtrust.org.ukthey will achieve at KS4 and beyond so the l The Speech, Language andmore schools can do to raise speech and Communication Framework online toollanguage levels, the better a child’s chance www.talkingpoint.org.uk/slcfof success in later life. l Free BT resources to support communication and collaboration skillsHow can our school get involved? www.bt.com/learningandskillsSee http://bit.ly/NoPens to find more l Information on children’s communicationinformation about the scheme. Fill in the www.talkingpoint.org.ukonline form to receive a free activity pack l The Royal College of Speech andwith lesson plans, curriculum ideas, Language Therapistsresources and information for parents. www.rcslt.orgBy age 18, young people should be able to:Know when and why they ingredients together, I’m Be more skilful in Understand well the Use a good range ofdon’t understand and ask just not sure what they discussions and use a words that are used in more difficult words andfor help with what they mean by ‘fold’”. range of arguments to questions in exams and phrases, eg exhausted,are struggling with, eg “I persuade others. the classroom. meandered, noxious,understand you mix the incessant.
  8. 8. 8The very social network Moving On Moving from school into the world of employment brings new communicationFor those who prefer to communicate start to understand the hidden messages challenges, and Moving On is a free resourcevia a keyboard rather than the spoken behind people’s communication.” designed to help young people.word, social media has expanded their In the UK, 47 per cent of businesses in Part of the BT Learning & Skillsworld. Now the launch of a Facebook app to England claim that they find it difficult to programme, Moving On has three onlinehelp young people aged 14-19 develop their recruit staff with an appropriate level of oral modules that are linked to the curriculumcommunication skills could expand it back communication skills. Often, young people do and designed to help those aged 14-19 learninto a vocal environment. not realise how vital good communications more about themselves, the skills they will Young people like Chris Pike, 18, from skills are until they enter the world of work. need in life and work and how to developWarrington, Cheshire. Chris has Asperger’s Using the Talk Gym Facebook app, users and show these when applying for jobs.syndrome and finds it difficult to pick up on can check their “talk fitness” by answering Through a mixture of video, studentnuances in the spoken word. He explains: six questions about themselves and then a worksheets, audio clips, students can work“It’s actually an incredibly complicated friend or relative can answer the same through the resources and find out morething, communication. You think it’s really questions via Facebook. The answers appear about how to approach jobseeking and whatsimple, but actually a tiny change in the way anonymously in a graph and the app uses sort of jobs they would suit.you say a word can make a massive the responses to assess the individual’sdifference to the meaning of a sentence.” communication ability. From this, the Talk l BT’s Moving On Using BT’s Talk Gym has helped him Gym user receives information on why www.bt.com/movingonlearn more about himself, but also, communication skills are important and tipsimportantly, how to deal with his on being clear, listening, talking in groups number of strands in Scotland’s Curriculumrelationships with his friends. and being interviewed. for Excellence. “It has certainly taught me some Talk Gym has been designed to support Free teachers’ resources are available tothings. It has made it easier for me to speaking and listening in the National download to help teachers make the best usecommunicate with my friends. It has Curriculum for England and Wales, the of the app, and this includes guidance onmade me empathise with my friends a Cross-Curricular skills in the National using social media as a learning tool.bit more in certain situations... you Curriculum for Northern Ireland and a www.bt.com/talkgym