The Trust's Children’s Centres Speech and Language Therapy Service has been highlighted as an example of best practice in an independent review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in England in 2018. It was praised for its Home Talk service and for the whole team’s focus on evaluation and impact.
The Bercow: Ten Years On report, researched and written by ICAN and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, was launched yesterday by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. The team’s excellent local leadership was also mentioned in the speech by Jean Gross, the Chair of the review.
Home Talk is a programme that provides a home visiting service offering support for parents of two year old children with early language delay. It is offered by all Nottinghamshire’s Children’s Centres which are run by Nottinghamshire Children and Families Partnership and commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council.
In the report the service was highlighted as a ‘Good Practice Example’ saying:
‘Nottinghamshire Children’s Services employ an evaluation lead, skilled in research, who supports the whole team to be involved in evaluation. They have communicated their evaluation of core programmes in one single ‘Year of Evaluation’ document. Evidence is used to inform improvements to services and to communicate a strong case for continued investment.
Jane Young, Speech and Language Therapy Service Manager for the Trust's Children’s Centres Service was invited to the launch and said:
“This was an incredibly moving experience. Hearing from a 15 year old young lady who had received good speech and language therapy support as a child, expressing her concerns that young children she knows are not getting the right support was very powerful. It is important that everyone in Nottinghamshire makes use of the findings of this review to do whatever they can to ensure Nottinghamshire’s children get enough early support .These needs are ten times more common than autism, yet so little is known about them in the population at large and amongst decision-makers.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi MP, spoke about the government’s social mobility policy “Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential” which pledges to “Close the Word Gap” in the Early Years.
Jane added, “It is recognised there is still much more to be done nationally and locally, including across Nottinghamshire to address this issue.”
The reports key findings are:
- Communication is crucial to children’s life chances. Yet awareness of its importance among the public and decision makers is not sufficient.
- Strategic system-wide approaches to supporting SLCN are rare; very often SLCN does not feature in national or local policies.
- Services are inaccessible and inequitable. Too often support for children’s SLCN is planned and funded based on the available resources, rather than what is needed, leading to an unacceptable level of variation across the country.
- Support that makes a difference is based on the evidence of what works. However, service design and cuts frequently do not take account of the evidence we have.
- Too many children with SLCN are being missed, and are not getting the vital support they need.
If you want to help improve services for children with speech, language and communication needs across Nottinghamshire visit: www.bercow10yearson.com
For local information visit: www.nottinghamshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/language-for-life