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Speech and Language UK joins the #SENDInTheSpecialists coalition in responding to the SEND and AP

March 21, 2023

Speech and Language UK – alongside partners from health and care organisations- recently wrote a joint letter to the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing in response to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan for England published recently.

In the letter, Speech and Language UK urges the Minister to include #SENDInTheSpecialists representatives on the proposed steering group that will link up education, health, and social care at a national level, with a focus on meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND efficiently and effectively.

Jane Harris, Speech and Language UK Chief Executive said:

“After years of waiting, today’s #SEND plan gives a glimmer of hope to the 1.7 million children with speech and language challenges and their families.  We’re pleased there’s a review of teacher training, as half of new teachers we surveyed for our Young Futures report told us they have inadequate training to support this huge group of their students. We look forward to hearing more about the pathfinders to improve access to speech and language therapy and the review of what Teaching Assistants can do to help.

But these plans are still missing two key ingredients: a tool for schools to use to spot which children have challenges talking and understanding words and also more information for new parents so everyone knows how to help their child’s speech and language development and when to get more help. We hope the department for education will commit to a small investment to produce a tool to spot children who are struggling and better information for new parents in the coming months and years. Without these extra commitments, children who need help still will not get it, leaving them at risk of mental health problems, failing in reading, writing and math’s and ending up in the criminal justice system. Until we have this, young futures are still at risk.”

Click here to download the #SENDInTheSpecialists coalition letter