Our response to

Speech and Language UK responds: to SEND and Alternative Provision improvement plan

March 2, 2023

After many years of waiting, today’s SEND and Alternative Provision improvement plan gives a glimmer of hope to 1.7 million children with speech and language challenges and their families.

We are pleased the Department for Education is prioritising a practice guide for schools on how to support children and also a review of teacher training. Currently, half of new teachers say 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 as well as the analysis of the workforce needed to help this huge group of children.

But these plans are still missing two key ingredients:  a tool for schools to use to spot children who are struggling with speech and language and to providing better preventative information for families. We hope the Department for Education will commit to both in the coming months and years. Otherwise, children will not get the help they need, leaving them at risk of mental health problems, failing in reading, writing and math’s and ending up in the criminal justice system.

 Jane Harris, Speech and Language UK Chief Executive


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