The conversation on Bercow: Ten Years On continues within Government

29 June 2019

The conversation on Bercow: Ten Years On continues within Government

29 Jun 2018

On Wednesday, 4 July 2018, Rebecca Pow, the MP for Taunton Deane, is leading a Westminster Hall debate on the support for children with speech, language and communication needs. 

The debate follows a series of parliamentary questions that Ms Pow and other MPs and Peers have asked about Bercow: Ten Years On. It represents an excellent opportunity to have the report debated in Parliament and to hear what the Government propose to do to improve speech, language and communication support for children.

Why does it matter?

  • 10% of children – 1.4 million in the UK - have long-term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This is equivalent to three children in every classroom in primary and secondary schools.
  • In areas of social disadvantage, around 50% of children start school with delayed language and other identified SLCN.

Without support these children and young people risk underachievement, behaviour and mental health difficulties, limited life chances and a lack of social mobility. This makes addressing children and young people’s SLCN a social justice issue. 

There is also an economic impact: communication skills are essential in the workplace, but employers report challenges in recruiting young people with adequate communication skills.

Bercow: Ten Years On is an independent review of the state of provision for children with SLCN in England. The report was published by I CAN, the children’s communication charity, and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in March 2018. 

The review found a fragmented system, failing thousands of children with SLCN by not identifying them early enough, or putting support in place:

  • More than half of parents and carers had to wait longer than six months for their child to get the help they needed, with a third waiting over a year.
  • Only 15% of those surveyed felt that speech and language therapy was available in their local area as required. 

Over 2,500 people* responded to a consultation during the review to produce the first all-encompassing update to the original 2008 Bercow Report: A Review of Services for Children and Young People (0-19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, chaired by House of Commons Speaker, Rt. Hon John Bercow MP.


If you want to help us with the debate, you can:

Contact your MP:

  • You can contact your local MP, either via Twitter or email, asking them to attend the debate and, where possible, intervene to express their support for Bercow: Ten Years On and pledge to work towards having the recommendations implemented. You can find your MP’s contact details here.

Share material with your MP:

When you contact your MP, you can share the briefing note we have prepared for the debate and the two-page summary of the report. Both are available to download from here. For more information about Bercow: Ten Years On please see the two-page summary:

On Wednesday, 4 July you can watch the debate via this link:

For more information about Bercow: Ten Years On visit


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