Halton SEND Service. Speech, Language and Communication Strategy

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1 Halton SEND Service Speech, Language and Communication Strategy Purpose The purpose of this strategy is to address the needs of children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties across Halton. It provides advice and guidance on the range of support available within the borough and explains how settings can access services and understand how speech, language and communication support fits within a graduated response to supporting children and young people with additional needs. Rationale Developing children and young people s language and communication skills are of fundamental importance. The ability to communicate is an essential life skill for all children and young people and it underpins a child s social, emotional and educational development. 1 Halton recognises the importance of this and of supporting children with identified speech, language and communication needs. Children and young people s speech, language and communication needs are highlighted as a priority in the Halton Children s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) A key finding of the JSNA is that: A significant number of children have delays in their early development. This means they are behind where they should be with reading and writing as well as their speech, language and communication skills when they start school. This puts them at a disadvantage from the start. 1 The Bercow Report A Review of Services for Children and Young People (0 19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, 1

2 Defining terms Communication and interaction is defined as one of the four broad areas of need within the SEND Code or Practice, The Code of Practice defines children with speech, language and communications needs as follows: 6.28 Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives. 2 Aims and principles All children and young people should expect to be educated within their local mainstream provision. Therefore, all mainstream settings should have the confidence, capacity and competence to provide for pupils with additional needs and disabilities with resources allocated to ensure value for money. In order to achieve this, Halton aims to equip its practitioners with the necessary skills to identify and support children and young people with language or communication difficulties. Through providing a range of services to settings, Halton aims to ensure that schools can target support appropriately so that children who need specialist support are directed to the correct services. The strategic direction should be for a graduated model of delivery which enables better coordinated universal provision. It should also provide a wider range of evidence based, targeted interventions with the support of specialist provision, to be delivered by schools. The role of the specialist teacher for communication and interaction is to support schools and settings, together with speech and language therapy 2 SEND Code of Practice,

3 services, to achieve this. Halton has a range of commissioned services and avenues of support available to settings to enable them to provide the necessary targeted support. The role of these commissioned services is to improve outcomes for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. These commissioned services operate in addition to the existing speech and language therapy services delivered by Health providers within Halton. Prevalence Children with communication and interaction as their primary need account for a high proportion of all SEND within Halton. The figures below show the proportion of children on the SEND register with speech, language and communication needs are listed as the most common primary need type: 25.3% of pupils in primary school 14.1% of pupils in secondary school 11.4% of pupils in special school 3 Additional pupil funding arrangements for pupils with communication and interaction needs make up 52% of all Education Health and Care Plans, Statements and Enhanced Provision awarded within Halton. 4 It is the greatest area of need within Halton. Children with a primary need listed as autism spectrum condition account for 26% of all local authority issued funding, pupils with speech, language and communication needs account for 14% and children with social communication needs account for 12%. 3 Information from the school census on pupils with special educational needs (SEN), and SEN provision in schools. 23 rd July See: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england-january Communication and interaction primary need includes: autism spectrum disorder, social communication difficulties, speech, language and communication needs and severe speech, language and communication needs. Percentages of pupils with EHC, statement and enhanced provision are correct August

4 Pre NC Percentage of SEND Support Enhanced, Statements and EHC Plans by year with SLCN or Communication and Interaction needs Communication and Interaction % Speech and language % The percentage of children and young people requiring additional funding from the Local Authority for either SLCN or associated communication and interaction needs is high across all ages and phases of education. 5 Communication and interaction as a collective group have been included because children and young people with a primary need of autism spectrum condition or social communication difficulties are likely to also have difficulties with an aspect of their speech, language or communication skills. Children and young people with leaning needs may also have associated difficulties around their speech, language or communication skills. If the data included these children and young people, then the figures would be considerably higher. A larger proportion of these children and young people will require speech, language or communication support at universal, targeted or specialist level. 5 Additional funding is listed as pupils with Enhanced Provision, Statement or Educational, Health and Care Plan. Data correct August

5 SLCN support services Halton commissions speech and language therapy services at universal, targeted and specialist levels. These services are specifically designed to support the educational development and inclusion of children with SLCN in Early s settings, schools and Special Educational Needs Resource Bases, through supporting the daily communication partners of the child (e.g. families, Early s practitioners). A referral for therapy services will be triaged into services as follows: Universal Targeted Specialist Involvement from Communicate (0-7 years) and Together Trust (age 8+). This includes general training opportunities and general advice on quality first teaching methods, communication friendly classrooms and developing communication and language across the setting. Communicate and Together Trust will hold at least termly meetings with each setting to help further tailor the support available. Involvement from Communicate (0-7 years) and Together Trust (age 8+) via a referral to Bridgewater SLT services. Through a named child referral request, schools and settings can also request the support and involvement from the specialist teacher for communication and interaction. She will provide advice, strategies and support to children or young people and settings. Targeted level support includes individuals and groups of children and young people with identified SLCN but who do not meet the criteria for specialist services. Specialist services provided by Bridgewater SLT services. Aimed at supporting children with complex needs or individual difficulties e.g. specific language impairment, significant phonological disorder. Continuum of support 5

6 Universal support Universal support is classed as the support that should be available to promote the inclusion of all pupils through quality first teaching. Quality first teaching should be teaching that is targeted at the child s area of weakness and should be aimed at developing effective inclusion for all pupils. Such teaching will, be based on clear objectives that are shared with the children and revisited at the end of the lesson; carefully explain new vocabulary; use lively, interactive teaching styles and make maximum use of visual and kinaesthetic as well as auditory/ verbal learning. Approaches like these are the best way to reduce, from the start, the number of children who may need extra help with their learning or behaviour. 6 At universal level work may include promotion of best practice and encouraging language development and maximise a child or young person s potential. This work could include providing general advice and training to settings and signposting to other avenues of support. Work at universal level may include some direct work with families and children and young people. For instance; a check in session delivered by a commissioned service where a parent or practitioner can raise a question about an aspect of a child s language or communication needs, or a link meeting with a speech and language therapist in a school. See also The Graduated Approach and Dimensions for Learning document which details advice and strategies for supporting children and young people with communication and interaction needs. 7 Targeted Targeted support is for children and young people whose needs cannot be met without additional intervention and support. At this level, support should be centred around an evidence based intervention programme targeted at their area of need and is designed to narrow the attainment gap with their peers. 6 Adapted from (DCSF, 2008) Personalised learning- a practical guide. 7 6

7 These children may be identified as having special educational needs and may be placed on the setting s SEND register but access to these interventions should not automatically trigger placement on the SEND register. More detailed advice on when a child or young person should be placed on the SEND register can be found in section 6 of SEND Code of Practice, Children in receipt of targeted support are likely to have mild to moderate speech, language and communication difficulties but do not meet the threshold for more specialist support. Halton Borough Council, together with commissioned speech and language therapy services, provides a range of training opportunities for practitioners including; Communication Counts, Hanen and Elklan. The aims of these training courses are to upskill practitioners and provide specific, professional, accredited training focused on the development of language at a targeted level. See also The Graduated Approach and Dimensions for Learning document which details advice and strategies for supporting children and young people with communication and interaction needs at targeted level. 8 Specialist Specialist support for pupils may include specific, ongoing therapy provided by a speech and language therapist. Support at a specialist level is for children with complex or individual speech and language needs who require intensive support from a variety of professionals. These children and young people may have specific speech and language needs such as a specific language impairment or significant speech sound disorder. These children and young people are likely to have needs which cannot be met without additional support and may require additional funding within their school or setting to support them. These children may be supported with enhanced provision or an education, health and care plan. Eligibility for additional funding provided through an application for enhanced provision must be submitted to STAMP Enhanced Provision Panel. Statutory assessment which may lead to an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan which details the specialist provision 8 7

8 required for a child and young person can be applied for by a practitioner from the setting who is working with the child or young person or by a parent/ carer in their own right. 9 See also The Graduated Approach and Dimensions for Learning document which details advice and strategies for supporting children and young people with communication and interaction needs at specialist level. 10 The role of the Specialist Teacher for Communication and Interaction The role of the specialist teacher for communication and interaction is as follows: To promote the inclusion of pupils with additional needs in the area of communication and interaction. To develop and further increase the capacity of settings in identification and assessment of pupils who may have communication and interaction needs and support settings to ensure that these identified needs are met. To develop effective links with commissioned services and providers of speech, language and communication needs services to ensure coordinated and effective service delivery. Take a lead role within the SEN Service in delivering training around speech, language and communication needs. To support the resource base provision within Halton to act as centres of excellence in providing support and securing good quality outcomes for pupils with SLCN. 9 See Halton Local Offer for a more detailed description of the assessment process

9 Support from Specialist Teacher for Communication and Interaction Progress is less than expected Progress is less than expected Progress is less than expected Progress is less than expected *Quality First Teaching targeted at area of need *Class Teacher together with SENCO assesses whether the child has SEN Consultation with parent/ carer and pupil *Cycles of SEN Support Assess, Plan, Do, Review *School can request consultation with Specialist Teacher for advice and strategies *Further advice and support could be sought from external agencies Progress is made and class teacher is satisfied that the child or young person s needs are met If concerns are around speech, language or communication needs, consider discussing with school link Speech and Language Therapist. Progress is made. At the review meeting with parents or carers and the child/young person, the decision may be to cease the SEND support plan and remove the child from the SEND register. Progress is made. The strategies have been successful in ensuring the effective inclusion of the pupil. *Speech and Language Therapy Service may become involved at any point or prior to this cycle commencing. 9

10 Specialist resource bases When a child or young person s speech and language development is severely disordered, a decision can be made to place then in one of Halton s specialist SLCN resource bases. Halton has six resource bases which operate within mainstream schools. The aim of the resource bases is to provide expert support with small pupil adult ratios within a mainstream setting. Placements are reviewed by the Local Authority, together with other professionals, the parent/ carer and child or young person on an annual basis. This is to ensure that the placement accurately reflects the child or young person s needs and to ensure effective transition at critical points such as the end of a key stage. There are two Reception and Key Stage 1 bases which operate on an assessment basis with intensive support from speech and language therapy service and an Education Psychologist. These children attend the base on a part-time basis enabling them to experience mainstream education with a high level of support. Mainstream support staff from the child s home school; attend the resource base on a regular basis in order to support the transfer of specialist intervention transfers with the child into their mainstream setting. Children in the resource base will also be supported with specialist support from Bridgewater speech and language therapy service and Communicate. Placement in the Reception and Key Stage 1 resourced provision can be made through either the multi-disciplinary Early s Transition Panel or as a result of an application being submitted to STAMP Enhanced Provision Panel. In some special circumstances, places can be allocated through Provision and Placement Panel. Decisions around placement can only be made if there is assessment and recommendation provided by professionals for example, an Education Psychologist or Speech and Language Therapist, and in consultation and agreement with the child or young person and their parent/carer. This is vital for panel members to make an informed decision. There are two Key Stage 2 and two Key Stage 3-4 bases within Halton. Decisions around placement are generally the result of an application being submitted to STAMP Enhanced Provision Panel or Provision and Placement Panel as detailed above. Pupils generally are in receipt of enhanced provision and do not necessarily require an education health and care plan to access the resource base. 10

11 Conclusion The approaches detailed within this strategy are designed to ensure that support is allocated efficiently and appropriately to meet the needs of children and young people with SLCN. Halton has high aspirations for all of its children and young people and this strategy seeks to support the priorities as outlined by Halton Children s Trust. Halton Children s Trust Priorities (HCTP) Halton Children s Trust has 3 main areas for improvement. 1. Working together to deliver services in a joined up way to make sure children and their families get the right help at the right time Early Help & Support. 2. Working together to plan and fund outcome focused services for children and families that deliver high quality services that are value for money Integrated Commissioning. 3. Working together to focus services towards the needs of our most vulnerable children, young people and families to close the gap by improving health, education, social and cultural outcomes. 11

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