Fair funding for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs
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- One million children in the UK have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).
- In some areas of the UK (particularly those of social disadvantage) more than 50% of children start school with delayed language skills.
- Children eligible for free school meals are 2.3 times more likely to have language difficulties than their peers
Despite these staggering statistics, just before Christmas the Department for Education announced that it does not intend to continue to fund a specialist SLCN contract that supports these vulnerable children and young people.
Over the last ten years, The Communication Trust’s work, funded under this contract, has been essential for improving outcomes for children with SLCN and it is alarming that the Department believes this work is no longer needed. This will have a huge impact on the support that children and young people receive.
The need for The Communication Trust’s work is demonstrated through its reach of 52,000 practitioners and an increase of 20% during 2017-18 alone. Through deciding not to renew the specialist contract, at very short notice, the DfE will force TCT to scale its work right back, in such a way that it cannot simply be restarted at a later date. This makes no sense.
The Communication Trust (TCT) provides excellent resources, support and leadership to practitioners working with children and young people with SLCN. Without TCT, these vulnerable children and young people will be even more disadvantaged.
We need Secretary of State Damien Hinds to understand that this decision makes no sense and should be reversed.
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