Sheffield Speech & Language Therapy Input

Locality C Exceptional Needs Project


From summer 2012 a Speech and Language Therapist and a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant were employed to contribute to the development of a locality wide speech, language and communication strategy. This was with a focus on foundation stage children.

A Speech and Language Therapist with an interest in language development and difficulties in bilingual children joined the project in March 2013.

What we did

Audit – we used a questionnaire to ask schools what they were doing already to support children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This guided the training and support we offered.

What schools are doing well

Observations – we visited each school to see how they were supporting  children’s communication in the classroom. We saw lots of really good practice.

Trainings and meetings for staff

We provided a range of training and development opportunities for school staff.  This included the following areas:

  • Speech and language development and using the ESCAL tracker to measure progress.
  • Supporting speech and language development for all children in the classroom.
  • Network meeting to share ideas.
  • Using signs and symbols through the school day.
  • ESCAL baseline language screen
  • Supporting language development in bilingual children.
  • Working with bilingual children with language difficulties.
  • A home language screen for children who have Arabic, Roma, Slovak, Punjabi and Urdu as one of their home languages (and have not been exposed to English for very long).
  • Widgit Communicate in Print software, what to make and how to make it (

Parent Workshops – We developed three parent workshops and provided the resources and training for schools to deliver these themselves.

Mentoring Sessions – We spent time in each school to help staff extend the support they were already giving to the children.

Ditch the Dummy – We encouraged parents/children to limit dummy and bottle use, as this helps children’s speech development.

Locality C provided each school with:

  • Widgit Communicate in Print software with the Makaton database ( )
  • Sheffield Speech and Language Therapy Encyclopaedias of Visual Support Strategies for Early Years and KS1 KS2 and resource template CD’s.
  • Story support template disk for some traditional stories.
  • ESCAL Baseline Language Screen.

Locality C offered these trainings

Hirstwood Multi-sensory Learning  (
Stories for Talking (Email

Our plan for school year 2013/14

  • Focus to be on children with exceptional needs.
  • Provide specific training and mentoring as requested by schools.
  • Re-do the audit questionnaire to show how schools have further developed the support they provide all children.
  • Network meeting on ‘Practical ideas for meeting the language needs of bilingual learners’.
  • Parent workshop on Bilingualism.
  • Developing a Bengali version of the Home Language Screen.
  • Use of the ESCAL tracker with information on bilingual language development.