Skip navigation

Making a difference to children’s speech, language and communication development.

Good Practice Validation (GPV)

Groups and services operating out of Children's Centres, or other venues, can have their support of children's communication and language development validated by I CAN. For validation to be awarded, the group or service will need to show the impact of their practice in developing children's communication and language. Settings will need to collect the evidence of the outcomes of their work.

What will validation add to your service(s)?

I CAN validation provides recognition of good practice and outcomes and enables settings to use the I CAN logo and designation on their literature and website (during the period of their current validation – two years).

The validation process will enable setting staff to work with senior management teams in making a differenceto children's speech, language and communication development. The GPV framework (Making a Difference) will help groups to develop best practice and achieve good outcomes for children and families in communication and language.

Settings which are validated by I CAN will have shown that they have developed best practice and a commitment to focusing on the development of children's communication and language.  They will also have shown the impact of their work on children's communication and language.

What is involved in the validation process?

Settings wishing to be validated must produce a portfolio of evidence providing information about how they meet standards of good practice in all 7 Making a Difference Framework areas. The use of a mentor is strongly recommended to offer settings support in completing this portfolio of evidence. The portfolio and any evidence from the Mentor will be submitted to an I CAN Validation panel.

Purchasing I CAN Validation includes the Making a Difference framework guide, the pre-submission visit and the validation panel. Settings preparing for validation may also have a mentor to visit and support them. The level of support needed by each setting may vary depending on how much work they have done in this area and how established their measurement of SLC outcomes is. I CAN can provide mentoring at a cost or may be able to provide the name of a local I CAN Licensed Mentor.

Settings wishing to become validated will need to collect evidence of outcomes of their work to present to a validation panel in a portfolio of evidence. The panel will award validation based on evidence of outcomes that demonstrate the positive impact on children's communication and language development.

Who can be validated?

Practice can be validated on an individual or multiple group basis. For example a setting may wish to have validation of a 'Stay and Play' session. Settings offering a number of different groups or sessions, can choose to have some or all of their practice validated e.g. Green Valley Children's Centre wish all of their groups to be validated: Toddler rhyme, Pre-school Percussion group, Song and rhyme time, Tots' Messy play, Pre-school stay and play, and Baby Sing-and-sign-along. In this case, Green Valley needs to provide evidence of outcomes across the whole range of their work.

How do they do it?

  1. The first step in the validation process for settings, after registering for validation, is to read the I CAN Making a Difference Booklet which provides a framework to support good practice in supporting early years communication and language development. The Making a Difference booklet can be used purely as a standalone guide to develop good practice.  It can also be used as a development tool to provide a portfolio of evidence to present towards I CAN's Validation of Good Practice in Communication and Language in the early years.
  2. In the portfolio, evidence needs to be collected in each of the seven Making a Difference Framework areas. Once completed, the portfolio should be submitted for marking and validation by an I CAN Validation panel.
  3. Mentors can provide support via emails and telephone and visits, however as a minimum, a pre-validation visit is mandatory. The purpose of this is to look at the information provided in the portfolio and review the outcome measures to finalise the settings' evidence for the I CAN validation panel. Mentors can support settings in making sure their evidence accurately reflects the activity and practice in the settings/groups.
  4. At the mandatory visit the mentor is required to prepare a report which will be sent to I CAN with the portfolio of evidence including outcomes section from Framework 7 Measuring Outcomes from your portfolio of evidence. Mentors should support the submission of the portfolio in an electronic format.  The mentor report requires the mentor to make a judgement regarding the accuracy of information and the strengths and areas for development noted by observation and interview and this will all be considered at the Validation Panel which meets at least termly.

Next Steps

  • If your group or service is interested in Good Practice Validation and would like to find out more please call 020 7843 2515 or email Please provide a contact name, setting/school name, address, contact phone number and where you heard about Good Practice Validation
  • If you are a specialist teacher or speech and language therapist and would like to deliver Good Practice Validation to practitioners or settings in your area, find out more about becoming an I CAN licensee
  • If you have completed Good Practice Validation in your setting or local authority, you can use this text in your Local Offer.