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"It certainly widened their knowledge and understanding of the importance of talk in lessons and how talk is planned for, constructed and looked at as a core mechanism for driving progress and learning."

Anna Umbers, Sittingbourne School


Secondary Talk

Secondary Talk is an evidenced practical programme to help schools support young people to develop essential communication skills, the foundation skills for learning, literacy and life. It has been shown to contribute to improved engagement in learning and attainment.

The programme is currently under review. Materials will be updated to reflect the current curriculum and revised to focus more on those key language and communication supportive strategies that the 3-year evaluation showed had most impact.


The University of Sheffield carried out an independent evaluation of the pilot in 2011 showing Secondary Talk to have a significant impact on practice in classrooms. A report summary can be found here

Between 2012 and 2014, further evaluation was carried out looking at the impact on outcomes for students. This found that Secondary Talk had lasting impact in schools, with strategies being built into what staff did on a day-to-day basis. It also found changes to students’ language and communication and to their learning following Secondary Talk. Read the report summary here.

Next Steps

  • Register your interest in the revised Secondary Talk here at Please provide your contact name, position, school name, address, and contact phone number.
  • If you are a specialist teacher or speech and language therapist and want to hear about when the revised Secondary Talk might be available via our I CAN Licensee route email
  • If you offer Secondary Talk in your school or local authority, you can use this text in your Local Offer.