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A Chance to Talk in Healey Foundation Primary School, Rochdale

A Chance to Talk  is a programme for children aged 4-7 which aims to improve all children’s communication skills, whatever their level of need across the whole primary school. We are currently working with the Communication Trust to pilot the programme in 5 regions across England.

8 schools in Rochdale signed up to be part of the pilot. Susan Taylor, Headteacher at Healey Primary school wanted to take part because she saw more and more children entering school with Speech, Language & Communication needs (SLCN). Many of these had already been assessed prior to school entry and were awaiting speech and language therapy – but the waiting list was long. For those who did attend sessions, they had to go to the local clinic and this meant missing half a day of school or more.

  • An I CAN advisor trains staff in how to make classrooms communication friendly, they  mentor staff, develop materials and evaluate the impact of the programme.
  • An A Chance to Talk specialist speech and language therapist works with the school, targeting children with significant SLCN, she also works closely with school staff and parents.
  • Teaching assistants are trained to deliver an 8 week intervention for children with delayed language to they can catch up with their classmates.
  • The school’s A Chance to Talk co-ordinator leads on making sure the training makes a difference in school. She encourages to use strategies and approaches which will support children’s communication. This is a really crucial aspect of the programme.


After the first year of the pilot, Susan Taylor can already see the difference the programme makes.

“The short term impact is that the children are a) more confident speakers and b) more able to respond in an age appropriate manner.  This immediately means the children are able to access discussions in class, understand the content and context of instructions and engage in the day to day classroom communication.  The long term impact is clearly that with an increased level of engagement, the children are learning and able to catch up; the problem has been addressed before it surfaces in Key Stage 2.

We feel we have engaged in a programme that works and have invested in the sustainable skills of support staff. At the end of the pilot we will feel more confident about identifying pupils with Speech and Language needs and are able to implement effective intervention from the outset.
The VALUE of having access to a dedicated Speech and Language Therapist cannot be underestimated”

Next Steps

 A Chance To Talk logo

Every Child a Chance Trust

The Communication Trust logo