25 July 2022

SEND and AP review: Right support, right place, right time: I CAN the children’s communication charity responds to the SEND Green Paper

I CAN is the UK’s children's speech and language charity. We exist to help the million-plus children in the UK who face challenges in talking and understanding language. Each year we design programmes that support more than 60,000 children and we train over 6,000 people who work with children to develop their speaking and understanding. Our two outstanding schools help children with the biggest communication barriers to overcome them. We support families to develop their child’s speaking and understanding, and we push for the government to change policies to improve the life chances for children who struggle with their talking and understanding language. 

I CAN welcomes the SEND and AP Green paper consultation and feels it provides an opportunity to tackle the challenges faced by the large group of children who struggle with talking and understanding language in schools across England.  The government’s own statistics show children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs form the biggest group of children with a special educational need or disability in Primary School. But that figure is an underestimate because children are often missed or wrongly categorised.

I CAN’s proposals tackle the problem in four ways:  

Knowing:  better use of existing measures of early language and developing evidenced tracking tools for schools to use for older children will support the development of a more accurate identification of talking and understanding needs. 

Understanding:  workforce development in early years and teaching doesn’t currently include a strong focus on talking and understanding. Providing the children’s workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to identify and support children and young people who are struggling with talking and understanding language means all children’s speech and language skills are supported  

Helping:  strengthening the evidence database of What Works to support children and young people, especially in terms of cost effective, impactful catch-up programmes. So that teaching staff have ready access to interventions which support children in school. 

Planning: gathering and utilising data to inform strategic planning at a national, regional, MAT, local and school level to ensure all children’s speech and language needs are supported. 

A group of young people with speech, language and communication needs at one of our specialist schools, Dawn House gave their feedback too. They shared their views on the value of special schools, the most important parts of the Education, Health and Care Plan for them, and what support they need to help prepare for adulthood. Their input is really important and we’re glad they got the chance to share their views. We are all looking forward to hearing how the government will take these into account.

Click here to read I CAN’s response to the SEND Review Green Paper.

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