Supporting SEND on No Pens Day

How can no pens activities help you to identify children with speech, language and communication needs?

Taking part in No Pens Day can draw attention to the pupils who find spoken language challenging.

No Pens Day activities can draw attention to potential speech and language difficulties that a child may be experiencing. Some children may be very quiet, use short sentences, or be difficult to understand. They may be slow to respond to spoken information or unable to follow instructions. When interacting with others, they may struggle to listen, take turns or make eye contact.

When preparing for the event, we encourage staff to refresh their knowledge on the typical stages of speech and language development. Understanding these can help you spot the signs of a child with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), as their spoken language skills may be below what’s expected for their age.

In 2017, 80% of No Pens Day participants said that taking part raised their awareness of speech, language and communication needs. 19% reported they had identified pupils who were struggling with spoken language that they had not known about.


How can no pens activities support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?

The aim of No Pens Day Wednesday is to include all children in spoken language activities to support their learning. This includes children with SEND, many of whom will have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). 

As detailed above, putting down pens may help you to spot children who are struggling with their speech, language and communication development. For those children who have already been identified as requiring additional support, focusing on spoken language can help them to develop their skills in this crucial area, which is the foundation for much of their learning. 

Our lesson plans include recommendations on how to adapt activities for additional needs or different ability levels in mainstream settings.

We encourage schools to maintain a focus on spoken language after No Pens Day. By creating a communication supportive environment in your classroom, you can continue to promote and support language development for children with SEND. 


How can you support SLCN beyond the day?


Sign up to get the latest news and research about children’s communication

* indicates required