MPs and peers are calling for action to address the speech, language and communication needs of socially disadvantaged children.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language Difficulties has conducted an inquiry into the links between communication difficulties and social disadvantage. In its report, the Group says a comprehensive programme of training for practitioners is needed, along with better systems for monitoring and responding to the development of children’s communication. It also calls for targeted additional support to improve the communication environments of children living in socially deprived areas.
The Better Communication Research Programme, a three year initiative funded by the Department for Education, reported in December that pupils entitled to free school meals and living in more deprived neighbourhoods were more than twice as likely to be identified as having speech, language and communication needs.
Lord Ramsbotham, chair of the Parliamentary Group, pointed to effective collaboration between services as a key factor in tackling the issue. “We need a national framework for local education, health and social care services that covers all children with communication difficulties”, he said.
The Group’s report, The links between speech, language and communication needs and social disadvantage, is available by clicking here.