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1500 schools will receive specialist support on SLCN.Education charity Achievement for All 3As and I CAN, the children’s communication charity, have announced a new partnership to assist primary and secondary schools throughout England to improve their pupils’ communication skills.

Specialist achievement coaches will deliver a range of programmes to some of the 1500 schools already working with Achievement for All 3As. Programmes will include Talk Boost, an intervention for children aged four to seven years with language delay, Primary Talk, a programme that supports all primary children’s communication development as well as those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and Secondary Talk, a programme for schools to support their young people’s communication development to improve behaviour and engagement in learning.

“Communication is the foundation life skill and underpins all areas of children’s learning, including reading and writing”, says Sonia Blandford, founder and CEO of Achievement for All 3As. Poor language and social disadvantage are closely linked. Vocabulary at age five can predict whether children who experience social deprivation in childhood are able to buck the trend and escape poverty in later adult life. Research has also shown that children with poor oral language skills at age five can have a five-year gap with their peers by 14 years old. 

I CAN Chief Executive Virginia Beardshaw agrees that good communication skills are vital if children are to learn at school, make friends and achieve their potential. “In the average UK classroom, upwards of 50 per cent of children can have language delay and need additional support to access learning. We also know that ten per cent of all children, two to three in every classroom, will have long-term speech, language and communication needs and will need long-term support”, she says.

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