Better communication research programme


17 reports were published, including:

An overview report which draws on the evidence across the BCRP and presents the main recommendations from the research programme.

This report is aimed particularly at non-specialist policy makers, commissioners and parents. Four thematic reports which are intended to be the main source of information for policy makers, commissioners, practitioners and researchers with expertise in SLCN:

  • Understanding speech, language and communication needs – Profiles of need and provision
  • The perspectives of children and young people who have speech , anguage and communication needs and their parents
  • The relationship between SLCN and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD)
  • Pricing and cost-effectiveness of interventions for children and young people with SLCN
  • Ten technical reports presenting the full details of the research
  • Two interim reports published during the programme

BCR's Overall Project Manager, Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research at the University of Warwick, says;

“Our work highlighted the importance of appropriate support for the language skills of all children in classrooms to minimise disadvantage and raise attainments. 

For children and young people with language and learning needs it’s essential to identify evidence-informed interventions that take into account the experiences of all children. 

Early intervention using evidence-based methods is crucial. It’s particularly important to consider the demands of different types of schools and the children’s needs at different stages of their development."


Key recommendations from the research include:

  • Reviewing the DfE’s guidance on using the ‘speech, language and communication needs’ category in the School Census.
  • There should be universal provision for all children. Targeted provision for children requiring additional support within mainstream settings, guided by specialist SLTs and specialist support within mainstream or special settings.
  • Schools should record evidence from the perspective of children, young people and their parents. They should demonstrate that improvements to their speech, language and communication are increasing their independence and inclusion.
  • A programme of initial and post-qualification training should be provided for teachers and practitioners to ensure the SLCN needs of all children and young people are met.
  • Those responsible for commissioning services for children and young people with SLCN should ensure that the most appropriate support is available for every child. It should include health and education commissioners working together to provide services that take the family into account.

  • Basic and applied research is essential in understanding the needs of pupils with SLCN, the effectiveness of intervention and the pupils’ development.

Future Action

Although the BCRP finished in March 2012, work still continues today.The BCRP team have been working with The Communication Trust, RCSLT, Afasic and the DfE, to take forward their findings and recommendations. They are also working to raise awareness amongst parents, professionals and policy-makers on the nature of SLCN and the issues involved:

improving identification and assessment of needs
development of provision
evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions.

Accessing the BCRP reports

The DfE provides access to all the reports. Allternatively, visit BCRP's website.



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