12 July 2022
Today (12 July 2022), the RCSLT, Voice 21, the national oracy education charity, and I CAN, the children’s communication charity, have led a coalition of over 40 organisations supporting an amendment to the Schools Bill on funding for specialist education services tabled by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.
The joint briefing we are publishing ahead of the start of Report Stage of the Bill highlights:
- Why we support this amendment
- How we think it can be extended to support all children and young people with speech, language and communication needs
- How we think it can be extended to support all children and young people, including through developing the oracy skills of a wider range of children and young people
What does the amendment say?
Lord Hunt’s amendment seeks to introduce a new duty for local authorities and the Secretary of State to ensure there is sufficient funding for specialist education services for children and young people with sensory impairments in line with the special educational needs and disability code of practice under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Many children and young people with sensory impairments and their families will require access to a range of specialist education services. For those with speech, language and communication needs, that could include needing access to speech and language therapy.
What are we calling for?
In supporting the amendment, we are calling on the government to give assurances in the following three areas.
- Children and young people with sensory impairment – we welcome the amendment as many children and young people with sensory impairment will also have speech, language and communication needs and we look forward to hearing the government’s response to the amendment.
- Extended to all children and young people with speech, language and communication needs – we are calling for the government in its response to highlight how it proposes to ensure access to specialist education services for all children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, not just those with sensory impairment.
- All children and young people – we are also calling for the government to set out how it proposes to ensure access to the specialist education services that may also be required to develop the oracy skills of a wider group of children and young people.
What else have we been doing to influence the Schools Bill?
The coalition that the RCSLT, Voice 21 and I CAN have brought together today builds on the coalition of almost 40 organisations we brought together during the Committee Stage of the Bill. This was in support of amendments tabled by Lord Watson of Invergowrie on spoken language and communication.
The breadth and depth of the support from peers across the House of Lords for Lord Watson’s amendments demonstrates why these issues are so important.
Who is supporting the amendments?
The importance of funding for and access to specialist education services is demonstrated by the broad range of organisations who are supporting our briefing today. They include professional associations, membership organisations, coalitions and charities.
List of organisations supporting this briefing
- Ace Centre
- Action Cerebral Palsy
- Action for Stammering Children
- ASLTIP – Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice
- Association of Youth Offending Team (YOT) Managers
- Better Communication
- CDC – Council for Disabled Children
- CICS Group – Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support Group
- Communication Matters
- ESB – English Speaking Board
- I CAN, the children’s communication charity
- National Literacy Trust
- National SEND Forum
- NDNA – National Day Nurseries Association
- Oracy Cambridge
- Rett UK
- SAPHNA – School and Public Health Nurses Association
- SEC – Special Educational Consortium
- Speech Bubbles
- SPTS – Specialist and Personalised Training Services
- Talking Mats
- The Children’s Trust
- The Elizabeth Foundation
- The National Organisation for FASD
- Voice 21
Joint briefing sets out why we support these amendments