6 July 2023

On Thursday 6 July, Sir Keir Starmer set out the Labour Party’s mission “to break down the barriers to opportunity for every child, at every stage and shatter the class ceiling,” one of five national missions which would drive their plans in government if elected.

The RCSLT warmly welcome the recognition that communication skills are central to children’s educational attainment and later life chances. This was the key message in our joint submission to the Labour Policy Forum.

The mission includes pledges which are relevant to speech and language therapists:

  • Boosting child development with half a million more children hitting the early learning goals by 2030.
  • Developing early communication skills by giving every school funding to deliver evidence-based early language interventions.
  • Commissioning a review of curriculum and assessment that will seek to deliver a curriculum which is rich and broad, and which develops children’s knowledge and skills, including looking at how to weave oracy into lessons throughout school.

We would be delighted to work with Labour as they develop these plans to ensure that:

  • The unique and vital role that speech and language therapists play in supporting early communication skills, and communication skills throughout school, is recognised and maximised.
  • Any approaches to supporting children’s communication skills are inclusive of those who communicate differently, or who need adaptations or additional support with their speech, language or communication. It is important to recognise that there are many ways to communicate effectively, and forms of communication other than spoken language, such as British Sign Language and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) methods, are equally valid.