Children and young people
Find out more about our policy work relating to children and young people in England.
- See also the RCSLT Policy Twitter handle @rcsltpolicy.
Bercow: Ten years on
In response to concerns about the support for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and major changes in the education and health systems, I CAN, the children’s communication charity, and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) have undertaken an independent review of provision for children with SLCN in England.
Since the first call for evidence in January 2017, we have heard from more than 2,500 people including children and young people; their parents and carers; practitioners, and other key stakeholders.
The report, published on 20 March 2018, brings together the outputs of the review and includes strong recommendations to government and local leaders.
Find out more and read the report at: www.bercow10yearson.com
Bercow: Ten Years On marks a decade since the publication of The Bercow Report: A Review of Services for Children and Young People (0-19) with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
The original Bercow review report can be read here.
If you have any questions about Bercow: Ten Years On, please contact us.
Six month progress report – available here.
Parliamentary mentions of speech, language and communication needs between March 2018 and June 2019 are accessible here.
The Bercow Report, 2008
The Bercow review was published in July 2008 as the result of an independent cross-government review chaired by John Bercow, MP and RCSLT vice-president.
The report, entitled the Bercow review of services for children and young people (0-19) with speech, language and communication needs, was the culmination of a major consultation process. It included a questionnaire which received over 2,000 responses, meetings with groups of parents and visits to children’s centres, nurseries, primary and secondary schools across England.
The final report followed the submission of an interim report in March 2008. The RCSLT worked closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Mr Bercow to support and contribute to the review.
The report set out 40 recommendations to improve services, and the Government launched its response to the review on 17 December 2008.
The response, Better Communication: An action plan to improve services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), accepted many of the review’s recommendations.
The action plan contained a range of initiatives to improve services for children and young people with SLCN, and understanding across the whole children’s workforce of the importance of speech, language and communication.
Many initiatives are integrated within mainstream programmes and projects, to ensure all services understand the importance of supporting children with SLCN.
A decade later, the RCSLT has published Bercow: Ten Years On – find out more at www.bercow10yearson.com
Special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms
The SEND reforms were the theme of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Speech and Language Difficulties meeting on 21 February 2017.
Derek Munn, RCSLT’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, gave a presentation on RCSLT’s SEND reforms report.
RCSLT’s presentation highlighted the findings of the report, its policy calls and what it is going to do to help address some of the issues. Nick Smith MP has asked a written question on the report. During the meeting:
- The Communication Trust highlighted its Workforce Development Report.
- The Driver Youth Trust highlighted its Joining The Dots Report and Joining The Dots Recommendations Card.
For more information, please contact us.
Children and young people’s mental health
- RCSLT is part of the Community Rehabilitation Alliance which includes national charities and professional bodies who are all committed to improving commissioning, planning and delivery of rehabilitation. In the run-up to the Westminster elections in December 2020 the alliance asked candidates to support a right to rehabilitation being included in the NHS constitution and the NHS mandate in England. Read our manifesto.
- After the elections in February 2020, the alliance launched a report with alliance partners about the importance of community rehabilitation to people’s lives. Read our report.
- In May 2020 RCSLT submitted evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry “Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond”. Read RCSLT’s evidence here.
The RCSLT is prioritising mental health work across children and adults for 2020. This directly links to our mission “Enabling better lives for people with communication and swallowing needs”.
The RCSLT’s stroke policy
Influencing stroke policy
On 10 May 2016, the RCSLT invited speech and language therapy stroke leads from 50 services across England to the RCSLT stroke study day to discuss how their service records data in SSNAP and to discuss the draft fifth edition of the stroke clinical guidelines. The stroke study day was supported by Sue Pownall and Rosemary Cunningham, the RCSLT representatives for the Royal College of Physicians.
All the presentations from the day are available on the stroke study day page.
You can also read the stroke study day Bulletin article about the lively debate that we had.
RCSLT stroke study day 2018
The RCSLT held a Stroke Study day “Continuing Improvement in Stroke Care – The way forward” on Friday 27th April 2018 at RCSLT London.
Aims and objectives
It was our aim that delegates would:
- Find out how SLTs should record data for the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP)
- Learn how to interpret SSNAP data
- Understand how to improve SSNAP scores
- Be able to apply SSNAP data work for Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) and use it to grow services
- Have the chance to discuss the latest guidance in stroke and the impact on SLT services
Top five therapy questions on SSNAP.
Supporting guidelines and resources
- Therapy Report: The purpose of the Therapy Report is to provide a summary of the therapy aspects of SSNAP. This includes an overview of how therapy data is collected and reported on by SSNAP and provides guidance for data entry and submission
- RCSLT Factsheet: supporting people after a stroke
- The fifth edition of the National clinical guideline for stroke
- The profession specific and concise guides
- The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme
- NICE Stroke rehabilitation in adults
RCSLT’s stroke campaign calls
During the RCSLT stroke campaign we called for:
- One in 10: in an acute ward there must be one speech and language therapist for every 10 people who have had a stroke
- A communication lifeline: every stroke survivor must have prompt referral to speech and language therapy to allow rapid development of methods of communication in the immediate days following their stroke
- Community service: every community stroke team must have at least one speech and language therapist
Please contact us for more information.
- Speech, language and communication difficulties can cause a significant barrier to accessing work support services.
- Services which aim to provide access to welfare, support people into work and / or retain people in work must mainstream inclusive communication approaches throughout their procedures.
- All information on services must be communication accessible.
- Front line staff should be trained and provided with resources to be able to identify and adapt their own communication to the needs of people with speech, language and communication needs.
Improving lives: The Work, health and disability green paper
The joint Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions green paper was published in October 2016. The Government’s aim was to improve the links between health services and employment support and to close the disability employment gap.
The RCSLT response to the “Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper”
In our response we highlighted the lack of acknowledgement of communication disability and the challenge this presents to people with communication impairments in both entering work and remaining in work.
The RCSLT successfully lobbying the Government to include two case studies within the Green Paper to demonstrate the effectiveness of speech and language therapy in rehabilitation: ‘Anita’ is featured on page 20; while ‘Robert’s’ case study appears on page 71.
Please do read the RCSLT bulletin article in April 2017 discussing our response
The Council for Work and Health
The Council for Work and Health was established in 2008 as part of the Government’s response to Dame Carol Black’s 2008 report “Working for a healthier tomorrow.” The Council comprises the professional bodies which represent those engaged in the delivery of health and wellbeing, and occupational health services, as well as others supporting work and health. The RCSLT is delighted to be a member. The Council provides an authoritative and representative “single voice” on health and wellbeing issues.
AHP Advisory Fitness for Work Report
The Allied Health Professions (AHP) Advisory Fitness for Work Report is an A4 form which provides an employee, their employer and GP with information on the employee’s reported problem and to help keep that employee in or return to work following illness, injury or recovery from treatment.
Support for speech and language therapy services
What are the workforce priorities for AHPs in England’s mental health services
HEE have commissioned a rapid research project to explore and understand what AHPs believe are our top workforce issues and priorities for mental health. HEE want to use this information help inform the development of future policy both in the short and longer term. The RCOT has been invited to lead this important project, which will be delivered in collaboration with BAAT and Clever Together and all the AHP Royal Colleges /AHP professional bodies have been invited to get involved.
A report will be produced which will be for HEE’s internal use and will provide them with guidance to write public responses or position papers about its intentions and plans.
The RCSLT really wants to influence the future SLT workforce, so please do get in touch to get involved with this exciting mental health project.
Other work we are involved with
- Engaging with HEE to inform the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health
- Engaging with NHS Improvement on their mental health work contributing to the Five Year Forward View
- Discussions with NHS Benchmarking on data collection and input/outputs
- Engaging and responding to relevant NICE guidelines and quality standards
- Influencing government-led initiatives: planning for mental capacity legislation this Summer and mental health legislation later in 2018/19 and the Independent Review of Mental Health Act
- Representation at groups and committees including Senior Mental Health Leaders Seminar
The RCSLT has developed a key messages briefing.
RCSLT response to the APPG on Parkinson’s mental health inquiry.
RCSLT response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into mental health in prisons.
RCSLT Bulletin article on SLTs and mental health.
RCSLT Bulletin article on R&D: Evidence-informed practice in areas with limited research.
Supporting adults with mental health conditions: Speech and language therapists play an important role supporting adults with mental health conditions.
Please contact us to get involved.
Briefings, responses and statements
Other work we are involved with
- Engaging with HEE to inform the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.
- Engaging with NHS Improvement on their mental health work contributing to the Five Year Forward View.
- Discussions with NHS Benchmarking on data collection and input/outputs.
- Engaging and responding to relevant NICE guidelines and quality standards.
- Influencing government-led initiatives: planning for mental capacity legislation this Summer and mental health legislation later in 2018/19 and the Independent Review of Mental Health Act.
- Representation at groups and committees including Senior Mental Health Leaders Seminar.
- Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – Committee Stage briefing (October 2020)
- Briefing on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill (September 2020)
- RCSLT statement on NHS People Plan (July 2020)
- RCSLT response to Public Accounts Committee Report (July 2020)
- RCSLT briefing on the Domestic Abuse Bill (July 2020)
- RCSLT letter to the Home Secretary on the Domestic Abuse Bill (May 2020)
- RCSLT mental health narrative (May 2020)
- Letter to Jo Churchill on prescribing rights for allied health professionals (May 2020)
- Speech and language therapy services in England supporting vulnerable children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic
- RCSLT briefing on Medicines and Medical Devices Bill (March 2020)
- RCSLT briefing on educational opportunities available to children and young people from working class backgrounds (March 2020)
- RCSLT statement on the Coronavirus Bill (March 2020)
- RCSLT briefing on the NHS Funding Bill (February 2020)
- Briefing for debate on mandatory training on learning disability and autism (February 2020)
- Lord Touhig Oral Question on reducing the disability gap (February 2020)
- RCSLT response to NHS England and NHS Improvement consultation on Primary Care Networks (January 2020)
- RCSLT briefing on the NHS Funding Bill (January 2020)
- Queen’s Speech (December 2019)
- RCSLT response to Suffering in Silence: Access to specialist services for children who stammer (November 2019)
- RCSLT submission on Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s (October 2019)
- RCSLT response to Education Select Committee inquiry into special educational needs and disabilities (October 2019)
- RCSLT briefing on the Queen’s Speech (October 2019)
- RCSLT statement on NAO report on support for pupils with SEND (September 2019)
- I CAN and RCSLT statement on five years of SEND reforms (August 2019)
- RCSLT briefing for debate on the Inter-ministerial Group on Early Years Family Support (July 2019)
- RCSLT briefing on special educational needs statistics (July 2019)
- Briefing for Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision conference (July 2019)
- RCSLT briefing for debate on acquired brain injury (July 2019)
- RCSLT briefing for debate on the impact of government policy on knife crime (June 2019)
- RCSLT briefing for debate on APPG on Dementia report (June 2019)
- RCSLT response to We need to talk: Access to speech and language therapy (June 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – major health conditions (May 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – research and innovation (May 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – workforce (May 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of the NHS Long Term Plan – digital and informatics (May 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of the NHS Long Term Plan – taxpayers’ investment (May 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of the NHS Long Term Plan – wider social goals (May 2019)
- Supporting the most disadvantaged families (March 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – A strong start in life for children and young people (March 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – More NHS action on prevention and health inequalities (March 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – A new service model for the 21st century (February 2019)
- RCSLT analysis of NHS Long Term Plan – Structural change and Integrated Care Systems (February 2019)
- Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill – House of Commons Report Stage and Third Reading (February 2019)
- RCSLT briefing on NHS England Long Term Plan (February 2019)
- Improving mental health outcomes for school age children (January 2019)
- RCSLT response to NHS Long Term Plan (January 2019)
- Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill – House of Commons Second Reading (December 2018)
- RCSLT response to Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper
- RCSLT submission to UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Queen’s Speech 2017 Apprenticeships in England
- RCSLT submission to APPG on Parkinson’s ‘Mental health matters too’ inquiry
- RCSLT evidence to the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry – Speak for Change (September 2019)
- RCSLT response to NHS long-term plan consultation (September 2018)
- RCSLT submission to NHS England consultation on Tier 4 CAMHS Service Specification (August 2018)
- RCSLT submission to Children in need of help and protection call for evidence (June 2018)
- RCSLT submission to the exclusions review (May 2018)
- RCSLT to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper consultation (February 2018)
- RCSLT submission to restraint and restrictive behaviour consultation (January 2018)
- RCSLT submission to NHS England consultation on CAMHS (November 2017)
- RCSLT response to Work, Health and Disability Green Paper Consultation (February 2017)
- Response to NI Draft Mental Capacity Bill (August 2014)
NHS England’s Five Year Forward View
Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)
RCSLT factsheet on how speech and language therapy services are integral to the delivery of sustainability and transformation plan goals. It can be printed on A3 paper and folded into an A4 booklet.
Key policy issues
- The RCSLT has developed a key messages briefing.
- RCSLT response to the APPG on Parkinson’s mental health inquiry.
- RCSLT response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into mental health in prisons.
- RCSLT Bulletin article on SLTs and mental health.
- RCSLT Bulletin article on R&D: Evidence-informed practice in areas with limited research.
Please contact us to get involved.
Campaigns and projects
- RCSLT new SEND report January 2017 RCSLT is calling on the government to guarantee that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) commission speech and language therapy services for children and young people as many are not getting the support they need.
- Bercow: ten years on In response to concerns about the support for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and major changes in the education and health system, I CAN, children’s communication charity and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) are undertaking a national review of support for children with SLCN in England.
- Student funding reforms The RCSLT has worked closely with staff in higher education institutions on our consultation response, using the findings of our student survey and direct member feedback to inform our policy position on the reforms.
- Giving Voice The campaign aims to ‘give voice’ to people with speech, language and communication needs – to ensure their needs, and those of their carers and families, are met. We equip our members to demonstrate locally how speech and language therapy makes a difference to individuals and society, while RCSLT officers work to engage decision makers and the media at a national level.
All Party Parliamentary Group
For further information about our work in the UK Parliament, please contact us.
APPG on Speech and Language Difficulties
The RCSLT provides the secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Speech and Language Difficulties. The Group was launched in 2007 and aims to: The RCSLT provides the secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Speech and Language Difficulties. The Group was launched in 2007 and aims to:
- Make Parliament aware that the ability to communicate is a crucial life skill for all.
- Increase awareness about the impact communication difficulties have on people’s lives.
- Highlight the importance of early identification and intervention.
- Press for increased provision of speech and language therapy items.
There is more information about the APPG on the Parliament website.
Officers of the Group:
- Chair: Geraint Davies MP
- Co-Chair: Lord Ramsbotham
- Vice-Chairs: Peter Aldous MP and Sir Kevin Barron MP
Please contact us and will be happy to help with any queries about the APPG.
Meetings of the APPG on Speech and Language Difficulties
Inquiry into the links between speech, language and communication needs and social disadvantage
In 2012, the Group undertook an inquiry into the links between speech, language and communications and social disadvantage.