Training to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) may be considered for different purposes:

  • Increase Individual practitioner knowledge and skills to support pupils with SLCN

  • To develop skills and knowledge of recognised groups, for example learning support department of a school

  • Whole school awareness training

And training opportunities are available at varying levels:

  • Basic/ Awareness

  • Intermediate/some specific training opportunities/possible qualification up to Level 3

  • Advanced/Specialist qualification- post graduate certificate/diploma/masters level

In the situation of a school or setting having identified children/young people with SLCN it is considered that the minimum requirement of training to support those children or young people effectively would be to offer whole school awareness training through a twilight or a half day in-service training session and that the identified member of staff supporting a  child/young person  with an EHCP or existing  statement of SEN has completed some specific training or at least benefitted from  advice from an external specialist , for example speech and language therapist or specialist advisory teacher: SLCN.

The Communication Trust have produced "The Speech, Language and Communication Framework" which is a useful tool to identify training needs for all practitioners working with children and young people with SLCN. This audit tool divides training needs into 4 levels:

  • Universal

  • Enhanced

  • Specialist

  • Extension

Levels 1-3 correlate with the 3 levels listed above.

It can be accessed as an online tool at

Further information about training available is outlined in the key documents below:

Please note that new courses are being developed all the time whilst existing ones are discontinued. The information provided was correct at the time of writing this document.

Primary and Secondary Inclusion Development Programme: teaching and supporting pupils with speech, language and communication needs (2011). This course can be downloaded From the Department of Education website or there is a DVD available. The latter was distributed to schools via local authorities in 2011-2012.

There are four modules within this course:
• Introduction: Speech, language and communication in life and learning.
• A communication-supportive environment for all.
• What are speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)?
• What can I do to improve teaching and learning for pupils with speech language and communication needs?
Staff who completed these modules will have a greater understanding of how to ensure that:
• Pupils with SLCN are identified at an early stage and appropriate support is put in place to enable them to make progress and enjoy school.
• Whole-school learning policies, monitoring and tracking of progress, attendance figures and pupil and parent voice opportunities can provide feedback on the success of approaches.
The course has been designed around one hour of e-learning but best practice indicates  that good continuing professional development (CPD) should take on a blended learning approach where staff are enabled to discuss best practice in identifying pupil needs and effective supporting strategies, methods and resources.

Other features that will help schools to develop best practice:
• A glossary that contains explanations of key terms.
• There is also a library within the e-learning which includes case studies and checklists to support an audit of current provision.
• The self-evaluation contains 14 statements. These are divided into four sets to align with the content and learning objectives of each module. Within each set some of the statements are about knowledge and others are about the adjustments that teachers can make to demonstrate their understanding.
• Teachers and teaching assistants can evaluate their knowledge and understanding in each area by giving themselves a grade 1-4 (1- not very confident and 4 - very confident).
• It is recommended that the evaluation exercise is carried out at a whole school level before beginning the course, so that individuals can share their self-evaluation results with others. It is the quality of the discussion that will lead to a better understanding of what the school needs to do within their IDP action plan which will in turn lead to better experiences and better outcomes for pupils with SLCN.
Following an audit of whole school needs, designated members of staff with particular responsibility for pupils with SLCN, for example the SENCo, may wish to explore additional training opportunities for identified members of staff and/or develop the use of SLCN resources/programmes such as:
• Language for learning across the curriculum. Hayden, S. and Jordan, E. (2004) Language for Learning
• Language for Learning in the Secondary School: A practical guide for supporting students with speech, language and communication needs Hayden S. and Jordan, E. (2012): Routledge.

Both Speech and Language Therapy Services of the NHS and Local Authority, Children's Services provide advice and support for individual pupils with SLCN and some specific courses relating to aspects of SLCN. Local speech and language therapists are more likely to offer advice on early speech and language skills. Specialist Advisory Teachers: SLCN offer a range of 1-2 hour training sessions relating to children and young people from 5 years onwards. Topics have included:

• Attention and Listening
• Receptive language skills
• Vocabulary development
• Phonological literacy skills
• Narrative skills

Schools may access/negotiate courses through Cumbria County Council, Traded Services, and SLA online. Please refer to CCC Website for Traded Services information and training -  

This training company established by 2 speech and language therapists; Henrietta McLachlan and Liz Elks provides a number of accredited courses at NVQ levels 2 and 3 ,including Supporting SLCN pupils in primary or secondary classrooms
It is suggested that if a school / setting is interested in this training they may either contact the training company who will know of courses available in their area or contact their local speech and language therapy department or specialist advisory teacher: SLCN. Specialist Advisory Teachers of Children's Services, SEND TST are qualified and registered Elklan tutors and accredited training may be made available.

Talk Boost
Talk Boost is a targeted and evidence -based intervention for children between 4-7 years with language delays who are underachieving. The programme enables schools to identify children and groups with language delay, set specific learning objectives and establish speaking and listening groups to enhance learning. SEND TST has specialist advisory teachers: SLCN who are trained to support schools or clusters of schools in implementing this intervention programme.
There are similar programmes being developed for key stage 2.
For further information contact , telephone 020 7843 2515 or SEND TST specialist advisory teachers and/or Traded Services

City and Guilds Award 4337 in Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication Skills
The Communication Trust, with the support of City and Guilds has developed a level 3 award in Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication Skills.
It has been funded by the Department for Education's VCS Grant scheme and will take the form of an online learning route for delivering the Level 3 accredited qualification: Supporting Children and Young People's Speech, Language and Communication.
Platform 3 will help early year's practitioners, from a wide range of backgrounds and locations, to access this Level 3 CPD award. It will consist of two mandatory and one optional unit.
 The Award will, the Communication Trust claims, enable the children's workforce to develop the knowledge and skills needed to effectively encourage all children's speech, language and communication development and identify and support those who are struggling. As well as studying online students will be supported by an assessor.
The Communication Trust have partnered with the three Awarding Organisations currently offering the Award: apt awards, CACHE and City & Guilds. They are currently working with an online provider to create a new e-learning and assessment route as well as recruiting approved centres and learners. They aim to roll out mainstream delivery from April 2015.
For further information see
Or to find your nearest accredited awarding centre see

This level of study is likely to be pursued by SENCOs, Inclusion Officers and those teachers who have responsibility for the teaching or providing advice for the teaching support of pupils with SLCN.

Currently, the following universities provide part-time and/or distance learning courses relating to SLCN:

• Sheffield
• City of London
• Birmingham (this university no longer offers a separate SLCN course but has combined this with literacy and dyslexia)

There may also be other universities that are developing courses.
It is recommended that individuals contact these universities for further information to find the type of course in terms of content, study arrangements, assessment methods and level of post graduate study that best suits them. All of these courses, however, will require that you teach pupils with SLCN and will do so for the duration of the course, as the assignments will be linked to your teaching with action research central to your studies.