BACP has joined 60 organisations to call on the Government to do more to improve support for young people with speech, language and communication needs.

A coalition of leading organisations from across children’s health and social care, education, justice, disability and poverty, has sent an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to tackle the inequality of services for some 1.4 million children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in the UK.

The campaign has been coordinated by children’s charity I CAN and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

Our chair Andrew Reeves signed the letter on behalf of BACP.

He said: “Communication is at the heart of so many areas of children and young people’s development, education, health and well-being.

“Whether they are communicating with their friends, families or teachers or learning to articulate their emotions, we must ensure young people have equal access to the support needed to ensure they can reach their potential and seize the opportunities open to them as they grow up.

No young person should miss out

“No young person should miss out because of a lottery in services.”

The coalition is calling for urgent action in five key areas, which will improve the life chances for these children and young people, enabling them to reach their full potential. 

It's urging the Government to take action on:

  • Joint commissioning to put an end to the postcode lottery of support for these children and young people;
  • Support for children and young people with long-term, persistent SLCN, who require some level of specialist help during and beyond their early years;
  • Providing professional development for those working in education, including teachers and teaching assistants, to enable all children and young people to develop language and communication skills. Teachers also need to be able to identify children and young people with SLCN as early as possible, so they can be supported effectively;
  • Incentivising schools to give speech, language and communication the priority it deserves;
  • Training practitioners who are working with vulnerable children and young people, including; looked after children, those in the youth justice system or who are living with mental health issues, in how to recognise SLCN and respond effectively. They must also have access to specifically commissioned speech and language therapy services for those children and young people who need

The letter to the Prime Minister comes as I CAN and the RCSLT publish the first anniversary update to their joint report, Bercow: Ten Years On, which looked at the state of provision for children and young people with SLCN in England.

Of the 47 recommendations for action made in the report, 17 of them have been implemented.

Read the full letter to the Prime Minister.