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The 2018 judging panel will be announced soon. 


2016/17 Judging Panel

Francesca Martinez | International Comedian, Writer and Speaker


Francesca is a wobbly* comedian, writer and speaker who has toured internationally with sell-out runs at TheMelbourne Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.She launched her comedy career in 2000 beating a thousand UK comedians, including Mathew Horne, KarlTheobald and Jimmy Carr, to become the first and only woman to win the Open Mic Award. She hasperformed in Australia, Ireland, France, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, in Hollywood and onBroadway, and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside actress Emma Thompson. *Oh yeah, she has mild cerebral palsy but she much prefers the word ‘wobbly’.



Octavia Holland | Director | The Communication Trust

Bio coming soon  


Nicola Holmes | Lead Professional Advisor | The Communication TrustNicola Holmes

Nicola joined the Trust in 2016 as a Lead Professional Advisor. She is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist by background and currently provides professional input on a range of the Trust’s projects including the Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) tool and Workforce Development Survey. She is part of The Trust Leadership Team and also leads professional input for policy responses. Nicola’s areas of specialism include early years and her experience prior to working at The Trust includes 6 years leading a speech, language and communication provision across Local Authority Children’s Centres. 


Rosie Alouat | Project Support Officer | The Communication Trust Rosie Alouat SAL

Rosie joined the Trust in 2014 and works as a Project Support Officer for a number of key projects, including Platform 3 and the Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF). She is the main point of contact for the Trust’s Local Champions, a group of over three hundred practitioners based all over the country.



Emma Hickley | Head of Operations | The Communication Trust 

Emma Hickley - 111016

Emma Hickley joined the Communication Trust in 2013 and is responsible for the operational delivery of the Trust programme of work. With a background in  Learning and Development, Emma’s been instrumental in the development of online learning solutions and qualifications for practitioners so that they are able help children who may be struggling with their speech  in speech, language and communication.


Chris HallChristopher Hall | Director of Clinical Assessment | Pearson

Chris has spent all his career in health and educational publishing. He has been the Director of Clinical Assessment for over 10 years and worked on the development of many of our key assessments and including helping to oversee the move to Q-interactive across all markets. In his spare time, Chris is Chair of Governors at Hitchin Girls School, occasional charity marathon runner and aspiring sheep farmer.


Lesley Munro |Education & Speech and Language Therapy Manager | Pearson

Bio coming soon


Peter SutcliffePeter Sutcliffe | Editor | SEN Magazine

Peter has been the Editor of SEN Magazine, the UK’s leading magazine for special educational needs, since 2009. The Magazine has a a wide readership amongst teachers, parents and SEN professionals, providing comprehensive news and feature coverage of all aspects of special educational needs. Prior to taking up this role, Peter edited Family Magazine and headed-up editorial teams for publications in the education, music and entertainment sectors. He also has extensive experience of the creative and commercial aspects of publishing. Peter has managed the development of digital media platforms for magazines and currently edits the SEN website


Mrs Hilary BerryHilary Berry | Chair | Cheshire West and Chester Association of Primary Headteachers 

Hilary Berry is a member of the Communication Council and is currently Chair of Cheshire West and Chester Association of Primary Headteachers. As a key system leader in Cheshire West and Chester she demonstrates the ability to broker professional dialogue and conversations between colleagues so that they can co-create strategies to deliver national policies whilst incorporating their local priorities. Hilary also acts as a mentor and critical friend to Headteachers, influencing and guiding their personal and professional development.


Anna ReevesAnna Reeves | Manager | ACE Centre 

Anna Reeves is Manager of ACE Centre - a national charity that has been commissioned by NHS England to provide specialised AAC services in the North West and Wessex & Thames Valley specialised commissioning regions. ACE Centre has many years’ experience in delivering multi-professional assessment, training and information services relating to the uses of AAC and assistive technology to support learning. A teacher by background, Anna has been significantly involved in the campaign to improve AAC provision, skills and knowledge at a local and specialist level and is now the Vice Chair of the AAC Sub-Group on behalf of NHS England.


Malcolm ReeveMalcolm Reeve | Executive Director | SEND & Inclusion at Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)

Malcolm is Executive Director for SEND & Inclusion at Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) - the UK’s largest academy chain. He has worked in the field of SEND for 30 years and in that time has worked in adult provision, mainstream schools and special schools. He has worked with children throughout the age range and with learning difficulties ranging from moderate to profound. Malcolm has been a Headteacher of three schools and one federation. He is a National Leader of Education, a Member of the National SEND Forum and Patron of the Centre Algarve holiday centre for people with special needs.


Joy RutterJoy RutterLocal Champion

Joy has over 10 years experience in school governance. With a personal interest Joy is passionate about improving the outcomes for children with additional needs. 


Bob Reitemeier CBE | CEO | I CAN

Bob became Chief Executive in January 2016 and has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Prior to his appointment at I CAN, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Executive of The Children’s Society. Internationally, Bob started his career as a secondary school teacher in Zaïre, followed by posts as Country Director for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) in Chad and Country Director for ActionAid in Bangladesh. He settled with his family in England in 1994. Bob has served on several national Boards supporting children and young people, including The Youth Justice Board, the Social Work Task Force, the Children’s Workforce Development Council and as Chairman of Children England. He received a CBE for services to children in 2012.


Janet Cooper | Early language and Communication Strategy Lead | Stoke on Trent City Council and 2011 Winner  

Janet is a qualified SLT with extensive experience of child development and children’s developmental speech, language and communication difficulties. 


Since completing her BSc (hons) degree in speech/language pathology and therapeutics in 1988 she has held a wide range of roles in both the health authority and in education. In 2004, she set up and developed the ‘Stoke Speaks Out’ multi-agency programme to tackle early language and communication difficulties which us currently in its 12th year. In 2004, Janet was invited to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister in recognition for her services to children. Stoke Speaks Out has won a range of National awards for working with parents, multi-agency strategy and team of the year. Janet is currently employed by Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent NHS Partnership Trust- but commissioned by Stoke on Trent City Council to lead on communication development for school readiness, ‘Stoke Speaks Out’ and ‘Stoke Reads’.


Helen Fiddler | Interim Strategic Lead and Programme Manager, and Past Winner | ESCAL

Bio coming soon


Zoe PedenZoё Peden | Co-founder | InSane Logic 

Zoё is the mastermind behind Insane Logic alongside co-founder Andrew Jackman (aka Chief Code Monkey).​ ​Zoё’s 10-year career in educational and professional publishing, and subsequent senior position at The Makaton Charity, has made her passionate about supporting children, young people and adults’ language development and working with people with learning disabilities. This passion is what drove her to co-found Insane Logic, the company behind MyChoicePad – a language development platform for mobile tablets, which uses symbols and signs to reinforce language and is designed to help those with communication difficulties.


Julie SteeleJulie Steele | Specialist | Speech and Language HLTA and Local Champion 

Julie Steele is a Specialist Speech and Language HLTA. Julie supports SLCN pupils and their Parents in school, and practitioners from other schools. Julie has worked with Primary school SEN children for over 14 years in all areas of Speech, Language and Communication Needs. SLCN support is a passion of Julie's to help children find their voice, their confidence and to help them reach their full potential.


Norbert LieckfeldtNorbert Lieckfeldt | Chief Executive | British Stammering Association 

Norbert has been Chief Executive of the BSA since 2001. He started as a volunteer on the BSA helpdesk in 1993 as part of his own programme of speech therapy. Norbert is currently a Governor of the East London NHS Foundation Trust, member of the Disability Expert Advisory Panel of the Civil Service and Co-Chairman (with EY Senior Partner Iain Wilkie) of the Employers Stammering Network.


Clare O'RourkeClare O'Rourke | Speech and Language Teacher | Peacehaven Community School and Past Winner

Bio coming soon


John Parrott | Chair of Communication Consortium | NAPLIC 

The majority of John’s career has been in education and more specifically working in the field of speech, language and communication. He taught in mainstream and special schools for over 20 years including 9 years as Head of I CAN’s Meath School.  Since 2003 he has had a variety of roles including: Special School Improvement Partner; Regional Tutor on a post-grad distance learning course (SLCN); Registered Intermediary; and offering bespoke consultancy for Local Authorities, voluntary organisations and schools.  His current roles include being a part time I CAN Communication Advisor and a

specialist SEN/Disability panel member of both the SEND and Social Security Tribunals.  For over 25 years he has been a member of the volunteer committee that runs NAPLIC, being Chair for 10 years. He has represented NAPLIC at the Communication Consortium since 2009 and became Chair of the Consortium in September 2016. 


Jonathan Douglas | Director | National Literacy Trust

Jonathan Douglas is Director of the National Literacy Trust – the independent charity committed to raising literacy levels in the UK’s most deprived communities. Jonathan joined the Trust in 2007. He has developed the strategy for the 2008 National Year of Reading generating 2.5million new public library members, formed the All Party Parliamentary Literacy Group, expanded the National Literacy Trust schools’ programme to include 7,000 schools and engaged a wide range of businesses (including Boots Opticians, the Premier League, McDonald’s and KPMG) in the campaign for UK literacy.

He is Chair of Governors of St William of York Primary School in Lewisham. In 2014 Jonathan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Oxford Brookes University.


Wendy Lee | Speech & Language Solutions

Wendy has worked as a speech and language therapist for 30 years, in clinical practice, as a senior lecturer and in the third sector. Until recently she was Professional Director at The Communication Trust where she led on a number of projects to develop and share interventions, information and resources, as well as inputting on national policy and research. Wendy is currently working independently, working directly with academies, trusts and schools and with national charities and other organisations on all things speech, language and communication. She also has a small team of therapists working directly with children and young people.


Shane Dangar | Communication Champion 2013/14

Shane Dangar is a former Young People’s Champion (YPC) and Communication Champion of the Year, 2013/14. Shane is currently studying psychology and SEND/inclusion at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.


Jane Comeau | Chair | PACEYJane Comeau

Jane Comeau is Chair of PACEY (Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years). A registered childminder of 22 years and an Early Years Professional, Jane volunteered for the organisation for many years and joined its board of trustees in 2011. With a degree in early years, Jane understands how to best support children’s speech, language and communication needs in a childcare setting. She also shares PACEY’s commitment to supporting everyone working in childcare and early years to prepare children for a bright future.  


Jill DuffyJill Duffy | SVP | UK Schools 

Bio coming soon




Bev Crisp | Family Outreach Worker | Whitby and the Moors; and Communication Champion 2015

Bio coming soon



Kamini Gadhok | MBE - Chief Executive | RCSLT Kamini Gadhok

Kamini has been RCSLT Chief Executive since December 2000. Her primary role is to deliver service change by building strong partnerships with key stakeholders across Government, charities, other professional bodies and the Health Professions Council. Over the years Kamini has been involved in a number of Government initiatives, including a secondment to the Department of Health’s Care Record Development Board and as an adviser to the Bercow review of services for children with speech, language and communication needs. She received an MBE for her service to the allied health professions in 2009.



Jonathan Middleditch | Award Winner 2015

Young Person of the Year, 2015 



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