Time to share your views
Bercow: Ten Years On is a national, independent review of the state of provision for children and young people’s speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in England being led by I CAN and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist.
Since January 2017 we have been seeking the views of practitioners, commissioners, children and young people, parents and carers and anyone working with and providing services for children and young people with SLCN and asking ‘what is the reality of support for children and young people with SLCN and their families?’.
As the evidence comes in, it is clear that placing the spotlight onto the services available for children and young people with SLCN has never been more important. Not least, because the review is providing crucial information about the extent of the number of children struggling as a result of difficulties with speech, language and communication.
Number of children with delayed language increasing
Evidence submitted by the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) from their survey in 2016 has revealed an increase in health visitors reporting that they are seeing higher numbers of children with delayed language, with the number rising from 64% in 2015 to 72% in 2016.
Worrying, the iHV evidence shows that nearly three quarters of health visitors that responded to the survey reported more children with delayed speech and communication development, meaning they see more children using simpler sentences, fewer words and struggling to understand the same instructions as their peers.
The reality of this is more children who won’t be ready for learning when they start school as a result. We know that in some areas of the country, particularly in areas of deprivation, a significant number of children have delayed language – as many as 50%. The fact that health visitors are seeing these numbers rise means that now more than ever we need to ensure the right support is in place.
The Bercow: Ten Years On review comes ten years after the Government published the Bercow review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) making strong recommendations to Government about the steps it should take to transform provision for and the experiences of children and young people with SLCN and their families.
Early identifcation and intervention essential
The 2008 review highlighted early identification and intervention as essential; the evidence provided by the iHV shows us that increasing numbers of children are having their needs identified early...but what do we know about the intervention?
A key question that the Bercow: Ten Years On review will be asking is ‘what is happening as a result of children having their speech, language and communication needs recognised?’ We need to find out what goes on once children have been identified as having delayed language.
The second phase of evidence gathering, a consultation seeking the views and experiences of parents and carers of children and young people with SLCN, has now opened. This will provide a pivotal opportunity for parents and carers to speak out both for themselves and on behalf of children and young people. This will run alongside a practitioner survey gathering the views of those working with or providing services for children and young people with SLCN.
To find out more, including how you and parents can respond visit the Bercow: Ten Years On website and follow #Bercow10Years on social media.
About the author:
Bob Reitemeier became Chief Executive of I CAN in January 2016 and has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Previously, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Executive of The Children’s Society. 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
Bob has served on several national Boards supporting children and young people, including The Youth Justice Board, Social Work Task Force, Children’s Workforce Development Council and as Chairman of Children England. He received a CBE for services to children in 2012.
Date posted: April 20, 2017