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Press Release: Outstanding Communication Practice Honoured at Shine a Light Awards

The winners of the 2013/2014 Shine a Light Awards, a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development, have been revealed today (Thursday 3rd April) by Pearson Assessment in partnership with The Communication Trust.

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The winners of the 2013/2014 Shine a Light Awards, a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development, have been revealed today (Thursday 3rd April) by Pearson Assessment in partnership with The Communication Trust.


Winners of the awards include inspirational young man, Shane Dangar (aged 20) who received the Communication Champion Award for his selfless volunteering raising awareness of communication difficulties with youth services, Housing Associations, Job Centres and other groups. Despite his difficulties with language and social interaction as a result of his Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, Shane has inspired people to understand what it is like to struggle to communicate using humour and honesty.


Now in their third year, the Shine a Light Awards, took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London and were hosted by Anne Diamond, Broadcaster and Health Campaigner. The awards are designed to honour individuals, teams, campaigns, communication friendly settings and communities that have excelled in their support of children and young people’s communication, particularly for those with SLCN.


The Life & Deaf Association and Artburst Ltd were the joint recipients of the SLCN Innovation Award for their creative and engaging work engaging children and young people.


The Life & Deaf Association were awarded the prize for their campaign driving a VW-camper van across the UK wrapped in poetry to spread a positive deaf awareness message to schools across 15 cities. Artburst’s educational workshops and Speak Out programme were given the prize for their work improving the oracy and literacy skills of young people in Hackney.


The London Borough of Hackney scooped up at the awards across a number of categories including Wentworth Nursery School who took home the Early Years Setting of the Year Award for their excellent support of children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their families.  


Peacehaven Community School in East Sussex received the Secondary School of the Year Award for the second year running in recognition of the excellent opportunities offered to pupils with SLCN and the support teachers and learning assistants are given to help those with communication difficulties.


Chris Hall, Managing Director of Pearson Assessment, says: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the winners and highly commended finalists of the 2013/2014 Shine a Light Awards. This year, we have seen some truly inspiring examples of work being carried out to support children and young people with SLCN.  


“When we launched the awards in 2011 we aimed to help raise awareness of SLCN. With the awards now in their third year, we are excited to have helped over 90 teams shout about their work and go on to inspire others. With returning finalists and new applicants, Pearson Assessment is proud to have once again partnered The Communication Trust for this fantastic event.”


Anne Fox, Director of The Communication Trust, says: “The Shine a Light Awards are important for the speech and language sector as they reflect a range of best practice and innovative work taking place across the country. At a time where health and SEN services are going through significant reforms, Shine a Light focuses attention on what can be achieved through expertise, sheer determination and bravery.


“Congratulations to the winners and highly commended finalists whose work will help inspire and motivate people. They have shown what can be achieved when children and young people with communication difficulties are offered the support they deserve. Thank you to Pearson Assessment for their continued support of Shine a Light and for helping the Trust to reach more children and young people and the professionals who work with them.”


Two new categories were added to this year’s awards to help a wider group of organisations and groups to share their innovative work and best practice. Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate (ESCAL) won the new Working Together Award for their work establishing a consistent, effective and sustainable speech, language and communication strategy across 15 primary schools where over 43 languages are spoken.


The new Children’s Workforce Award was awarded to the Time to Talk campaign led by Warwickshire County Council and NHS Speech and Language Therapy Service in recognition of their work providing a network of trained Speech and Language Champions across 39 children’s centres and 109 early years settings.


Anne Diamond said: “I'm a Mum of 4 boys and have been in journalism all my life so I naturally congratulate The Shine a Light Awards for celebrating the best practice in supporting children and young people's communication development. It has been an honour to host the Awards this year, as there have been some exciting new categories to widen the scope of the awards and recognise other teams who are carrying out exceptional work.


“I was surprised to learn that over one million children in the UK have some form of SLCN that can affect their ability to learn and make friends. Congratulations to all the winners and highly commended finalists and may we use their successes to help even more children to communicate and reach their potential."


In addition to these awards, Pearson Assessment presented three special awards at the ceremony to Clarice Barber from Denbigh who won the Pearson Award for Inspiring Others for her work at the Afasic Youth Project mentoring and supporting younger children with SLCN.


Wrexham & Flintshire Youth Justice Services received the Pearson Award for Continued Best Practice in Youth Justice and 7-year-old Ethan Berry from Wolverhampton received the Pearson Superhero Award for the unswerving dedication and compassion he gives to his autistic brother Noah who has severe learning difficulties.


Nominated by his mum Samantha, Ethan’s bond with Noah is one that no specialist has been able to emulate with Ethan regularly inventing wacky games that are fun and educational for Noah to help him communicate.


The full list of Winners and Highly Commended finalists include: 

 Category  Winner/s  Highly Commended
Commissioning Award  Reading Borough Council, Children's Commissioning Team

Kirkby Collaborative of Schools, Knowsley
Early Years Setting of  the Year Award  Wentworth Nursery School, Hackney Lanterns Nursery School and Children's Centre, Winchester

Magdalen Gates Preschool, Norwich
Primary School of the Year Award  Millfields Community School, Hackney  River View Primary School, Salford

Aerodrome Primary Academy, Croydon 
Secondary School/College of the Year Award  Peacehaven Community School, East Sussex  Haverstock Secondary School, Camden

Hetton School, Students of the language provision, Tyne and Wear 
Working Together Award  Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate (ESCAL)  The Discovery Group
The Children's Centre Speech and Language Team, North Somerset 
SLCN Innovation Award  The Life & Deaf Association

Artburst Ltd 
Youth Justice Award  Barton Moss Secure Care Centre, Salford  Salford Youth Offending Service 
Pearson Award into Continued Best Practice in Youth Justice  Wrexham & Flintshire Youth Justice Services   
Communication Champion  Shane Dangar, Yeovil  Jacqueline Stokes awarded posthumously for her work establishing Auditory Verbal UK

Mandy Graham, Teaching Assistant from Derbyshire 
Young Person of the Year Aidan Baker, Nottingham Dylan Milner, Christchurch
Pearson Award for Inspiring Others  Clarice Barber, Denbigh  N/A 
Children's Workforce Award  Time to Talk campaign from Warwickshire County Council and NHS Speech and Language Therapy Team Service  Early Language Development Group, Wyre and Fylde 
Pearson Superhero Award  Ethan Berry, Wolverhampton  N/A 
Pearson Assessment Outstanding Achievement Award  Reading Borough Council, Children's Commissioning Team  N/A 

- Ends -

Date posted: April 4, 2014 Last updated: April 4, 2014


For further information

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Laura Smith and Charlotte Hussey at Consilium Communications by emailing or or call 07766651366.


Notes for editors

About the Shine a Light Awards

  • The Shine a Light Awards are sponsored and organised by Pearson Assessment in partnership with The Communication Trust.
  • The Awards are designed to promote and celebrate good practice in speech, language and communication for individuals, groups and settings which work with children and young people, particularly those with SLCN.
  • The awards form part of the legacy of the National Year of Communication (Hello campaign) and have become a key event in the speech, language and communication community’s calendar.
  • Nearly 80 applications were received with 16 winners and 13 highly commended finalists picking up coveted awards at a glittering ceremony hosted by Anne Diamond.
  • 17 judges were involved in the Shine a Light Awards including Janet Cooper, Founder of Stoke Speaks Out, Peter Sutcliffe, Editor of SEN Magazine, Virginia Beardshaw, Chief Executive of I CAN, Sean Stockdale, Editor of Special Magazine, Kamini Gadhok, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), Diz Minnitt, Milton Keynes Youth Offending Team and Hilary Berry, Headteacher at Over Hall Community School.
  • For further information and to view the film of the ceremony or see the full list of judges, visit the Shine a Light minisite.

About Pearson Assessment

  • Pearson Assessment is the world’s largest commercial developer and distributor of educational assessments and psychological testing materials with over 90 years history of commitment to researching and developing products to a reliable high standard.
  • Pearson Assessment is dedicated to the pursuit of professional excellence, leadership, and growth through acquisition, development, publication, and the maintenance of quality assessment tools in order to anticipate and meet the needs of its customers.
  • Pearson Assessment have sponsored the Shine a Light Awards since their launch in 2011, as part of the Hello campaign (National Year of Communication).
  • For more information, follow @PsychCorpUK #SAL2014  

About The Communication Trust

  • The Communication Trust is a coalition of nearly 50 leading voluntary sector organisations, which raises awareness, influences policy, promotes best practice among the children’s workforce and commissions work from its members.
  • It has an extensive advisory group, which includes the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Association of Educational Psychologists and the General Teaching Council.
  • For more information about the Trust visit or follow @Comm_nTrust #SAL2014


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