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Press Release: Inspirational Communicators and Outstanding Settings Honoured at Shine a Light Awards

The winners of the 2015 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 (24th September 2015) by Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust.

Shine a Light Awards logo 2015Download a pdf version of this press release

Hosted by comedian David Baddiel, the awards, which took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London, 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 speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

A number of inspiring individuals received awards, including 17-year-old Jonathan Middleditch from Surrey, who was the recipient of the Young Person of the Year Award, and Bev Crisp from Yorkshire who took home the Communication Champion Award. Jonathan, a pupil at Moor House School and College, was diagnosed with severe specific language impairment, dyspraxia1, dyslexia2 and dyscalculia3 resulting in unintelligible speech.

He has achieved two GCSEs and through his ability to explain his skills and experience with confidence in an interview, gained a place on an agriculture course at a mainstream college. Jonathan became an integral part of Moor House School’s bid to successfully apply for a £90,000 grant to develop a specialist system to enable other pupils to access support. He also has a tractor and trailer licence and achieved functional skills qualifications in English and maths, proving that with determination anything is possible.

Communication Champion Award

Bev Crisp from Whitby and Moors Children’s Centre was acknowledged for her efforts working tirelessly to develop an early-years intervention programme, Building Blocks for Language. Despite holding down a full-time job as an early-years practitioner and family support worker, Bev has used all her spare time over the past year; weekends, evenings and holidays; to focus on the programme, which supports the needs of two-year-olds identified with SLCN in North Yorkshire by working closely with families. 

Primary School of the Year

The awards also recognised schools such as Aerodrome Primary Academy in Croydon (Primary School of the Year) for their whole-school holistic approach to communication, ensuring all members of staff - from the headteacher to the caretaker - have a strong understanding of speech, language and communication development and SLCN.

Secondary School/College of the Year

Hampstead School in London (Secondary School/College of the Year) demonstrated their commitment to SLCN across the whole school and ran events such as No Pens Day Wednesday, an initiative which encourages schools and settings to put down their pens and to run a day of speaking and listening activities, and a variety of different communication based weeks to benefit their pupils.

Communication Commitment School of the Year Award

Holy Trinity Primary School in Yorkshire (Communication Commitment School of the Year Award) highlighted their commitment to communication as part of everyday practice and spreading theword not just within school but encouraging communication outside of the school gates also.

In total David Baddiel presented 20 awards (winners and highly commended) including the TalkAbout Team, Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust, who were awarded the CommunityFriendly Award, and I CAN’S Talk About Talk programme, which took home the award for theSLCN Innovation.

The Talk About Team picked up an award for their project that trained early-years practitioners to improve the communication skills of young children in Norfolk and I CAN won for their innovative training and tutoring programme Talk About Talk, which develops young people's communication skills by enabling them to co-deliver communication awareness training toorganisations, either in the criminal justice system or those that may offer employment orvolunteering opportunities.

'True grit and determination'

David Baddiel, Host of the 2015 Shine a Light Awards, said: “Because of the important work that the Shine a Light 2015 winners and highly commended finalists have achieved, children and young people’s language and communication development, especially for those with SLCN, has been supported.“Speech and language problems too often goes under the radar, so everyone should not only be congratulated for their work but for bringing this important issue to the attention of others. I would like to say well done to all those shortlisted who have shown true grit and determination to better themselves and others. They are all a true inspiration - keep up the good work.”

Chris Hall, Director of Clinical Assessment at Pearson, says: “Congratulations to the winners and highly commended finalists of the 2015 Shine a Light Awards. The applications get stronger and more inspiring each year. We have seen examples of children and young people with SLCN being supported by some truly remarkable individuals and groups.

“The Shine a Light Awards, now in their fourth year, continue to grow and we have been delighted to welcome an incredible judging panel who represent the very best of the education and special educational needs (SEN) sector. To once again partner with The Communication Trust and celebrate these inspiring people and organisations is a real privilege.”

Anne Fox, Director of The Communication Trust, says: “Congratulations to the winners and highly commended finalists whose work will help inspire and motivate people right across the country. They have shown what can be achieved when children and young people, who often struggle to communicate, are given the support they so richly deserve – support which can make a real difference to their life chances.

“We’re delighted to have this partnership with Pearson, which allows Shine a Light to be a true celebration of the amazing work up and down the country and for helping the Trust to reach more children and young people and the professionals who work with them. We’re particularly pleased this year to be able to acknowledge our Communication Commitment schools who have taken a whole-school approach to improving children’s outcomes in speech, language and communication through a new award category.

The range of activities they’ve completed is fantastic with great results.“The Shine a Light Awards are a key fixture 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 when early years, health, education and SEN services are going through significant reforms, Shine a Light focuses attention on what can be achieved through expertise, sheer determination and never giving up on children and young people’s potential.”

Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award

In addition to these awards Pearson awarded Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE the Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award for his transformational impact on SLCN and activity related to the Children and Families Act.

Lord Ramsbotham’s time as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector first introduced him to speech and language issues amongst those who are detained and this started a commitment to support andsolutions for those individuals and the professionals that work with them. He is passionately committed to ensuring that SLCN are identified and supported and has been chair of the All Party Parliamentary group on speech and language difficulties since 2007.

Lord Ramsbotham has been an amazing champion for the issue, achieving a reversal of initial suggestions that the SEN provisions not apply to young people in the justice system.

A full list of the winners and highly commended finalists can be found on the Shine a Light Results 2015 page.


1 Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination thatcauses a child to perform less well than expected for his or her age in daily activities and appear to move clumsily. (NHS)

2 Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly affects the way people read and spell words. (NHS)

3 Dyscalculia is usually perceived of as a specific learning difficulty for mathematics, or, more appropriately, arithmetic. (BritishDyslexia Association)



For further Information

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Laura Smith and Lisa Church at Consilium Communications by contacting / 07467 945661 or / 07467 945848.

Notes to editors

About the Shine a Light Awards

  • The Shine a Light Awards are sponsored and organised by Pearson in partnership with TheCommunication Trust, a coalition of over 50 organisations dedicated to supporting children andyoung people's speech, language and communication.
  • The Awards are designed to promote and celebrate good practice in speech, language and communication for individuals, groups and settings that 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 10 winners and 11 highly commended finalists pickingup coveted awards at a glittering ceremony hosted by comedian, David Baddiel.
  • The Award categories were Early Years Setting of the Year Award, Primary School of the Year Award, Secondary School/College of the Year Award), Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Award, Community Friendly Award, SLCN Innovation Award, Community Champion Award, Young Person of the Year Award and Communication Commitment School ofthe Year Award.
  • 25 judges were involved in the Shine a Light Awards including Anne Fox, Director of The Communication Trust; Kamini Gadhok, CEO and Derek Munn, Director of Policy and Public Affairs of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT); Virginia Beardshaw, CEO of I CAN; Norbert Lieckfeldt, Chief Executive of British Stammering Association; Peter Sutcliffe, Editor of SEN Magazine; Jonathan Douglas, Director of National Literacy Trust; Chris Hall, Managing Director at Pearson; Lesley Munro, Education & Speech and Language Therapy Manager at Pearson; Jill Duffy, Managing Director for Schools, Pearson; Hilary Berry, Chair of Cheshire West and Chester Primary Heads' Association; Clare O’Rourke, Specialist Speech, Language and Communication Teacher at Peacehaven Community School and past winner; Michael Beakhouse, Adults & Children’s Commissioner at Reading Borough Council and past winner; Shane Dangar, Communication Champion 2013/14; Anna Reeves, Manager of ACE Centre; Malcolm Reeve, Executive Director for SEND & Inclusion at Academies Enterprise Trust; Janet Cooper,Programme Manager of Stoke Speaks Out and Past Shine a Light Award winner; Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY; Zoё Peden, Co-founder of Insane Logic; Laura Steuart Fothringham, Programme Manager for The Communication Trust; Shona Crichton, Professional Advisor for TheCommunication Trust; Jack Williams, Project Officer for The Communication Trust; Joy Rutter, SEN Governor at Linton Colliery First School; Julie Steele, Specialist Speech and LanguageHLTA; Helen Fiddler, ESCAL Interim Strategic Lead and Programme Manager at Sheffield City Council; Aidan Baker, Young Person of the Year 2013/14.
  • For further information, visit


About Pearson

  • Pearson is the world's leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 70 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning.
  • Pearson 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 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 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, visit or follow @PsychCorpUK#SAL2015


About The Communication Trust

  • The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 leading voluntary sector organisations, which raises awareness, influences policy, promotes best practice among the children’s workforce and commissions work from its members.
  • The Trust’s mission is to ensure that every child and young person is supported to communicate to the very best of their ability.
  • The Trust works towards its mission by working in partnership to build, skills, knowledge and confidence in the children’s workforce, based on a foundation of good practice, robust evidence and effective policy and legislation.
  • For more information about the Trust visit or follow@Comm_nTrust #SAL2015.

Date posted: September 25, 2015

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