The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCLST) today welcomes the interim report of the Government’s review into the provision of services to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCNs), known as the Bercow Review.
One in 10 children – an estimated 1.2 million across the UK – has a communication disability. Recent evidence suggests that in some parts of the UK more than half of children arrive at primary school without the speech and language skills they need to learn and make friends.
RCSLT particularly praises the involvement of John Bercow MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group into Speech and Language Difficulties and Chair of the Review, who has led the review with great passion and keen understanding of the importance of this key life skill for children.
RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok said “We are pleased with the thoroughness of the review and have been glad to be involved in the process. The overwhelming response from parents and users to the call for evidence demonstrates the impact which communication needs have on a child – and how important good support can be.
“Over the coming months we hope to work with John Bercow and the Government to help develop concrete solutions to meet children’s speech, language and communication needs in the future.”
In particular the RCSLT would like to see:
• an awareness raising campaign around SLCNs to raise the profile of these hidden but life-changing needs – among those working with children, families and the general public – supported by much-needed research into the best interventions for children
• strengthening of joint commissioning arrangements, such as Children’s Trusts
• work to develop the pathways to support the child and family, especially in the early years and through early intervention
• work to resolve the postcode lottery and waiting lists for services, to audit local provision and ensure the right treatment and support is available in a timely way
• that the excellent work of the Review will be carried into the future by making a minister responsible for the delivery of services for children with SLCNs