Salford City Partnership

Speech, Language & Communication Needs

'WellComm' screening in Early Years

As part of Salford’s 0-25 transformation programme, Salford Royal’s speech therapists have teamed up with the council’s Starting Life Well service to introduce a new way of working to help three year olds achieve their potential.

Watch our short film to find out about some of the amazing work that has been taking place.

  • As shown in the film, we are using an evidence-based screening tool called Wellcomm. This is a simple and effective way to identify a child’s language skills. It provides a systematic approach to identify children at risk of language delay.
  • This project focuses on children accessing three year old childcare funding.
  • We are running training sessions and cluster support meetings. These will develop practitioner skills, knowledge and confidence in identifying and supporting children’s speech, language and communication needs.


School-based pilot

We looked at Speech, Language & Communication Needs (SLCN) in schools, and agreed to test school-based speech therapy support. A cluster of primary schools in Irlam and Cadishead was chosen for the testing.

An Elklan trained teaching assistant worked with the community Speech & Language Therapist, six schools in the Irlam and Cadishead area, and Irlam and Cadishead College. She visited each school on a regular basis to set up support plans, advise on strategies and offer CPD (Continuing Professional Development) opportunities.

Feedback was positive:

  • Mrs Ollerenshaw (Reception based Teaching Assistant from a school in the pilot cluster) commented "Having this SLCN teaching assistant working under this pilot is proving extremely successful in the development of speaking and communication in school. The links she has made with the health and education service are fantastic! The communication between services has improved greatly and early identification and support is evident already. For example, a concern was raised by a parent on a Monday, this was recorded in the contact book school have for the SLCN teaching assistant. On the following day, Tuesday, when based at our school, she followed up the parent's concerns. She worked with the child, had discussions with the class teacher and SENCO and made an enquiry by email to community SLT. A response was provided quickly and she was able to find appropriate resources to support the child following the advice. This child can now be monitored and a referral to the community SLT may not be required."
  • A different school in the pilot cluster commented "The SLCN teaching assistant has built strong relationships with the workforce in the school and has excellent communication skills. Her support, advice and proactive nature has been invaluable for myself and the rest of the team. She is doing an amazing job!"
  • A Year 3 pupil commented, "I like working with the new teaching assistant and my teacher, because they has lots of fun activities which help me say my words better."

The pilot ran until the Summer Term 2018 and schools data suggests it had a positive impact on children’s Listening and Attention, Understanding, Speaking, and Development.  We are taking this into account in designing future ways of working.


Speak Up Salford website

Young people participated in the design of our Speak Up Salford website through four focused workshops. The new improved site is due go live in spring 2019.

This page was last updated on 30 January 2019

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