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Identifying and meeting the Speech, Language and Communication needs of children who go on to attend Social, Emotional and Mental Health specialist settings


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Research report

Clare Sowman and Tom Archer
Trainee Educational Psychologists


The Bercow report (2008) highlighted the role of communication as a fundamental human right and a central factor influencing child development. The report explored issues pertaining to variations in access to assessment and the commissioning of services at a local level (Bercow, 2008). One group of children and young people (CYP) who appear consistently disadvantaged in their access to speech and language services, are CYP with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

Many believe that communication skills can act as a protective factor for CYP’s emotional and behavioural functioning (Centre for Mental Health, 2018). Yet recent figures indicate that as many as 81% of children with emotional and behavioural needs have unidentified speech and language difficulties (Hollo, Oliver & Wehby., 2014).This failure to identify and meet need has ramifications for children’s outcomes and has been associated with both school exclusion (Clegg et al., 2009) and contact with the criminal justice system (Bryan et al., 2007).

In this report, we describe a local research project which was commissioned by Speech and Language commissioners within Devon County Council and conducted by trainee educational psychologists from Babcock Learning and Development Partnership. We undertook this research as part of a wider project across Devon to explore provision for children and young people with speech language and communication needs (SLCN). The primary aim of this research was to explore – at a local level – whether there has been consideration of SLCN for children presenting
with social, emotional mental health needs (SEMH), and how SLCN have been identified and met for a group of children who went on to attend a specialist SEMH setting in the county.

The results shared in this report reflect the views of staff and senior leaders at one SEMH setting in Devon regarding the identification and meeting of needs for their students. This part of the research project was organised around three themes: Identification of SLCN; The impact of SLCN; and Meeting SLCN. Results pertaining to these themes are shared in the following report.

Research methods

This phase of the research involved interviews with 9 staff members (including teachers, support staff and senior leadership) at a specialist setting in Devon. Interview questions followed a semi-structured and hierarchical focussing interview schedule (Tomlinson, 1989) and were conducted by the trainee Educational Psychologists. Interviews were recorded and transcribed before being thematically coded using qualitative data analysis software NVIVO.

Questions for teachers and support staff asked them to reflect on their experiences with and knowledge of one of five focus children: each interviewee spoke about the child they worked most closely with. Questions for senior leadership staff explored their experiences more generally and knowledge of systemic issues affecting the school and students.

Acronyms and terminology used in this report

SALT – Speech and Language Therapy/Therapist
SLCN – Speech, Language and Communication Needs
SLC – Speech Language and Communication
SEMH – Social, Emotional and Mental Health
CYP – Children and Young People
EHE – Electively Home Educated
PRU – Pupil Referral Unit
EPs – Educational Psychologists
ASC – Autistic Spectrum Condition
ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Senior leadership – School leadership staff such as: head teacher, deputy head teacher
SENCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator

Summary of findings

The findings in this report shed light on a range of gaps in speech, language and communication (SLC) provision for a group of children in Devon. It is acknowledged that this research reflects the needs of a small and specific sample of children within the Devon context, all of whom currently attend a specialist SEMH setting. Therefore, caution must be taken in generalising any findings. The goal of our research was to identify gaps in provision and for these children, we found that there have often been many.

Many staff expressed the view that prior to attending the SEMH setting; the children’s SLC needs (SLCN) had been either unacknowledged, under-acknowledged, or unmet. SLCN remained unacknowledged for children who were able to demonstrate clear speech and when these children began to exhibit difficult behaviours, this was felt to divert attention and resources away from an exploration of SLCN towards a day-to-day management of behaviour. Where children did receive Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) assessment, there was a view that other diagnoses or labels would often follow (e.g. ASC assessment) and that these diagnoses could become blankets through which a more nuanced view of SLCN became lost. Finally, in their reflections on children’s journeys to the specialist SEMH setting, the staff commented on the ill fit of SLC provision for their students. They questioned the likelihood that children with SEMH needs would be able to engage in typical assessment or intervention with a SALT. Often, the staff had found previous records which documented a string of “Unable to engage” or “Did not attend”.

With regards to information about the children, their (often multiple) transitions prior to joining the specialist setting were seen as key points through which information was often diluted, lost, or overlooked. Records for children, who had had multiple placement transitions, including elective home education or attendance at a pupil referral unit (PRU), were often the most challenging to find. Some staff members questioned the motivation of previous schools to hand over their ‘tips and tricks’ when they may have already begun to move on from having the child as a student.

When staff were asked to explore their understanding of the children’s SLCN in the context of the SEMH setting, they highlighted the impact of SLC on the children’s SEMH needs and learning. Staff noticed that the children were often frustrated by their difficulties in communicating their emotions or views to others. In this way, their SLC and SEMH needs often interacted and staff noticed that both areas of need would often limit the children’s access to positive social interaction thus reinforcing their difficulties. In their learning, the children’s SLCN were very apparent as they
struggled to understand instructions or share their ideas coherently. Worryingly, many of the staff felt that strategies used to manage the children’s behaviour in previous settings (e.g. spending time out of class) often widened the gaps in their learning which – when combined with the children’s frustration – had consequences for their engagement.

In the final section, we asked staff to consider how they meet the children’s SLCN. The central theme in this section was that a one-size-fits-all approach was not appropriate. Staff made use of daily briefings to unpick the children’s behaviour and to differentiate the support that they provided the children with according to need. This process was felt to require a great deal of responsivity and staff skill. When monitoring the children’s progress, the staff did not specifically focus on SLC progress but felt that development of these skills would indirectly improve overall SEMH outcomes. For children who had received SALT involvement while at mainstream, staff reported that recommendations were either already routinely practiced in the school or did not appear to reflect the current needs of the children. It was noted by several staff that strategies intended for mainstream schools were often not practical in this specialised setting, and that the children’s needs likely presented differently in different settings.

Moving forwards, the staff were incredibly positive about the SLC support that had recently been taking place at the school as part of the joint work between the commissioners and the setting. All staff had recently accessed training delivered by a consultant SALT (SEMH specialist) and the school had been given increased access to SALT on a regular basis. Staff valued having frequent contact with a consistent SALT who was able to build relationships with the children and the staff. They felt that this contributed greatly to their knowledge and skills. Training opportunities had helped staff to focus more on SLCN within their provision and supported them as they discussed the children’s needs at daily briefings.

Theme one: identification of SLCN

This theme describes the staff’s perception of their students’ journeys prior to joining the school.

Barriers to identification

It was felt that where children appeared to show good expressive speech and language skills, other areas of SLCN would not be considered. Additionally, the demanding nature of the children’s SEMH-related behaviours was felt to act as a disguise. Whilst mainstream settings were focused on managing challenging behaviour, it was felt that SLCN would often remain either undiscovered or undiscussed.

“If you have two children: one with speech needs who can nod along and one who wants to verbalise but uses aggression – one will continue in mainstream and one will end up here.” Behavioural presentation often overshadowed the identification of SLCN.

Dominant narratives

“His EHCP is predominantly behavioural, very little SLCN mentioned.” Many staff felt that previous professional advice had focussed on the most noticeable aspects of the children’s needs.

Regardless of whether SLCN was identified – it was felt that discussions about the child were often centred on behavioural presentation rather than underlying need. In instances where children had been assessed for SLCN, it was commonplace for another subsequent and “dominant” diagnosis (often Autism or Attachment Disorder) to become a blanket narrative which could divert attention from understanding aspects of their SLCN and how they impact learning and behaviour. Additionally, most of the children had to have their SEMH needs emphasised in order to secure their position at the school.

Barriers to early support

In situations where children had been identified for SLCN support, it was felt that this provision may not have been effectively adjusted to consider their SEMH needs; this could then act as a barrier to ongoing support. Barriers discussed included the children’s unfamiliarity with the speech and language therapists, their difficulties engaging and the lack of apparent differentiation in strategies. It was felt that SLCN support could be withdrawn if children or families did not participate and that this acted as a unique challenge for these children given their needs.

“The nature of the children is that being in a room with a stronger doesn’t work.” Specific barriers to accessing SALT for children with SEMH needs were highlighted.

Gaps in transition

Transition was identified as a time when records about SLCN could be lost or not passed on. It was felt that the number of settings that a child had attended prior to moving to the school (including if the child had become electively home educated) also impacted on this. Some participants also questioned the motivation of previous schools to complete a thorough hand over, it was felt that a few previous schools may be relieved to have transitioned the child and perhaps saw little to gain in handing over their “hints and tips” regarding a child’s needs.

“If the child has gone via another SEN setting or via a PRU then records tend to get watered down or not exist.” Numerous school transitions interrupted access to handover information.

Identification of SLCN: recommendations

Barriers to identification

  • Increase awareness of less obvious expressions of SLCN in mainstream settings.
  • Train school staff to consider SLCN as a key factor when trying to understand a child who is presenting with SEMH needs.
  • Consider broadening the referral criteria for SLCN involvement to include more SEMH type difficulties.
  • Strengthen understanding of the link between SLCN and SEMH needs within guidance documents (e.g. graduated response toolkit).

Dominant narratives

  • Consideration of SLCN should be part of the referral and assessment process for a broader range of specialist teams/services (e.g. Autism or Attachment-focussed services).
  • The recommendation of further SLCN assessment should be used to ensure the individual needs of the child are more fully understood and interventions are sufficiently adapted.
  • Consider how resources for these areas of need might require adaptations to reflect SLCN.

Barriers to early support

  • Make reasonable adjustments to the procedure for SALT service delivery and
    case closure when working with children with SEMH needs and families who may struggle to engage through formal routes. Increased flexibility and time available to SALTs to plan and deliver services in a way that overcomes barriers to engagement with the service.
  • Increased knowledge and assessment tools for school staff to identify and access support for children’s SLCN upon entry.

Gaps in transition

  • Involve SALTs in the transition process for children with SLCN and SEMH needs.
  • Consider standard transitions guidance across the county and how can this be created or amended to emphasise the importance of transferring SLCN information.
  • Consider procedures to ensure the safe transition of all relevant records, particularly when multiple transitions, or periods of reduced timetable or home education, have occurred.

Theme two: understanding of SLCN

This theme describes how the staff experience and understand the children’s SLCN, and how this relates to their learning and social, emotional and mental health.

Impact on learning

Staff identified that SLCN had a direct impact on the learning of four out of the five children discussed. These included barriers to accessing learning, understanding instructions, and communicating ideas. This often led to significant gaps in learning which prevented them from engaging with curriculum content and further distanced them from the process of learning. It was felt that sometimes these gaps were not noticed in previous settings as many of the children were often out of class due to their behaviour; their work was either not monitored or was completed by a scribe. This also had the knock-on effect of some children knowing that others would do the work for them in certain situations, limiting their independence as learners.

“He will write something, and it’ll be nothing like what he wanted to say.” Several staff described how language difficulties affected the children’s ability to communicate their ideas while learning.

Impact on SEMH

All staff identified ways in which SLCN affected the SEMH of the children, with language around emotions being seen as the primary cause of many social and emotional difficulties. It was noted by staff that difficulties in making themselves verbally understood, either through limited vocabulary; speech impediments; or ‘jumbled’ speech, was often a source of frustration and escalating behaviour.

Building relationships with the children, becoming familiar with their communication needs, and working in partnership with parents/carers were reported as key factors to minimise the impact that SLCN has on SEMH. These, however, took time to establish and staff could not always ensure that a consistent approach was maintained between home and school.

“Our biggest concern is that he can’t communicate how he’s feeling or what’s going on in his life.” Teachers and support staff felt that a lack of emotional vocabulary had an impact on the wellbeing of many children.

Interaction between SLCN, SEMH and learning

It was felt by some staff that a lack of vocabulary or experience with having ‘names’ or ‘labels’ for certain feelings limited the children’s ability to understand and express their own needs. In many cases this was attributed to limited early experiences.

SEMH needs and SLCN were seen as contributing to each other. Some children’s SEMH needs limited their opportunities to develop language and communication skills, and their SLCN presented a barrier to understanding the social and emotional state of themselves and others. In both cases, a lack of positive social interactions was seen as both a consequence and a further barrier
to development. Similarly, engagement with learning was seen as both a way to improve and a difficulty. Several staff expressed that children’s SLCN were more apparent when they were distressed, further highlighting the interaction between SLCN and SEMH.

“He struggles to recognise his own needs before he can articulate them, he doesn’t even recognise when he’s tired or hungry.” Staff suspected that SLCN and SEMH needs were closely linked.

Understanding of SLCN: recommendations

Impact on learning

  • Noticing specific gaps in SLC development, regardless of presenting needs, in mainstream settings would be beneficial for both the mainstream placement and reports for future placements.
  • A focus on maintaining high expectations and developing independence as a learner while making adaptations for SLCN and SEMH needs would be highly valuable.

Impact on SEMH

  • A greater understanding of ‘behaviour as communication’ is needed in all settings. This would improve the framing and utility of information shared between schools at transition
  • A sharing of knowledge between specialist settings and mainstream schools would be highly beneficial, helping mainstream schools reframe certain behaviours and plan
    interventions more appropriately.
  • The level of knowledge and expertise relating to how SLCN and SEMH needs interact should be improved across all education settings. This would need to be supported by ensuring there is a robust level of expertise within wider services.

Interaction between SLCN, SEMH and learning

  • The interacting nature between these three areas needs to be better represented in reports, training, and referral processes. Too often the ‘categories’ of SEND limit any discussion and understanding of this. External support is targeted at one specific area
    rather than impact and outcomes at a functional level.

Theme three: meeting SLCN

This theme describes how the staff approached meeting SLCN and monitoring progress in this area.

Approaches adopted to support SLCN

All staff expressed a belief that any approaches or support had to be bespoke and flexible. Most expressed the opinion that this had to be informed by the staff’s knowledge of the child rather than any ‘off the peg’ interventions, although being given new ideas and ways of
thinking was seen as highly valuable.

Staff expressed that the children’s needs presented differently in different settings and could change over time, and so much of their job was to constantly adapt the provision to meet the presenting needs. As part of this process they drew on one another’s knowledge through daily staff meetings, this format was crucial in enabling the staff to respond dynamically to changes in the children.

“…at the end of the day we’ll talk with each other as staff.” Many strategies had to be responsive and flexible; a feature that professional advice could not typically provide.

Monitoring of progress

Staff reported to have no formal way to monitor progress with SLC in the same way they would with SEMH. Some suggested that THRIVE targets could be used for this purpose and some of the specific literacy interventions they ran would likely monitor aspects of it. However, anecdotal progress was universally reported, and seen as facilitating progress in other areas such as engagement with learning and social interactions.

As the staff’s understanding of SLCN has improved, so too has their awareness of what should be monitored. It was felt that, as was the case in previous settings, improvements in their SEMH needs and behaviour had been the primary focus for monitoring.

“He’s made massive progress…when he first came he’d be following the adult, now he’s interacting with peers.” Staff saw progress with SLCN and SEMH needs often occur in tandem.

Relevance of reports

The staff reflected on the challenges they experienced when trying to access SALT records. Where these were available, they were often lacking in any sufficient depth to inform new practice at the setting. It was acknowledged that SALT reports may have been appropriate at the time but as the children moved to a new setting, the reports quickly dated.

Additionally, it was common for reports to describe “following guidance from your SALT” – indicating that the previous setting had been trained on how to deliver – however this crucial
information was typically lost as part of the child’s transition.

“Other than following general strategies – which for an SEMH school are our bread and butter, basic stuff for us – it doesn’t go beyond that.” Old reports rarely provided the current setting with a level of detail beyond their current practice.

External support

The school had recently been delivered training on the links between SLCN and SEMH needs by a consultant SALT (SEMH specialist). Staff who mentioned this described how their understanding of SLCN had improved, particularly in relation to early experiences and how these can affect SLC development.

The school had also recently been given access to a specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) who was delivering individual assessment and intervention sessions with some of the children. Having someone on site to adapt the provision and become a ‘familiar face’ was reported to be highly beneficial. Collaborating with the staff who had a deep knowledge of the children was seen as vital for planning and delivering any specific interventions as well as generalising approaches into wider contexts. It was hoped that this familiarity could also strengthen links with parents/carers to ensure a consistency of understanding and approach.

“In mainstream they have a dedicated person to deliver specific interventions…it would make a big difference if we had that.” Specialist knowledge and understanding of the setting were described as necessary for planning interventions.

Meeting SLCN: recommendations

Approaches adopted to support SLCN

  • Time to discuss and collaboratively problem solve with others who know the children well is highly beneficial. It is likely that similar approaches can be transferred to other settings.

Monitoring of progress

  • An integrated tracking system that incorporates SLC, SEMH, and learning needs which makes the potential links between areas explicit would be highly beneficial.
  • Implement an assess, plan, do, review cycle which explicitly includes SLCN as part of the multiagency Team Around the Child (TAC) approach.
  • Consider developing a specific assessment tool for schools to identify SLCN upon entry.

Relevance of reports

  • Whilst reports cannot reasonably predict future settings or changes, advice or recommendations that are likely to be context-dependent should be highlighted as such.
  • Greater care needs to be taken when transferring information between settings. Any strategies, recommendations, or targets from specialists should be appended to reports as far as compliance with GDPR allows. Actively involved specialists should be included the review process as far as is possible.

External support

  • Staff in specialist settings benefit from new understanding and discussions about how to adapt strategies more than being given interventions.
  • Specialists or professionals who deliver or support the delivery of interventions should be integrated into the setting to ensure better understanding of context and enhance familiarity.
  • Sharing of expertise between specialists and school staff through coaching or mentoring programmes would be highly beneficial.


This study helps to build our understanding of issues relating to SLCN in Devon by considering the experiences of teachers and senior leaders working at a SEMH school in the county. Our findings are in-line with concerns raised by local groups and suggest that prior to attending SEMH school, many children in this study had either unidentified, under-acknowledged or unmet SLCN. Staff felt their students with SEMH needs faced a variety of unique barriers when attempting to access SLC provision including:

  • initial masking of their SLC needs by their behavioural presentation;
  • diversion of attention away from SLC needs towards other ‘dominant’ narratives of need such as autism;
  • a loss of records across school transition points and loss of knowledge held within staff (e.g. intervention);
  • difficulties for children in accessing or sustaining attendance at SLC provision; and
  • lack of staff awareness regarding meeting SLCN for children who also present with SEMH needs.

Our research also explored the ways in which the children’s SLCN affected both their learning and their SEMH alongside strategies and approaches, which staff used to address this impact.

At a local level, our findings are relevant to the work of local services who are seeking to further develop provision for children with SLC and SEMH needs. There are an estimated 31,460 children aged 0-18 with SLCN in Devon. When considering how the Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) can best support these children and young people, work completed by the Improving Access to Communication Services and Support (IACSS) team has
indicated that the provision of SLC services for children and young people with SEMH needs may require further attention. At a meeting of the SEND board in Devon, attendees identified a need for improvements to training and multi-agency partnership work for children with SLC and SEMH needs.

Nationally, there is similar concern regarding provision for children with SLC and SEMH needs. The Department for Education (2019) and the Department for Health and Social Care (2019) have both published reports acknowledging the relationship between social and emotional development, mental health, wellbeing and SLCN. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists have also drawn attention to the concerning prevalence of unidentified language needs in children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (~81%) (Hollo, Oliver & Wehby 2014) including amongst
children who are looked after (RCSLT, 2020c). There is cause for concern regarding provision for these children as unidentified SLCN – particularly the aforementioned groups – has been associated with mental health difficulties (RCSLT, 2020a); behaviour difficulties (RCSLT, 2020b), school exclusion (Clegg et al., 2009) and contact with the criminal justice system (Bryan et al., 2007).

Local data pertaining to exclusions in Devon – cited as part of the 2017/2018 Annual Exclusions Report – Indicates that exclusions for children in care have increased over the past four years. Exclusions for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in Devon have fallen slightly but remain higher than the national rate. The most common reason provided by for Devon schools when excluding children is ‘Persistent Disruptive Behaviour’ and this reason accounted for 20% of exclusions of children with SEN. Early identification, assessment and intervention of
SLCN could play a crucial role in reducing exclusions for these vulnerable groups

County recommendations

The SEND board and the IACSS team have identified a range of next steps to develop their provision for SLCN and SEMH. Some of this provision has already benefitted children in our county and this was highlighted through our study wherein staff cited the positive impact of the SLCN training they have received and the provision of an on-site SALT to provide consistent support for students.

As part of the ongoing work of the SEND board and IACSS team, this report has highlighted a number of areas for further development across the county:


  1. Continue to develop and promote training for mainstream and specialist settings across the county addressing the links between SLCN and SEMH as well as the expression of SLCN for children with identified SEMH needs.
  2. Offer training, workshops, and supervision for small groups of staff within schools to deliver aspects of SALT for children with SEMH needs. Staff can then use their knowledge of the children they work with to develop more
    engaging and bespoke strategies and interventions.
  3. Promote ‘behaviour as communication’ as a way to understand how SLCN are expressed through behaviours and interactions, building an understanding of the underlying experiences of children with SEMH needs across schools.
  4. Offer training and workshops around SLCN and SEMH needs at Designated Teacher and SEND conferences across the county.

Systems and processes

  1. Adapt referral systems for access to SLCN services (e.g. SALT) so that SEMH needs are considered.
  2. Adapt referral system for access to SEMH services (e.g. CAMHS) so that SLCN are considered.
  3. Create systems that embed SALT services for children who are at-risk of exclusion, have been excluded, or have experienced a managed move. Ensure that information regarding SALT involvement is transferred across schools when a move is made.
  4. Develop frameworks for assessing and reporting on how SLCN interact with SEMH needs in professional reports, particularly those provided to schools.
  5. Develop school based SLCN screener tools for use with children with identified SEMH needs.

Inter-disciplinary working

  1. Integrate SLCN monitoring and targets into multi-agency processes (e.g. TAF meetings).
  2. Develop training and work practices to support professionals across education and mental health teams and services to recognise SLCN in children with SEMH needs.
  3. Promote collaborative problem-solving approaches between services and schools to ensure advice and strategies consider the full context of the child and the knowledge available through school staff.

Further aspects of this work

This research report explores findings from one part of a three-part study, which sought to explore the experiences of school staff, parents or carers, and children. To develop our understanding it would be beneficial to resume this research project and consider the experiences of parents, carers and children. This would have the benefit of helping
us to understand participants’ experiences of accessing provision prior to attending the SEMH provision and through transition points.


Bercow, J. (2008) The Bercow report: a review of services for children and young people 0-19 with speech, language, and communication needs. Annesley, Nottingham.

Bryan, K., Freer, J., & Furlong, C. (2007). Language and communication difficulties in juvenile offenders. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. 42, 505-520.

Centre for Mental Health (2018). Children of the Millennium: Understanding the course of conduct problems during childhood. Available online:

Clegg, J., Stackhouse, J., Finch, K., Murphy, C., & Nicholls, S. (2009). Language abilities of secondary age pupils at risk of school exclusion: A preliminary report. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 25(1).

Department for Education (2019). A system mapping approach to understanding child and adolescent wellbeing. Retrieved (07.09.20) from:

Department for Health and Social Care (2019). Written Question. Speech and Language Therapy: Children. Available online:

Hollo, A., Oliver, R. M., & Wehby, J. H. (2014). Unidentified Language Deficits in Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: A Meta-Analysis. Exceptional Children, 80(2): 169-186.

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. (2020a). Promoting social, emotional and mental health. Available online:

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. (2020b). Understanding the links between communication and behaviour. Available online:

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. (2020c). Supporting looked-after children. Available online:

Tomlinson, P. (1989). Having it both ways: hierarchical focusing as research interview method. British Educational Research Journal, 15(2), 155-176

Appendix - Interview schedules

Senior leadership – whole school focus

SLCN in school

Understanding – how would you describe speech, language and communication needs in this setting?

Prevalence in school – how common are SLCN at (school)?

Presentation – what would you say are the most typical presentations of SLCN? What does it look like?

Interaction with SEMH

  • Understanding – how do you see the link between SEMH and SLCN?
  • Evidence – what informs this understanding?

Previous involvement

Previous schools – these questions are about previous settings that the children at (school) have attended.

  • Access to records – in general, what level of access do you have to records from previous schools about SLCN?
  • Strategies/interventions – in general, what strategies or interventions are outlined by previous schools?

Previous professionals – these questions are about previous involvement from professionals with children at (school) in general.

  • SALT – how common is SALT involvement with children at (school)?
    • Access to records – in general, what access do you have to SALT records of involvement?
    • Strategies/interventions – in general, to what extent are specific strategies or interventions recommended by SALT?
    • Overall understanding – in general, to what extent does SALT involvement enhance your overall understanding of a child’s SLCN?
  • EP – given that all children here have all previously had EP involvement…
    • Access to records – in general, what access do you have to previous EP records of involvement?
    • Strategies/interventions – in general, to what extent are specific strategies or interventions recommended by EPs relating to SLCN?
    • Overall understanding – in general, to what extent does EP involvement enhance your overall understanding of a child’s SLCN?
  • EHCP – given that all children here have EHCPs…
    • Strategies/interventions – in general, to what extent are specific SLCN strategies or interventions recommended by EHCPs?
    • Overall understanding – in general, to what extent do EHCPs enhance your overall understanding of a child’s SLCN?

Identifying and meeting SLCN as a school

  • Identifying – in general, how do you identify children’s SLCN at (school)?
    • Any tools? Do you use any specific tools?
    • Informed approaches – what informs these approaches?
    • Recording – how do you monitor SLCN at (school)?
  • Meeting needs – in general, how do you meet the SLCN of children at (school)?
    • Informed approaches – what informs these approaches?
    • Recording – how do you monitor he impact of these approaches?
  • Training
    • Have had – what SLCN training have staff had?
    • Would like to have – what training should staff have?
  • External support – do you receive any external support to meet SLCN?

Anything else?

Teaching and support staff – individual child focus

1. SLCN in school

1.1 Understanding – how would you describe x’s speech, language and communication needs in this setting?

1.2 Presentation – how does x’s SLCN present?

1.3 Interaction with SEMH

1.3.1 Understanding – how do you see the link between x’s SEMH and SLCN?
1.3.2 Evidence – what informs this understanding?

1.4 Impact

1.4.1 On learning – what impact does x’s SLCN have on their learning?
1.4.2 On SEMH (if not covered) – what impact does x’s SLCN have on their SEMH?

2. Previous involvement

2.1 Previous schools – these questions are about previous settings that x has attended.

2.1.1 Access to records – what records have you received from previous school’s about x’s SLCN?
2.1.2 Strategies/interventions – what strategies or interventions for x were outlined by previous schools?

2.2 Previous professionals – these questions are about previous involvement from professionals

2.2.1 SALT – do you know if x has had any involvement from SALT? (If “no”, move to ‘EP’) Access to records – what access do you have to x’s SALT records of involvement? Strategies/interventions – to what extent were specific strategies or interventions recommended by SALT? Overall understanding – to what extent has SALT involvement enhanced your overall understanding of x’s SLCN?

2.2.2 EP – given that x has had EP involvement Access to records – what access do you have to x’s previous EP records of involvement? Strategies/interventions – to what extent have specific strategies or interventions been recommended by EPs relating to x’s SLCN? Overall understanding of x’s SLCN?

2.2.3 EHCP – given that all children here have EHCPs Strategies/interventions – to what extent are specific strategies or interventions recommended by x’s EHCP relating to SLCN? Overall understanding – to what extent does x’s EHCPs enhance your overall understanding of their SLCN

3. Identifying and meeting SLCN

Do you consider x to have any SLCN?

3.1 Identifying – how did you identify x’s SLCN?

3.1.1 Any tools? did you use any specific tools?
3.1.2 Informed approaches – what informed this approach?
3.1.3 Recording – how do you keep track of x’s SLCN?

3.2 Meeting needs – how do you meet x’s SLCN?

3.2.1 Informed approaches – what informs these approaches? (prompt with examples if needed)
3.2.2 Recording – how do you monitor the impact of these approaches?

3.3 External support – do you receive any external support to meet x’s SLCN?

4. Anything else about x?