For Schools


How do SLCN effect school progress?

  • Children with early persistent language disorders are approximately 5 times more likely to have academic difficulties. Young, A.R., Beitchman, J.H., Johnson, C., Douglas, L., Atkinson, L., Escobar, M. and Wilson, B. (2002)
  • Children with SLCN are more likely to find peer interaction and forming real friendships difficult. Botting, N. and Conti-Ramsden, G. (2000),
  • Young people with language difficulties have unsatisfactory employment histories including more breaks in employment, interpersonal difficulties at work, more instances of redundancy and unemployment. Clegg, J. Hollis, C. and Rutter, M. (1999)
  • 50% of the UK prison population has been identified as having literacy difficulties compared to 17% of the general population. Basic Skills Agency in Prisons (1994)

How many children are affected?

  • 7% of children aged 5 years have specific speech and language impairment, and a further 1.8% have SLCN linked to other conditions e.g. learning disability, cerebral palsy or autism (Giving Voice Campaign)
  • 2-3 children in every classroom will have SLCN needs (Bercow Report – 10 years on)
  • In some areas of high social deprivation 50% of children start school with significant speech, language and communication needs. WIth help many of these children will make progress and not have long term difficulties (Bercow, 2019)

What are speech, language communication needs?

The term ‘speech language and communication needs’ describes difficulty with one or more area of communication.

Children with SLCN may have difficulty with:

  • Listening and attention
  • Play
  • Understanding instructions
  • Putting words into sentences
  • Producing sounds accurately and speaking clearly
  • Understanding and remembering new vocabulary
  • Remembering instructions and information
  • Understanding non verbal communication
  • Inferencing and ‘reading between the lines’
  • Answering how and why questions
  • Speaking fluently and confidently
  • Making and maintaining friendships
  • Understanding sayings and idioms (see below!)

Speech and Language Therapists work with children across all of these areas.

Picture taken from Vocabulary Enrichment intervention programme by Victoria Joffe (2011)