Gravesham schools celebrate improvements in pupils’ communication through A Chance to Talk

On 4 July, staff from eight Gravesham primary schools gathered at Raynehurst Primary School to celebrate their involvement in A Chance to Talk, a two year project that improves the speech, language and communication skills of all pupils and provides targeted support for those who need additional help.

I CAN Chief Executive, Virginia Beardshaw, presented certificates at the event to schools who have participated in the project and John Parrott, I CAN Communication Advisor, and Alison Meek, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, presented individual certificates to staff for their achievements during the project.

A Chance to Talk has been developed by children’s communication charity I CAN and The Communication Trust, with support from the Every Child a Chance Trust.

Schools celebrating their involvement in A Chance to Talk at the event were: Dover Road Community Primary School, Wrotham Road Primary School, Culverstone Green Primary School, Raynehurst Community Primary School, Shears Green Infant School, Singlewell Primary School, Rosherville Church of England Primary School and Chantry Primary School.

Sue Bennett, Headteacher of Shears Green Infant School, said: “Thanks to A Chance to Talk, our staff team are now trained and confident in identifying children with delayed language or significant language difficulties. We are able to offer the right support at the right time to children we identify with communication needs to ensure children can fulfil their potential at school.”

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to all the schools involved in A Chance to Talk in Gravesham. Their efforts are supporting children to reach their full potential as they progress through primary school by ensuring they possess the communication skills they need to learn, make friends and join in.”

“School staff have been trained to support all children’s communication and to identify and support those with delayed language using the evidence based Talk Boost intervention. With some parts of the UK having upwards of 50% of children starting school with delayed language, we hope other areas will follow the example of Gravesham schools.”

Jane Poupart, Children’s Therapy Team Leader Kent Community Health NHS Trust, said, “Following on from the success and engagement in schools from the A Chance to Talk project, we are putting plans in place to continue speech and language therapy input in schools with Gravesham Learning Partnership. We aim to ensure that children are supported to develop their communication skills during this important time in their education.”

A Chance to Talk has been piloted in four areas across the UK and 32 schools in total – Rochdale, Whitby, Kirkby and Gravesham. It supports all children’s communication development at key stage 1 (4 to 7 years) through school wide training and provides specialist support for children with significant speech, language and communication needs, which affects three children in every average classroom.

A Chance to Talk includes Talk Boost, a structured and robustly evidenced programme that can boost a child’s communication by an average of 18 months after ten weeks of intervention.

For more information on A Chance to Talk, visit www.ican.org.uk/actt and for more information on Talk Boost, for children aged 4-7 years with language delay, visit www.talkboost.org.uk