Shine A Light Jenny McConnell Paul Ross And Virginia Beardshaw Crop

I CAN celebrations after Shine a Light Awards 2012 by Virginia Beardshaw

I was honoured to attend this year’s Shine a Light Awards on Wednesday 21st November in London and to present an Outstanding Achievement Award. The Awards were a wonderful opportunity for teams, settings and individuals across the UK to celebrate excellence and best practice in supporting children’s and young people’s communication, and those with SLCN.

There were over 300 applications for this year’s Shine a Light Awards and these were shortlisted by the judges to 12 winners and 23 highly commended awards.

All of us at I CAN were thrilled that Dawn House School, for children and young people aged 5-19 with severe and complex SLCN including Asperger’s Syndrome, were highly commended in the ‘Secondary School of the Year’ category. This is due to the central role that supporting communication has at the school, as well as their outreach work with staff at schools in the surrounding areas.

We were also very pleased that the winner of the ‘Secondary School of the Year’ category was Peacehaven Community School. Peacehaven were praised by the judges for the practices they have adopted to support pupils’ communication development through I CAN’s Secondary Talk programme. Provision for all children’s communication development, including those with SLCN has significantly improved through Secondary Talk having a positive impact on behaviour and engagement in lessons.

I was also very proud to give the Outstanding Achievement Award to Justin Fletcher aka Mr. Tumble, for his longstanding support for children’s communication. Sally, a parent close to I CAN as her child Lily attended an I CAN Specialist Accredited setting, told me how she felt that Mr. Tumble on Cbeebies Something Special, and his signing and speaking was very important for Lily’s development. I was thrilled to get everyone in the audience on their feet to sign ‘Well Done, Mr. Tumble’ in Makaton!

Justin received the award in-absentia for his tireless work to support children’s speech, language and communication development. Congratulations to the winners and those high-commended for all their efforts to ensure no child is left out or left behind because of a difficulty communicating.

For more information on the winners, go to

For more information on I CAN’s Secondary Talk go to