Licensee Case Study

A Licensee Case Study: Claire Findlay, Early Talk Licensed Tutor and Good Practice Validation Mentor

I trained originally as a Speech and Language Therapist and worked in the NHS for 10 years. Then I moved to Northamptonshire County Council for 24 years, co-managing the Portage service before becoming self-employed 2 years ago. I trained as an Early Talk Licensed Tutor in June 2013 and as a GPV Mentor in November that year. I also work freelance for Scope and the National Day Nurseries Association and I am an accredited Portage trainer.

I found out about the I CAN Licensee programme through a colleague who is an educational psychologist. She recommended I should train as a Licensed Tutor after finding out about I CAN’s role in this area at a conference. Colleagues had been very positive about I CAN and I was keen to work with such a highly regarded organisation.   I started by contacting local Children’s Centre managers and headteachers who confirmed that speech, language and communication training is a priority. Having gained a local business start-up grant and registered as self-employed, and began Early Talk training courses in the nearby area. Having been successful locally, I have now started delivering training in neighbouring counties as well. The I CAN support and logo has helped me to promote my training and practitioners have been very impressed with the high-quality resources. The training model is flexible and has enabled me to deliver Early Talk over twilight sessions as well as day time in different types of  settings .

So far, I have delivered 6 training sessions – 4 Early Talk Supporting Communication sessions and 2 Early Talk Enhancing Communication sessions. To date, I have trained almost 100 early years practitioners in total. The EYFS highlights speech, language and communication as a prime area and the settings I work with see this as a priority and they are aware how it underpins learning and development of children. Communication in the early years is crucial – if we get this right early on through training and support, we can make a difference to learning and life chances. Early Talk training helps to develop and strengthen practitioners’ confidence   with all children in their setting. It also raises their skills in identifying and responding to speech, language and communication needs. The training gives practitioners additional strategies and tools to support parents/ carers to recognise enhance and enjoy their child’s communication development. It is very practical, builds on existing good practice and facilitates clear goals for implementation and includes further post -course reflecti ve practice and guided learning. As external support services for settings are reducing, it is even more vital to empower the early years workforce with high quality training.

I have found it helpful not to cut corners on the training venues so that practitioners really enjoy their learning in a good environment and this also reflects Early Talk content and quality. I like to visit settings to show them the resources before the training and this is also useful for my own CPD so that I keep up to date with current practice. Funding can be a challenge for small settings or those with large staff teams and often long-term planning can be difficult as educational priorities change. However, the managers I work with understand the need for speech, language and communication training and the importance of this area. Settings are always very positive about the quality of training and resources and the high take-up rate for Early Talk Enhancing Communication after Supporting level courses exemplify the course’s quality. Looking to the future, I will be running more Early Talk course.Training is my passion and I feel proud to have added the I CAN string to my bow.

Claire Findlay, Early Talk Licensed Tutor and Good Practice Validation Mentor (Northamptonshire)