Virginia Beardshaw I CAN CEO Eds

I CAN CEO Virginia Beardshaw awarded CBE in New Year’s Honours List

What better way to start a new year with some exciting news – Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN’s Chief Executive has had her commitment to children’s speech, language and communication recognised in the New Year’s Honours list with a CBE.

Virginia has led I CAN through an eventful 10 years. I CAN’s Make Chatter Matter campaign in 2006 brought the issue of children’s communication to the fore, prompting John Bercow’s Review of Services for Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, which Virginia supported through the Advisory Board. The Bercow Review led to significant policy changes for children’s communication; ‘Communication and Language’ as a prime area in the Early Years Foundation Stage and communication being built into the Ofsted evaluation framework. It also led to a national year of communication in 2011, Hello, run by The Communication Trust, a coalition of almost 50 organisations with an interest in children’s communication and of which I CAN is a founding member.

Over her time at the helm of I CAN, the charity has been transformed. At the heart of I CAN are the two outstanding special schools, but I CAN also now has a successful social enterprise; making sure I CAN programmes and resources get to thousands more schools, families and children through a network of over 500 licensees.

Last year under Virginia’s leadership, the charity celebrated 125 years of supporting vulnerable children. We are all delighted that her contribution to services for children with speech, language and communication needs has been recognised in this way. Many congratulations!