Mere Green

Case Study: Mere Green Primary School, trained in I CAN’s Primary Talk

Read below to hear from Michelle Spires, a Senior Leader at Mere Green Primary School, having trained in I CAN’s Primary Talk programme earlier this year.

“As a school with a dedicated speech and language Resource Base, a small number of our staff already had some expertise developing communication skills and had been working closely with Speech and Language Therapists. However, as a school we were taking steps to integrate the children from the Resource Base into mainstream school to support their inclusion and give them greater access to the curriculum. As part of this initiative we felt it was vital to ensure that every staff member had a good knowledge of the speech, language and communication issues of the children that were about to join their classes. We found that I CAN’s Primary Talk training was spot-on at meeting these needs and giving our staff the specific knowledge they required; the three phases we covered in the enhanced training catered to our specific needs really well.


The children accessing the Resource Base enhanced places have always been assessed in detail and are also observed with comments recorded on the improvements in their speech. Since Primary Talk training was undertaken by the staff; overall the progress has been phenomenal. Using the APPs and National Curriculum standards the children have shown significant accelerated progress.


Now in the mainstream school, the children from the resource base are able to access the curriculum fully, whilst the move has also been excellent in terms of their inclusion, learning and social and emotional wellbeing. The children have been pleased to discuss things from their point of view too – and the level at which they measure their positive feelings towards school and themselves has dramatically increased.


We feel the training delivered through Primary Talk was really good; staff especially developed their knowledge about different types of communication problems. Staff learnt about how ‘typical talk’ develops (we have the posters displayed everywhere in school) and can now identify where issues occur. We also really loved the strategies, especially pre-tutoring. We have introduced differentiated pre-tutoring language groups where those children identified work closely with their teachers on the language that will be involved at the start of a new topic. The children in these groups make mind maps of what the words look like, practice the basic vocabulary and work on developing a good grasp on the language before the topic even starts.


The staff also really liked the activity where they were given cards describing different types of language difficulty – by trying to explain themselves using these cards they could see how it might feel for a child with speech, language and communication needs and were able to empathise more deeply going forward.


Overall, staff are more keenly aware of how language effects progress and as a result learning has become much more visual with the importance of language development reflected in our planning. Following Primary Talk training the way staff prepare lessons; how they support language; and how they identify those children struggling is much more effective.


One of the most inspiring benefits is the children’s own self-esteem; they rate themselves highly now and have the confidence to speak to their peers. Behaviour has improved as with all children included in the mainstream school now, children can access different role models. Children across the school also, very importantly, feel positive that their teacher understands them, such an important part of the learning relationship.”

To find out how Primary Talk could work in your school, contact I CAN today on 020 7843 2515 or email