Specialist speech, language and communication support is not funded directly by the Department for Education. It is commissioned locally, for example by local authorities using their high needs funding budgets, and also via clinical commissioning groups. Separate funding to provide these services is not allocated from the department’s budget.
The department’s current one-year contract with I CAN, on behalf of The Communication Trust (TCT), is due to end as planned at the end of March 2018. The contract was for £650,000 to develop sustainable resources and programmes to support the education workforce to develop their skills in supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). We are in discussion with TCT about how best to ensure that all practitioners are able to make continued use of the materials and training developed through this contract.
We remain committed to upskilling the workforce to support those with SLCN, and want to do more to embed knowledge and ensure good practice is disseminated and understood widely. Our Social Mobility Action Plan (SMAP), ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, prioritises work in the early years to close the word gap and improve early language acquisition for disadvantaged children. The SMAP includes proposals for continuing professional development training; and an early language assessment tool for health visitors and early years practitioners, to ensure that any language delays can be picked up and the right support put in place quickly. We expect to invite tenders for this work in due course. The value for this work has not yet been finalised. Further information on SMAP, ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/667690/Social_Mobility_Action_Plan_-_for_printing.pdf.