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The Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF)

Cherry Hughes | 01.08.2008

Teachers and others working with children and young people need to have the right skills and knowledge to support those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The SLCF is an interactive tool to support this. It can be accessed at


As the Bercow Report emphasises, communication is a central skill for life. Accordingly, teachers, healthcare workers and others working with children and young people need to have the right skills and knowledge to support those with SLCN. The SLCF helps address this by providing a framework of competences which the children's workforce should have.

The SLCF is available as an interactive online tool to enable practitioners and managers in the children's workforce to evaluate online their current skills and knowledge and identify training to support them. It is designed for people working in a wide range of roles across sectors involved with children and young people: education, health, social care, leisure and youth justice in particular.

A team of practitioners from speech and language therapy and education in the academic, public and voluntary sectors developed the SLCF for The Communication Trust, with funding from the then Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) [now Department for Education]. BSA education officer Cherry Hughes is on the Trust's consultative group, known as the Communication Consortium.

What does the SLCF do?

It provides defined competences around speech, language and communication at initially three of the four stages: universal, enhanced, specialist. The fourth stage, extension, will be available in autumn 2008. Stages range from the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children and young people should have (universal) to the specialised learning around SLCN at a postgraduate level (extension).

What does the SLCF cover?

Competences are outlined at each stage across eight strands.

  • Typical speech, language and communication development and use.
  • Identification and assessment of SLCN.
  • Positive practice.
  • Speech, language and communication and behaviour, emotional and social development.
  • Roles and responsibilities of practitioners and structures of services.
  • The special educational needs context in educational settings.
  • Parents/carers, families, peers and friends.
  • Impact of professional development upon children's and young people's speech, language and communication.

In each strand there is a list of competences. These set out the skills and knowledge that practitioners should have depending on the stage of the SLCF

The three stages of the SLCF

Universal stage is for people who work with children or young people and are new to exploring their skills and knowledge in SLCN and need a general awareness of SLCN for their role.

Enhanced stage is for people who have established competences at Universal and need a more detailed understanding for their role, e.g. may be involved in the identification of children who may have SLCN.

Specialist stage is for people who have established competences at Enhanced and whose work significantly relates to children and young people with SLCN.

How the SLCF helps children and young people who stammer

This initiative is part of the DCSF's plan to develop the skills of the children's workforce to support children and young people with SLCN through the implementation of the training recommendations of the Bercow Review. This convenient online tool that is simple to use and manage by all practitioners, and any one else who is interested, such as parents, must be welcomed as a means of eventually improving support for our children and young people.

SLCF online access at

August 2008