Since this resource was originally distributed in 2003, the Government has initiated a number of major changes to practice in schools through the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP) and the key laws dealing with special educational needs and disability the 1996 Education Act and the 2001 SEN and Disability Act (SENDA).
The BSA considers these changes to be very helpful in meeting the needs of pupils who stammer as they support both an identification of individual need and an inclusive culture in schools.
Even current student teachers are unlikely to have had training in speech, language and communication needs, although hopefully they should be alert to any concerns about a pupil, Teachers should be able to seek advice in the school and from training providers within the authority as well as from the local speech and language therapy department. However, as it's been thought for some time that teachers and therapists would benefit from joint training, appropriate courses are being offered in some universities.
These changes, together with the anticipated extension of training opportunities for education staff in speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) recommended by the Bercow Report (2008) and followed up by the Government's 2020 Children and Young Peoples Workforce Strategy (December 2008), suggest that the needs of these pupils are much more likely to be identified and met than was previously the case. The Rose Report (2009) is a major review of teaching in English primary schools that most significantly for children with SLCN stresses that teachers should spend more time encouraging pupils to talk. The report calls for action to increase skills and knowledge for class teachers and to train more specialist teachers who play a key role in developing, delivering and evaluating educational interventions for children with SCLN and advocates more transparancy in communication with parents about a child's needs and a role for the child in expressing these whenever possible.
Schools are now encouraged to use speaking and listening tasks as the platform for the development of literacy skills and to recognise that good communication skills advantage children in every way. While the BSA welcomes this recognition of the importance of oral work and the anticipated expansion of training for education staff we acknowledge that for the child who stammers this additional emphasis on oral work can be daunting, even frightening, unless his speech needs are recognised and understood.