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Collaborative practice 2

At this meeting with the speech and language therapist, the SENCO raises concern about another pupil, whose withdrawn behaviour may be indicative of another communication difficulty. 

Referral procedures may vary between Health Trusts, but all schools will have access to them. Unfortunately, knowledge of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) is not widespread among teachers and assistants, as initial training programmes do not generally include them.

Here the SENCO tells the therapist that she feels able to notice problems and to monitor them but is rather uncertain about strategies, so she is pleased to hear of more training initiatives. The headteacher in this school is very aware of the importance of SLCN and is supporting this SENCO in seeking further training and provides specific time for her SENCO duties.

Films and DVDs to raise awareness of stammering

The BSA completed a film for the National Association of Headteachers in partnership with The Michael Palin Centre (MPC), the specialist centre for stammering therapy. This film shows pupils who stammer talking about their needs in school.

The MPC has also produced two DVDs to give information to schools about stammering. These are available from speech and language therapy services in England. Both of these films may be used for staff training or for pupils to see in a PHSE lesson, provided that any child in the class who stammers is quite comfortable with that.

However this deficit in knowledge of SLCN should be eventually overcome as there will be further training for education staff. Online resources such as this and the SCLF, the extension of training opportunities for education staff in SLCN recommended by The Bercow Report (2008), followed up by the Government's 2020 Children and Young Peoples Workforce Strategy (December 2008) and The Rose Report (2009) should make it possible for education staff to receive training in SLCN within their own area. Some universities are now offering joint training for teachers and therapists and this is also helpful.


  • Some specialist knowledge on SLCN, including stammering, should be available within the school. Training is being made available.
  • Headteachers are more aware that this training is important.
  • Joint training for teachers and therapists can support models of good collaborative practice.

The SENCO expresses concern to the SLT about the communication needs of a new pupil