Cognition and Learning - SLCN

Cognition and Learning - SLCN



Speech, Language and Communication Needs

"Almost everything we do involves speech, language and communication. Being able to make our needs known, expressing our likes and dislikes, interacting with others and building relationships are life skills we can not afford to be without....

Difficulties with speech, language and communication can impact on:

  • understanding and taking part in lessons

  • learning to read and write

  • being able to think things through

  • being able to manage feelings"

Dont get me wrong: The Communication Trust


The Cognition and LearningTeam provide advice, strategies and resources to meet the needs of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in the classroom.

We can carry out assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses.

We also offer Elklan training. Please visit our page on BSO for more information and to book a place on our next course.

As part of the Local Offer the termly Speech and Language Forums provide an opportunity to share good practice between schools.



The term SLCN is used here to refer to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs as described below.
There are four distinct and overlapping reasons for Children and Young People to have SLCN.
  1. Primary Need: a persistent developmental difficulty specific to the speech and language systems associated with speech sounds, formulating sentences, understanding, social interaction or fluency
  2. Secondary need: primary developmental factor related to Autism, physical, hearing or cognitive impairments which affect speech, language and communication
  3. Reduced developmental opportunities meaning that language is impoverished or delayed; mainly linked to social disadvantage.
  4. Speaking and understanding English as an additional language (EAL) does not in itself constitute a SLC difficulty. The varied structures and phonologies of different languages may however cause initial short term difficulties.  It is important to recognise that C&YP with EAL may also have the above 3 reasons for their SLCN.


Use the checklists to identify strengths and weaknesses in a child's or young person's speech, language and communication.
Use the SEN Guidance to help you plan and put into place provision at Ranges 1-4

SLCN Guidance 

Our SLCN Pathway is a graduated approach to guide schools through the process of assess, plan, do, review.

The Communication Trust's Progression Tools aim to support teaching staff to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills. They can also be used to track progression of these skills over time or following interventions. Use the observation checklists as a starting point.

Stages of Speech and Language Development (birth to five)

Beyond Measure supports schools to identify children in Reception with SLCN and to identify next steps.

Primary Checklist

Secondary Checklist


QFT Strategies for SLCN

Top Ten Tips for SLCN

SLCN Information Booklet for NQTs

Follow  this link for the Leeds Speech and Language Therapy Tool Kit

A whole school approach is also vital. These documents enable schools to audit their environment for communication friendly feature and indicate best practice for communication friendly schools.

Audit for Communication Friendly School (Primary)

Audit for Communication Friendly School (Secondary)

Features of a Communication Friendly School (Primary)

Features of a Communication Friendly School (Secondary)


Strategy factsheets from ICAN to support:

Visit the ICAN Website for more resources

Click on the posters to download

Follow the link to access the Talking Trouble website. Here you will find information about the barriers that young people with speech language and communication difficulties face.



The website Talking Point has a progress checker for children aged from 6 months to 11 years. There are free resources for you to download and use at home

Page owned by Fiona Whitaker, last updated on 05/06/2018. This page has been viewed 6,630 times.