Speak Out

Project Type: 

Speak Out: a programme created in Lewisham to address children’s speech, language and communication needs.

Speak Out aimed to tackle speech and language development needs in primary aged children through group work facilitated by a professional triangle: education professionals, speech and language therapists and drama practitioners. The programme was developed through collaboration between six head teachers of primary schools in Lewisham, the speech and language therapist department in Lewisham PCT, Lewisham Extended Services, two drama organisations (London Bubble and Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre) and Lewisham Education Arts Network. The programme was later rolled out to a further twelve schools in the west of the borough. Once funding was secured, the project was planned and delivered between January 2007 and July 2009.

 Key features
  • Based on a professional triangle: education professional; speech and language therapist and drama practitioner.
  • Group work
  • Targeted children:
  • Collaborative partnership working
  • Flexible and responsive
 Key achievements
  • significant changes were seen in:
    • Sentence comprehension
    • Naming
    • Narrative propositions
    • Narrative syntax / discourse

 The project aimed to raise achievement to place children in, or closer to, levels expected for their age.

Achievement was raised in a proportion of the children with:

  • Confidence issues – language within normal limits
  • Language delay
  • English as a additional language
‘The greatest impact has been on children’s confidence – which in turn affects their willingness to speak out in class.’ (Inclusion manager)
‘Each child had a wonderful opportunity to develop their communication skills in a safe, but exciting environment.’ (Teacher)
  • The partners built and sustained a relationship for two and a half years that encouraged responsive and flexible approaches.

‘An excellent programme that has now flourished following evaluations and constant modifications and discussions.’ (SLT)

  • The partners have continued to meet to seek ways to continue their fruitful relationship.
  • There was a mutual exchange of skills and knowledge that impacted on the partners’ professional development.
‘I have learned that what I do in these sessions has a bigger relevance to learning (speech and language) than I ever realised.’ (Drama practitioner)
‘It has brought a wealth of creative opportunities to the way in which we do things… We are redesigning our core service and the learning from Speak Out will influence what we are offering. For example, using a much more creative approach to therapy.’ (SLT Manager)