The Better Communication Research Programme and what it means for parents...
The Better Communications Research Programme (BCRP)
In 2008 John Bercow, MP, did a review of services for children with speech, language & communication needs.
He looked carefully at what was happening across the country and found lots of things that needed to improve.
The government wrote an action plan to help make things better for children with speech, language & communication needs. One of the things they did was to do a large research project to see what would make things better for those children and their families. This was called the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP).
The BCRP provides a lot of evidence and information about how children with speech, language & communication needs should be helped and supported at school. If you wish to read all of the reports and associated information, they are available here.
The 19 reports are available here.
The Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP) was a 3 year research programme set up by the Government to look at the issues that affected children with speech, language & communication needs. 19 reports were written, each one looked at a different area.
Out of those 19 reports 6 main recommendations have been made:-
1. The people working with children need to be clear in how they describe their speech, language & communication needs especially the words they use
2. That the support for children with speech, language & communication needs is provided at 3 levels – universal, targeted and specialist
3. Schools and other services should ask children, young people and their parents what they think and how their speech, language and communication needs affect their independence and being included in things
4. That teachers and other professionals have special training to help them support and work with children who have speech, language & communication needs
5. That every child who has a speech, language & communication need gets the most appropriate service that's available and that parents are included in deciding what services their child receives
6. More research is needed.
The reports found that many people working with children find it difficult to identify speech, language and communication needs.
Also, people were not always clear when they described speech, language and communication needs
The page on Early Identification (Spotting Problems early) explains why this is important.
Gascoigne, M.T (2006) “Supporting children with speech, language and communication needs within integrated children’s services” RCSLT Position Paper: http://www.rcslt.org/members/publications/publications2/supporting_children_within_intergrated_services
Universal: support available to all children and young people in places they spend time (eg nursery, school, college) which helps develop good communication skills. Good support the adults give is often as a result of training they have had and changes they have made in the environment.
Targeted: support that can be provided to a wide range of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. These needs are often found and with support, progress follows a usual / predictable pattern. This support might be on their own or in a group and is often given by staff in the nursery, school or college, with advice from specialists when needed.
Specialist: support that is for children and young people with very particular speech, language and communication needs. These may be complicated or need very technical help or are changing quickly without a regular pattern for progress. This support might be on their own or in a group and will be overseen by specialists with help from other staff in schools and settings as well.
One of the reports looked at what children with speech, language and communication needs thought about their quality of life.
It also looked at the experiences of parents.
This website gives you more information about this to help you and your child.
The reports recommend that people working with children are trained in speech, language and communication needs. This should happen when they are first being trained and while they are working.
The page on Staff Training explains this more.
Services for children with speech, language and communication needs are commissioned (or bought) by a range of people. It is important that they buy the most appropriate type of support.
It is also important that children with speech, language and communication needs don't fall through gaps in the system. This means that health and education services need to work together to have services to meet needs locally. They need to have universal, targeted and specialist services.
Involving parents in deciding on support is an important part of the new Code of Practice for children and Young People with Special educational needs or disabilities. This is explained in more detail here.
More research is needed to look at:
The reports said that there needs to be research which brings together the expertise of everyone - people who work with children, parents, people who provide services and the researchers.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0-25 years
The SEND Code of Practice came into use in September 2014. Information from the BCRP will help you, so you can discuss your child's needs better with teachers and other professionals who are involved with your child. Our page here gives you more information.
The most important areas of the Better Communication Research Programme have been divided into 4 themes: