Online Conference – 11th March 2022


Live Q&A With our expert speakers.

30-day on-demand access.

Online live chat throughout the day.

11th March 09:00

Kate Freeman, Consultant – Speech and Language in Education

I am so excited to be acting as host on the second Link Live event on 11th March. Now that the ‘new normality’ is settling in, we recognise the benefits of keeping some of what we have experienced over the last two years, so the Link Live will be held again as a virtual conference.

We have an amazing line-up of speakers, with some extra-special guests (including the national icon, Michael Rosen and Gogglebox’s Baasit Saddiqui) to bring the subjects alive!’

Everyone joining us will have the opportunity to hear up-to-date research, practical applications for the classroom and for small groups, as well as first-hand experience of what speech, language and communication needs mean to individuals. Other topics include the speech, language and communication needs of looked after children, under 5s, primary and secondary aged pupils. Additionally, we will hear local authority experiences of support packages.

The sessions all provide opportunities for learning that will support the children, young people and families that you work with.

In this edition of The Link magazine, The Link Live speakers provide a taster of what you will be able to access through the conference.

I look forward to seeing you there!

11th March 09:10

Dr Judy Clegg, Head of Division/Senior Lecturer, Human Communication Sciences, Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield

Children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN): Reducing Vulnerabilities and Increasing Life Chances

Over the last decade, we have learnt much more about the many vulnerabilities of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). We know these children need more support to learn, engage with their peers, develop their self-esteem and confidence and to transition into independent life. I will talk about what we know about the vulnerabilities of children and young people with SLCN.

We will listen to the voices of young people with SLCN and those who care for and support them. The talk will focus on children and young people in looked after care and the urgent need to support their SLCN and to enable services to effectively meet their needs. This has the potential to reduce their vulnerabilities and increase their life chances.

Twitter: @JudyClegg2

11th March 10.00


Baasit Siddiqui, Managing Director of Siddiqui Education Ltd.

Digital Story Tellers

The pandemic has highlighted the value of digital technology in and out of the classroom. I am really looking forward to joining you all for The Link Live 2022 and being able to share with you my experiences of working with disadvantaged young people and how technology can be used in exciting ways to help them share their story, celebrate their skills, and build their confidence. Through my ‘Digital Storyteller’ presentation I will share examples of the amazing activities and workshops that are out there for your school and young people to explore. From pitching ideas for television shows, to creating a Podcast celebrating inclusion we shall explore and celebrate the power of technology combined with effective teaching and how this can be used to foster collaboration, creativity, and communication. I am proud to be able to use the platform and experiences Gogglebox has given me to champion the incredible work schools, teachers and organisations are doing to support young people and I look forward to sharing these with you in March.

Twitter: @SiddiquiEdu @TimeEdu

11th March 11:00

Jordan Scott, Poet and Children’s Author

Fluency is a Fiction: stuttering, poetry, and the dysfluency of all things

Scott has written five books of poetry and was the recipient of the 2018 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize for his contributions to Canadian poetry. Scott’s debut Children’s book (illustrated by Sydney Smith) I Talk Like a River was a New York Times best Children’s book of 2020 and the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award which honours authors for the artistic expression of the disability experience.

Twitter: @jscottwrites

Instagram: @squeezedlight

11th March 13:00

Dr Sarah Spencer, Speech and Language Therapist and Senior Lecturer – University of Sheffield

A Whole School Approach to Inclusion for Pupils with SLCN in Secondary Schools

This conference session will argue that secondary school is the perfect place to support development of all pupils’ spoken language skills. We will also review the evidence of how to successfully include young people with SLCN in busy secondary school classrooms. We will consider:

– Why the stakes are high: we need to get support for spoken language development right during the secondary school years

– Why adolescence is a time of opportunity as well as challenge for those pupils with SLCN

– Approaches to facilitating successful transitions from primary into secondary school

– Preparing young people for life after secondary school

– How whole-class interaction can scaffold and support spoken language skills

– Strategies for teaching new words and concepts in secondary schools

Dr Sarah Spencer is a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and a specialist speech and language therapist with expertise in working with secondary schools to boost spoken language skills. Sarah has led projects to support spoken language development in secondary schools and she is the editor of Supporting Adolescents with Language Disorders, a book published by J&R Press in 2018.

Twitter: @SSpencerSALT

11th March 14:00

Headline Speaker: Michael Rosen, Broadcaster, author and poet

Using vocabulary to inspire a love of language and literacy

Michael Rosen is one of Britain’s best loved writers and performance poets for children and adults. His first degree was from Wadham College, Oxford and he went on to study for an MA and a PhD. He is currently Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London where he co-devised and teaches an MA in Children’s Literature.

Michael is also a popular broadcaster and has presented BBC Radio 4’s acclaimed programme about language, “Word of Mouth” since 1998, as well as regularly presenting documentary programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3, including the Sony Gold Award-winning “On Saying Goodbye”.

In his presentation, Michael will be sharing ideas that encourage rich vocabulary through practical games/activities that teachers and TAs can use in the classroom and tips for working with older children who can be trickier to engage.

Twitter: @MichaelRosenYes

11th March 15:00

Sandra Bowen, Team Leader ISEND CLASS

Language Link in East Sussex

East Sussex began their partnership with Speech Link Multimedia Ltd back in 2009.

At that time LLSS (The Language & Learning Support Service) were involved in running a pilot project to support schools in meeting the needs of pupils experiencing difficulty with language and communication.

When I joined the service as a Practitioner in 2013 the pilot was extended to include support to parents/carers of pupils identified as having a language & communication need. Hear about how one of the schools in a deprived area of East Sussex embraced the project and developed the offer across the school.

Our partnership has continued and has resulted in other projects being undertaken including with the Virtual School in East Sussex who support Children who are Looked After across the county, I will give a brief overview of this project.

In 2015 the newly named Communication Learning & Autism Support Service (CLASS) began to use Secondary Language Link as part of assessment work they carried out. Over the last few years schools have used the free trial offer to explore how the programme can fit into the school day and now 16 of the 26 secondary schools in East Sussex are using the programme. I will talk about how schools are using the programme and how CLASS plan to offer support to encourage schools to use all aspects of the programme.

I look forward to seeing you.

11th March 15:30

Louise Burton, Speech and Language Therapist, Speech and Language Link

The Effectiveness of Infant Language Link in Reception

At Speech and Language Link, evidence is at the core of all our work. As part of product development, we rigorously evaluate our packages to ensure that they are making a significant difference to children’s speech, language and communication skills, as well as practitioner’s confidence and classroom practice.

We are very proud of the relationships we have built over the years with schools, local services and agencies across the country, such as with Sandra Bowen in East Sussex. These relationships enable us to work as partners, to ensure that our assessment and intervention packages work in real-life settings and impact on outcomes for children and school staff.

I am a speech and language therapist, and in my role I lead on our research and evidence base. At The Link Live conference, I will be speaking about a research study we completed to investigate the effectiveness of Infant Language Link for children identified with language difficulties on school entry. For the study, we compared progress in oral language skills made by children in schools using the package, with children in schools that were not using any package to support SLCN. At my talk, I will be sharing the results, which importantly show that a realistic intervention schedule, that fits in with school practice, is highly effective for developing language skills.

11th March 16:00

Dr Samantha Weld-Blundell, BSc. (Hons) MSc. DECPsy. CPsychol

Communication and interaction in the under 5s

Samantha has a particular interest in working with adults to support the emotional wellbeing and effective learning of their children. Sam’s professional qualifications include a BSc in Forensic Psychology from Leeds University, a MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from King’s College London and a Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology from the University of East London. Samantha worked in London for 7 years before joining the Educational Psychology team for the Jersey Government. Sam is now back in the UK and the proud founder and CEO of her online independent Child and Educational Psychology service, The Little Psychology Company – a new online platform designed to respond to the needs of modern families.

Samantha’s presentation will look at preverbal and verbal communication styles. What is communication? What is the recipe for healthy brain and language development? Ages and stages, what should we expect? Relationships, attachment and how as adults we can support positive communication and interaction.

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