Supporting specialist teaching tervices/joint commissioning

As a health or local authority commissioner, you understand the need to ensure the most cost-effective use of resources, providing the best support to the greatest number of people.

You may also be aware that there are currently significant numbers of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs who struggle to fully access education, causing difficulties in learning, mental health and future prospects. These needs range from mild or moderate to more complex and severe.

Traditionally, speech and language therapists have worked with this growing caseload and, in many areas, speech and language therapy waiting times are very long. There is a recognised need for schools, themselves, to assess pupils’ needs and deliver evidenced, targeted interventions directly to pupils, without waiting, thus enabling better health and education outcomes for these pupils.

Even for those schools and settings able to access independent or NHS speech and language therapy support, it is clear that this is a limited resource, with not enough speech and language therapy time to support the numbers of children and young people who need access to targeted interventions.

Speech & Language Link has an ongoing relationship with over 34 local authorities in the UK and Ireland (May 2023). In many local authorities, care pathways request that schools use Speech and Language Link assessments and interventions before further discussions regarding a pupil can take place.