Speech and language therapist team doubled

More help for pupils with communication difficulties

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Children who have speech, language and communication difficulties are to get a better service from September - improving their chances to succeed at school.

The team of speech and language therapists who work with schools will more than double - thanks to an additional £206,000 funding over the next three years. The money will enable five more speech and language therapists to be employed in the borough from September - in addition to the four who already work with local schools.

The expanded team of nine will work closely with special educational needs co-ordinators in all of the borough's primary schools - with one therapist being assigned to five primary schools. They will also carry out regular work with local secondary schools.

Simon Robinson, headteacher of Wendell Park Primary School, in Shepherd's Bush, said: "I look forward to seeing how every child will benefit and how the skills of teachers and support staff are developed in supporting children's speech, language and communication. We will be learning from each other so that the whole school benefits as well as targeting professional support for those children who have the greatest needs."

Cllr Melanie Smallman, the council's cabinet member for education, said, "This confirms our commitment to helping children to overcome barriers to learning and receive the support they need within their local school, rather than having to attend a clinic. It is part of our inclusion strategy to enable pupils with special educational needs to be educated within mainstream schools."

All the new speech and language therapists will be employed by Hammersmith and Fulham PCT, which also employs the four existing therapists. They will be contracted to the council to work in local schools, as are the current staff.

Rob Spence, head of speech and language therapy for Hammersmith and Fulham NHS Primary Care Trust, said: "This new service means that the speech and language therapists attached to local schools can work closely with parents, teachers and support staff to ensure children get the support they need sooner and help them to achieve their full potential."

The £206,000 funding has come from Hammersmith & Fulham Council's education department, the local public service agreement (extra money the council gets from the government for improving local services) and Hammersmith and Fulham NHS Primary Care Trust.

June 4, 2005