From education to employment

Survey of CYP workforce reveals ‘training gap’ in speech, language and communication

Over half (53%) of the children and young people’s workforce have received ‘little’ or ‘no’ learning in their initial training about typical speech, language and communication (SLC) development.

The survey of 1,200 members of the children and young people’s workforce, conducted by The Communication Trust, also revealed that nearly two thirds (60%) had ‘little’ or ‘no’ initial training focussed on identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Among the FE workforce, 67% had ‘little’ or ‘no’ initial training in typical SLC development, and 72% had ‘little’ or ‘no’ initial training on identifying and supporting children with SLCN. 

The CYP workforce was unanimous (99%) in recognising the importance of SLC skills for children and young people; however significant gaps were identified in terms of their knowledge and skills, as well as opportunities for both initial training and continuous professional development.

Only 4% of the workforce felt they accessed sufficient training in relation to SLC. Whilst 81% of the workforce did not report ‘lack of support from senior management’ as a major barrier, this was insufficient in overcoming other barriers such as lack of budget and time. Respondents also said that other work commitments, like safeguarding, were prioritised.


Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said:

‘Early language skills are crucial for children’s learning and outcomes – as well to society and the economy. It is encouraging that the workforce recognises the value of speech, language and communication but cause for concern that they face real barriers in accessing initial and ongoing training.

‘Bridging this training gap is the key to giving all children, especially those with speech, language and communication needs, the strong and lifelong skills that are vital to achieving their potential.’


The Communication Trust is calling for:

  • All members of the children and young people’s workforce to have entry level training in SLC/SLCN
  • Ofsted inspections to routinely report on support for SLC/SLCN provision
  • Training and workforce strategies to include working with parents to develop their knowledge and understanding of SLC/SLCN


The full report, which provides information and evidence across phases, sectors and roles, can be found here.

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