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Communication Champions Network benefits Academies  

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The Communication Champions Network is a result of collaboration between early years leaders and experts with the bold vision to create a universal approach to improving early speech and language across a range of early years settings by empowering staff to become communication champions.

Staff at Brisley and Weasenham Church of England Primary Academies have been working with the Norwich Opportunity Area initiative which receives funding from the Government to improve education in areas of deprivation.

Due to their success with speech and language in Norwich and part of the funding criteria, the initiative has shared their positive practice and Breckland Council was identified as an area of need.

Mrs Claire Moore, High Level Teaching Assistant for Hope Federation (Brisley, Rudham and Weasenham Academies) said: “Through their work, Brisley and Weasenham staff within the early years have been able to access free training during the summer term of 2021, starting with 6 weeks of core speech and language training and then if staff wanted to learn more, they can progress to six weeks of leadership speech and language training, which the majority of staff completed.”

Rachel Felton, Federation SENDCo for Hope Federation (Brisley, Rudham and Weasenham Academies) said: “As part of this training our academies received free EYFS WellComm assessment and intervention packs alongside training in how to use these packs. This intervention is used within our EYFS classes. Staff have gained more confidence in how to support children’s speech and language throughout the school day as well as delivering interventions to support certain children with specific needs.”

She added: “We can also access funding to help with speech and language projects within our academies, we have been able to secure some of this funding to train some staff in Lego Therapy, purchase the Primary WellComm pack and most excitingly, create ‘Communication Bags’ (like story sacks) for our new intake to borrow during their transition this term, to promote speech and language at home.”

Now that the two Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) schools are official Communication Champions, staff are invited to and regularly attend termly Communication Champion Hub meetings for the Breckland area, which provides bespoke CPD for staff around Speech and Language issues, which is delivered by experts in the field. Both Brisley and Weasenham staff have been able to share their practice and training with Rudham Academy who is part of the Hope Federation.

Oliver Burwood, CEO of DNEAT said: “We are very proud that staff in these academies have been recognised as communication champions at a time of increasing need for speech and language support for children.”