Evelyn CommunityPrimary School

‘Inspiring minds, nurturing dreams, learning for life’

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Speech, Language and Communication

‘Ensuring children have a broad vocabulary is a priority in all schools.

Language empowers and enables: opening doors to imagination, knowledge and deeper learning.

Research indicates that the ‘word gap’ that exists for many children is likely to have life-long consequences both academically and in terms of their mental wellbeing.’ 

(from ‘Making Words Work’, School Improvement Liverpool)


Why Does Talk Matter So Much?


  • Vocabulary at 3 years of age is an indicator for the end of KS2 results, at 5 years of age it is an indicator of GCSE achievement, and at Year 6 it is an indicator of future income
  • Two thirds of 7-14 year olds with serious behaviour issues have language impairment
  • 65% of young offenders have communication problems
  • 47% of employers complain about recruits’ communication skills


Speech, Language and Communication helps children to:


  • Learn
  • Be active
  • Make friends
  • Enjoy life
  • Escape poverty
  • Not be an offender


It is therefore evident that communication skills affect wellbeing, behaviour and employability.
At Evelyn CP School we endeavour to shape articulate children and empower them to be confident citizens in the world.


What Do We Do to Promote Speech, Language and Communication?


  • Our key skill of COMMUNICATION permeates all subjects
  • We use Talk Frames for English and Maths genres and Coaching
  • Talk Cards are sent home to promote family discussion
  • Children practise communicating with their Speaking and Listening Partners
  • Role play, Drama and enhanced provision are regularly planned
  • All classes present a Family Assembly
  • Our annual ‘Speak Out’ competition encourages all children to engage in public speaking
  • Rules of a good speaker and listener are promoted in class, together with golden rules for speaking in a group
  • Ideas have been utilised from Voice 21 And ELKLAN training
  • The school has played a key role in the ‘Prescot Loves to Talk’ project
  • All classes study a Shakespeare play
  • Staff model appropriate language
  • Resources purchased to enhance speech, language and communication

Parental and Community Involvement


  • Regular planned accessible communication with parents
  • Transition information regarding communication
  • Specific feedback to parents during parent evenings on communication 
  • Topic weeks with a Speech, Language and Communication focus
  • Links with employers/business partners with a focus on communication
  • Celebration assemblies
  • Homework activities e.g. ‘Talk Cards’
  • Stay and Play/Inspire
  • Family Assemblies


What Can Parents and Families Do To Help?

As a child develops their language, non-verbal communication is vital. This includes all the body movements, expressions and gestures that a child uses to help decode situations.

Non-verbal communication includes: facial expressions, hand gestures, eye movements, body posture and use of voice. It can sometimes be difficult for children to pick up on these clues. Learning to listen, focus and pay attention is just as important as learning to communicate.

Try to concentrate on some of these clues when you have a conversation with your child. What signals are you giving them?


The amount of language a child hears affects their vocabulary size. 
Put simply – the more talk a child hears, the more they will know.


There are 3 tiers of words. Those with mature vocabularies and age-appropriate literacy skills understand and use words from all three tiers.
– Tier 1 words: basic words used often in everyday conversation, e.g. go, play

– Tier 2 words: complex words that are more likely to occur in academic settings, e.g. compare, neutral

– Tier 3 words: highly specialised, subject-specific words, e.g. isosceles (from Beck, and McKeown)

In school we learn common or high frequency words alongside more complex words that make up the curriculum. In each curriculum area we have POTS OF KNOWLEDGE that exemplify mastery in the subject.

At the beginning of each term the class teacher will send a list of Tier 2 or Tier 3 words that your child will encounter in their learning. These may be related to Science, History or Geography. By helping your child become familiar with these new words it will help them to learn faster and use the words confidently.


By using these new words confidently, your child will be able to put them into their ‘pot of knowledge’ and add to their own vocabulary bank.


Here are some ideas for helping with new vocabulary:


  • Introduce new words one or two at time, not all together
  • Explain what the word means
  • Look at a dictionary definition
  • Encourage the child to explain what the word means in their own words
  • Use all the senses – see it, hear it, say it, read it, write it
  • Lots of repetition will help
  • Think of the meaning of a word (look for connections with other words they know)
  • Think of the structure of the word (what does it sound like, what does it rhyme with, does it have smaller words within it?)






“It may seem an obvious thing to say, but one of the best things we can do with young children is to have interesting and enjoyable conversations with them. What this means is that as we go about our activities, whether at home or at nursery, playgroups, playgrounds, the childminding situation, or out and about, we should make a special effort to answer children’s questions, point out things that interest us, involve children in helping and planning what to do next – whether that’s putting out things to play, tidying up, where to visit or whatever. When reading a book with children, make a special effort to read slowly, with lots of fun and expression. Don’t worry about stopping if the children ask you questions. Encourage them to join in with the sounds and rhythms of the story. We should also think carefully about how we speak to children – do we spend too much of the day issuing commands: ‘do this’, ‘do that’? Do we ever say things that make children seem small by telling them that they’re slow or not good enough? We all need to think how we can keep being positive, encouraging them as they try to say things. And we can find ways of showing them how the things they say can end up as writing, by writing what they say and displaying it. When we do this, this has to include everyone. No one can be missed out.

All this is crucial for how young children develop their powers of thinking and understanding. At the same time, it’s how they get to feel good about themselves. The two things are intertwined – feeling good about yourself, feeling confident enough to develop your thinking and understanding.”

By Michael Rosen, author, poet and former Children’s Laureate