Communication and Language

Communication and language skills are the foundations for children’s learning in school and beyond.  The term “communication” covers a range of skills, from knowing how to build a sentence to using eye contact and facial expression appropriately.  Most children acquire language naturally in the early years, but many, particularly in areas of social deprivation, do not.  Language skills at age 5 are a strong predictor of academic achievement, life chances and long-term mental health.  That’s why it’s so important that we identify language needs early on, so we have the best chance of helping these children be ready for learning, and ready for life beyond school.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) 0-5 Pathway

The Cheshire East Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) 0-5 Pathway is a tool to help parents, carers and professionals support the speech, language and communication needs of all children.

The pathway was developed by members of the Early Start team, Specialist Speech and Language Therapists and Health Visitors with the specialist support of advisers from The Communication Trust and I CAN through the Early Years SEND Partnership programme.

This pathway includes:

  • Information about what to do at the universal, targeted and specialist levels of need
  • The processes to follow for health professionals, early years providers and practitioners and the Cheshire East Early Start team; this includes posters to display and share
  • Information for parents and carers, including who to contact for support and advice
  • Additional useful information e.g. speech & language referral links and explanations of terms
  • Useful information from Cheshire East Family Hub Journey
  • Early Years Training 

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The Levels of Need outline the ways children with speech, language and/or communication needs can be identified early on; they also give details of the tiered response to meet the needs of every child and this is broken down by age group. Strategies and interventions to provide targeted support accompany this information.

Cheshire East Chatters

Cheshire East Chatters is a collaborative initiative led by Speech and Language Therapists and members of the Early Start Team.  We aim to upskill Early Years Practitioners to identify and provide support for children’s language difficulties as early as possible.  Our training courses are offered universally and we also offer bespoke support to target settings in the most socially deprived areas of Cheshire East.

Training Dates Summer 2024

Chatters training dates
DateCourse titleVenueTime
Wednesday 19 June WellComm Oakenclough Family Hub 9.30am-2.00pm
Thursday 27 June Effective Interactions Congleton Library 9.30am-3.30pm

Wednesday 26 June


Tuesday 2 July

(attend one session)



Early Language Lead Network









Cheshire East Chatters is excited to offer the following training courses available in the Early Years short courses shop:

Introduction to Attachment and Communication 

This one day training course aims to:

  • develop practitioners knowledge of early attachment and the links to speech and language development
  • explore the areas of the communication pyramid in greater depth
  • discuss typical development and how to support children with speech and language needs
  • discuss the local speech and language therapy pathway and guidance around making referrals into the  SLT   NHS service.

Effective Interactions 

This one day Interaction training course aims to:

  • discuss and define terms relating to communication and why interaction is so important
  • it will look at 'Top Tips for Talking' and ways you can adapt your interactions to promote communication and support the needs of the developing child
  • discuss how language levels and interaction styles differ between children and how you can differentiate to support individual children's communication development
  • focus on the practicalities of how to integrate high quality adult-interaction into your daily routine.

WellComm Toolkit 

During this one day course there will be opportunities to:

  • discuss and define terms relating to communication and how these relate to the WellComm screening tool
  • examine the rationale behind using WellComm to screen, track and monitor individual children
  • receive practical support on how to use the screen and how to integrate WellComm activities into daily best practice within the setting
  • try out WellComm screening and activities from the Big Book of Ideas and to discuss the practicalities of setting up targeted groups. 

 Small groups

  • You will be given group session plans to develop communication skills in both indoor and outdoor spaces. The course aims to:
  • Explore ways to set up small groups within your settings to develop attention and listening and language skills
  • Discuss how to identify children for the groups and you will be given the opportunity to carry out activities from the group session plans.
  • Discuss using a total communication approach to support children to engage with the activities

Early language leads

We encourage all early years settings to designate an Early Language Lead, who can be responsible for ensuring best practice for supporting communication is in place within your nursery.  


Referral paperwork 

Setting up a communication and Language display 

Dummies Campaigns 

Useful links

Facebook Pages

Page last reviewed: 06 October 2023

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