Voice 21 joins coalition calling on party leaders to prioritise spoken language and communication development in schools

Ahead of the General Election, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), Speech and Language UK, and Voice 21 have brought together a coalition of over 50 organisations to send open letters to Conservative leader, Rishi Sunak, Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey.

The #LetsTalkCommunication coalition is calling on the three leaders to ensure that their parties’ manifestos reflect the importance of supporting children and young people’s spoken language and communication development by:


  • Recognising that spoken language and communication is at the heart of developing and improving literacy and numeracy, as well as fundamental to children’s emotional development and mental health;
  • Building on efforts to develop all children’s language and communication in the Early Years by a sustained focus on spoken language and communication across all ages and stages of education;  
  • Ensuring children and young people with long-term speech and language challenges receive the support they need, including identifying those difficulties in the first instance, and timely access to speech and language therapy where required; 
  • Supporting teachers and schools to develop their students’ spoken language and communication, and embed spoken language and communication requirements through high quality guidance, training and resources; and 
  • Additional targeted support to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic on children’s speech, language and communication development. 

The letters were accompanied by a briefing setting these asks in their wider context. The briefing highlights that the #LetsTalkCommunication coalition takes a broad and inclusive definition of ‘spoken language and communication’. We are talking about supporting children through oracy, as well as supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs

The organisations who have signed the letters are:

ADHD Foundation – The Neurodiversity Charity


Ambitious about Autism

ASLTIP (Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice)

Association of YOT Managers 

Auditory Verbal UK


BACCH (British Association for Community Child Health)

BACD (British Academy of Childhood Disability)

BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)

BATOD (British Association of Teachers of Deaf Children and Young People)

Better Communication CIC

British Association of Social Workers (BASW)

British Dyslexia Association

British Psychological Society (BPS)

CICS Group (Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support Group)

Different Strokes

Dingley’s Promise

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Down’s Syndrome Association


Embracing Complexity Coalition

Headlines Craniofacial Support

Intermediaries for Justice




NASS (National Association of Special Schools)

NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union

NatSIP (National Sensory Impairment Partnership)

NDTi (National Development Team for Inclusion)



RCSLT (Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists)

SAPHNA (School and Public Health Nurses Association)




Speaking Citizens

Special Needs Jungle

Speech & Language Link

Speech and Language UK

Speech Bubbles

SPTS (Specialised and Personalised Training Services)


Symbol UK

Talking Mats

The Elizabeth Foundation

The National Organisation for FASD

Voice 21


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