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Speech and Language in the Classroom

Secondary Language Link

What is Secondary Language Link?

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Secondary Language Link is an assessment, intervention and training package for supporting the language and communication needs of pupils aged 11 ‐ 14 years.

For a quick overview of the package watch this video:

Click here to download the Secondary Language Link power point presentation.

How to get Secondary Language Link

Call our help desk on 0333 577 0784 or 01227 811835

What does Secondary Language Link offer?

  • Identification of pupils with difficulty understanding everyday or social language.
  • Tailored interventions with universal, targeted and specialist support recommendations.
  • Evidence of in school improvement for school inspection.
  • Powerful data analysis tools.
  • Development of speaking and listening skills essential to support learning and literacy to raise attainment.
  • Professional development to improve teachers’ knowledge and skill mix within the school.
  • A wide range of classroom resources.
  • Engagement of parents through information and programmes.

Standardised Language Assessment

The Secondary language Link screening tool is a standardised assessment designed to identify pupils at risk of underperformance or social exclusion because of difficulty understanding spoken language.

Used as a universal screen in Year 7, this online assessment is highly interactive and aims to interest ‘hard to engage’ groups of pupils. The content of the assessment reflects the daily demands for understanding language typical of the educational and social environment of secondary age pupils. There is no demand on literacy skills as the assessment is fully audio-supported.

Two communication areas are assessed:

  • Understanding of core language
  • Understanding social language

Results are reported as standard scores enabling staff to compare a pupil’s level of understanding to others of the same age.

The results identify children requiring school based support and those who require discussion with external agencies such as the speech and language therapy service or specialist teaching service.

Reports and Provision Maps

Reports can be generated from the assessment and intervention data. Results are presented as both individual pupil profiles and group reports for whole class or selected cohorts.

Standard scores and percentile ranks for core language skills and social understanding are reported enabling schools to identify the general language levels of that year group or cohort. The needs of each cohort are presented in a provision map enabling the teacher to include the necessary strategies into their lesson planning.

The results enable schools to benchmark pupil performance against peers nationally. Schools can use the data to identify areas of strength and need. These profiles provide the school’s leadership team with the information necessary to set clear targets and to develop action plans to address barriers to learning across the school for pupils with SLCN.

Tailored Interventions

Based on the results of the standardised assessments, pupils may be recommended for an appropriate programme of Language Link interventions.

Talk Fitness

Talk Fitness is a small group intervention programme designed to improve functional and cross-curricular speaking and listening skills. It uniquely combines elements of conventional classroom teaching with online methods of learning. The video-based format provides a rich context for teaching, illustrating real-life situations or problems that are authentic and meaningful to young people’s lives.

Talk Fitness consists of 6 units which form the core for cross-curricular speaking and listening skills within the secondary curriculum. Each unit focuses on a different skill.

  1. Active Listening ‐ developing pupil’s ability to listen effectively
  2. Formal / Informal Talk ‐ understanding of the differences between Standard and Non-Standard English
  3. Explanation ‐ giving clear explanations of events or incidents
  4. Instructions ‐ understanding and following instructions, and giving clear instructions
  5. Discussion ‐ enabling pupils to share ideas more effectively in pairs or groups
  6. Debate ‐ developing the ability to argue a point of view

Inclusive Teaching Plans

An Inclusive Teaching Plan (ITP) is a curriculum linked list of recommended differentiation strategies for teachers to use to support access to learning for all pupils, including pupils with SLCN and EAL. Subject teachers use the recommended strategies in whole class teaching, and at the end of term evaluate the impact on the pupils' levels of engagement in learning.

Over time schools are able to identify the most effective strategies for planning and differentiation in different curriculum areas to inform the school's policy for inclusion.

Professional Development

The SLCN Inclusion Toolkit is an online teacher training resource. It examines key aspects of teaching that support the learning and achievement of pupils with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The Toolkit enables mainstream teachers to identify pupils at risk of speech, language and communication difficulties. It promotes inclusive teaching practice across the curriculum to enable pupils with SLCN to achieve successful outcomes at secondary school.

Schools can use this Toolkit flexibly as the basis of staff training sessions and individual teachers can add it to their CPD programme.