Experts speak out over language support failures

Funding cuts have left Scottish schools ‘increasingly ill-equipped’ to deal with language difficulties, say experts

The failure of schools to tackle speech and language difficulties is leaving some of the most vulnerable pupils from the poorest backgrounds facing a future of alienation and underachievement, experts have said.

Difficulties in communication were a key barrier to learning, they argued, and when not tackled, they also left children feeling unhappy and angry.

But cuts to speech and language specialist provision, and a lack of training for class teachers, meant that Scotland was increasingly ill-equipped to deal with the problem, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Scotland (RCSLTS), said.

Language and early development

More than half of children from the poorest homes in Scotland start school with some sort of communication difficulty, a major Scottish study recently revealed.

And most concerns about children’s early development are related to speech, language and communication, with 11 per cent identified as having difficulties.

However, at least three councils have stopped funding speech and language therapists, and provision in the rest of the country is “patchy” and “inconsistent”, said Kim Hartley Kean, head of RCSLTS.

This is an edited article from the 19 February edition of TESS. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week’s TESS magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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