Awards celebrate children's speech and language

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Children’s House Nursery School in Tower Hamlets has been named early years setting of the year at the 2018 Shine a Light Awards.


Children's House Nursery School has been named Early Years Setting of the Year at the Shine A Light Awards 2018

The nursery just pipped the highly commended runner-up Juice Nursery in Cheshire to the post at the national award ceremony, which celebrates work which supports children and young people’s communication development.

The 2018 Shine a Light Awards, run by learning company Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London on Thursday (22 March).

The judging panel, made up of 19 representatives of the education and special education needs and disabilities sectors, as well as previous Shine a Light Award winners, praised Children’s House Nursery for its work in an area of high deprivation.

Although over 90 per cent of children join the nursery with significant speech and language delays, a combination of initiatives ensures that by the time children move on to primary school they have the levels of skill expected for their age.

These include holding ‘Stay, Play and Learn’ sessions before children start at the nursery, ongoing staff training, and the development of strong parent and carer relationships, the judges said.

Parents of children on the nursery’s waiting list are able to attend  courses, which emphasise the importance of talking, reading and playing with children at home.

Local children’s centres, health visitors and speech and language therapists (SLTs) regularly make direct referrals to Children’s House.

Guthsna Khan, deputy head at Children’s House Nursery School, said, 'We are honoured to accept this award on behalf of our whole school community, everyone works together to support children’s communication. This award is testimony to the power of parental engagement.'

Another winner was Stoke Speaks Out in Stoke-on-Trent, which received the SLCN (speech, language and communication needs) innovation award and the Pearson outstanding achievement award from the evening’s host, stand-up comedian, actor and TV writer, Adam Hess.

Stoke Speaks Out, which won the Working with Parents award at the Nursery World Awards in 2008 and has been highly commended for other Nursery World Awards in 2009 and 2010, won the innovation award for its development of the Early Communication Screen (ECS).

The ECS was commissioned by the local authority and written by local speech and language therapists to improve the school readiness of children aged between two- and five-years-old by identifying early language delay and measuring children’s progress over time. 

Almost 7,000 children have been screened so far, with more than 1,800 regional practitioners trained to use the programme to date.  

Pendle Primary Academy in Nelson, Lancashire, won the primary school of the year award after it invested in its own speech and language therapist who works with parents, staff and NHS specialists to discuss children due to start in Reception.

The judges said this approach ensured pupils receive the correct support in the crucial first year of their journey through full-time education.

All together 17 individuals and teams across 10 award categories were recognised at the awards ceremony, as well as children and young people with SLCN.

Sharon Hague, senior vice president of the schools division at Pearson, said, ‘Our warmest congratulations to the winners, highly-commended, and commended finalists of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. Through our innovative clinical assessments, Pearson is committed to supporting those working to help people overcome challenges in speech and language. For six years we have run these awards as we believe it is so important to recognise and celebrate the incredible, but often unsung, work being done across the country to change the lives of children and young people by helping them to develop their communication skills.’

Octavia Holland, director of The Communication Trust, said, ‘These awards highlight the very best practice that is taking place in settings across the country. The winners and highly-commended finalists have shown what can be achieved when expertise, enthusiasm and dedication are given to children and young people who struggle to communicate. We would like to say a huge thank you to Pearson for their long-standing support.’

The full list of winners at the 2018 Shine a Light Awards

  • The Katie Rough Memorial Award - Libby Hill, Church Broughton, Derbyshire
  • (Highly commended: Rachel Peck, Cambridgeshire)
  • Child/Young Person of the Year Award - Jonathan Bryan, Wiltshire
  • (Highly commended: Siena Castleton, London)
  • Communication Champion of the Year Award - Pip St John, Lancashire
  • Youth Justice of the Year Award - Manchester Youth Justice, Manchester
  • Early Years Setting of the Year Award - Children’s House Nursery School, London
  • (Highly commended: Juice Nursery Ltd, Cheshire)
  • Primary School of the Year Award - Pendle Primary Academy, Lancashire
  • (Highly commended: Longmoor Community Primary, Merseyside)
  • (Commended: Bridgewater Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • Secondary School/College of the Year Award - Isaac Newton Academy, London
  • (Highly commended: London South East College, London)
  • SEN School/Group of the Year Award - Pontville School, Lancashire
  • (Highly commended: The William Henry Smith School, West Yorkshire)
  • SLCN Innovation of the Year Award - Stoke Speaks Out
  • Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award - Stoke Speaks Out

For further information about the winners and finalists visit 

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