The Better Communication Research Programme (2009-12) was part of the Government’s response to the Bercow Review of provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, published in July 2008. The government published its response Better Communication, the (SLCN) action plan in December 2008, which committed to a series of initiatives to improve services for children and young people with SLCN, culminating in the National Year of Speech, Language and Communication in 2011.
The research programme was based in CEDAR with Professor Geoff Lindsay as overall Director. The core team also comprised Professor Julie Dockrell (Institute of Education, University of London (ULIE), Professor James Law (Newcastle University) and Professor Sue Roulstone (University of West of England, Bristol) as project co-directors. In addition the team comprised Professor Anna Vignoles (ULIE), Professor Jenni Beecham (LSE), Professor Steve Strand (CEDAR), and Professor Tony Charman (ULIE) who provided specialist inputs to the programme. A number of researchers based at CEDAR and the partner universities were involved with specific projects over the three years of the Programme.
We also had projects led by researchers at other universities, working with members of the core team.
This was an ambitious programme of research which was designed to be directly relevant to both policy and practice. During the BCRP we worked closely with the Department for Education (DfE) and our Steering Group, comprising senior practitioners and researchers, and also representatives from the Communication Trust, Afasic, the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, Autism Education Trust, and Ofsted, as well as the DfE to guide the development of the programme. Our first year set the basis for the programme with five studies. We then developed the BCRP over its course by building upon these and adding new studies.
We conducted a total of 10 studies, all of which have been published by the DfE as technical reports. In addition we have produced four thematic reports, each of which draws on several of the technical reports. Finally, a main report presents major recommendations to the DfE with a summary of the relevant research to back up our advice. Two interim reports were also published.
This was a very exciting, complex research programme and the whole team was delighted to have this opportunity to undertake research that was designed to inform policy in this important area. Over 2013 - 2015 we will be working with the Communication Trust on a DfE funded programme of dissemination and development.
Links to the earlier study which informed the Bercow Review are below:-