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  1. Changing Behaviours
Alumni and Supporters

Changing Behaviours, Changing Futures

The challenge

Research undertaken over the last decade has demonstrated that there is a strong association between children with speech, language and communications needs (SLCN) and isolation, bullying, poor academic achievement as well as behavioral, emotional and social difficulties and criminal behavior.

In fact research has shown that more than 60% of young offenders under 18 have significant SLCN.

Despite this there are very few specialist interventions that address SLCN in a systematic way, in older school students and young people in the UK.

The response

In 2007 Dr Victoria Joffe*, a Speech and Language Therapist and Professor of the Enhancement of Child and Adolescent Language and Learning at City, University of London*, conducted a large scale research study where she piloted 2 key interventions - Narrative and Vocabulary Enrichment- in 21 secondary schools across 2 outer London boroughs. Entitled ELCISS (Enhancing Speech Language and Communication in Secondary Schools) and with funding support from the Nuffield Foundation, Dr Joffe trained teaching assistants and teachers to  deliver these interventions, to mainstream children with SLCN, in years 7 and 8.

Outcomes were very positive. Feedback received from teachers, students, parents and the local authorities involved, underlines the positive impact this pilot had on language performance as well as behavior, self-esteem and the level of engagement in the classroom by the students who participated in the pilot.

The Narrative and Vocabulary Enrichment modules continue to be used by the participating schools and have also been acquired by a number of other schools throughout the UK.

The ambition

The Changing Behaviors- Changing Futures programme at City, is an extension of ELCISS and seeks to build on its success.  Constituted of 3 key interventions, including Narrative, Vocabulary Enrichment and Communication for Life, the Changing Behaviors-Changing Futures programme will focus specifically on adolescents in secondary schools and onwards with speech, language and communication needs.

Implemented as part of the school curriculum and embedded within the wider school ethos, the programme will be delivered by trained teachers and teaching assistants working in the secondary school system.

By focusing on enhancing narrative, vocabulary and communication for life skills, the Changing Behaviours - Changing Futures programme aims to help young adolescents gain self-confidence and self-awareness and participate more effectively in the classroom, in school-wide activities and in varied social settings. It has the potential to help improve their educational achievements and attainment and support them in becoming more effective and confident communicators, enabling them to visualise, articulate and build a more positive future for themselves.

Your support

While City recognises the vital importance of this programme we do not have the necessary funding to support its ongoing development and implementation.

With philanthropic funding of an initial £500,000 Professor Joffe and her team could:

  • develop and pilot the Communication for Life module
  • train a minimum of 100 teachers/teaching assistants
  • support the delivery of the 3 interventions to a minimum of  2250 adolescence
  • impact the training of at least a further 100 teachers /teaching assistants who will in turn deliver the programme to a further 2250 adolescence

With £500,000, 4500 young people with SLCN could benefit from the Changing Behaviors- Changing Futures programme.

With a just a single donation of £111 you could personally enhance the future of one young person with SLCN.

Imagine the difference you can make!

To donate go to:

Find us

City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.