The Stoke Speaks Out team has won another prestigious award at the Advancing Healthcare Awards 2018. This award was for Contributions to Public Health, with the ceremony hosted by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) and Public Health England (PHE).
The award panel felt that "The impact of this project is lifelong and can benefit the whole community. It was well structured and the team had lots of passion."
‘Stoke Speaks Out’ is a city-wide, multi-agency approach ensuring children living in areas of high deprivation receive the best start in life to develop early language and communication skills.
The project, which was started in 2004, focuses on ‘Healthy Beginnings’ and is run by a small multi-agency team led by a speech and language therapist and commissioned by the local authority. It includes a training programme for the 'early years' workforce that emphasises the importance of early attachment and positive parenting on children’s development.
It has developed resources to support practitioners such as the ‘staged pathway’ to assist early identification. It also includes a locally developed screening tool for all children aged 2–5 years to assist early identification and it embeds targeted interventions to support the children identified by the screen. This is being used by every nursery and school in the city.
All children’s data from the ‘Early Communication Screen' is sent to the local authority for analysis (data on over 8,000 children). The baseline from the screen in 2016 showed 35% children were on track or ahead with their speech and language. After introducing a school readiness programme this improved to 54%.