Local school children show MP they’re the Talk of the Town

On Monday 23rd June Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP will visit Leigh Central Primary School to find out how the school is taking part in a national research trial to help children’s speech language and communication skills.

Talk of the Town

Talk of the Town is an integrated community led approach to supporting speech, language and communication. It facilitates early identification, encourages joint working and improves outcomes for children and young people.

Leigh Central primary school is one of 20 in Wigan and 63 across the country taking part in the project from September 2013 to July 2015. This research trail has been kindly funded by The Education Endowment Foundation after a successful pilot in Greater Manchester in 2011.

The school and project are delighted Mr Burnham is coming to see how the school is working with the project. He’ll meet the national project team, head teacher, teaching staff and the Talk of the Town speech and language therapist, who works in school one day per week.

He’ll then meet children taking part in activities to support their communication and tour the school to see the different ways they’re helping children’s communication in everything they do.

Dawn Hurst, Head teacher of Leigh Central Primary School welcomed the visit: “We’re really proud our MP is coming to see the way in which we are supporting all children’s communication development.  We’re excited to be part of a national project which will not only improve outcomes for the children in our school and local community, but which also has the potential to help schools across the country.”

The Communication Trust director Anne Fox said: “We’re delighted with how the project is going so far and the schools have been amazing to work with. We’re really pleased Andy Burnham can come to Leigh Central and see for himself how much is going on locally to support children’s communication. When the project is finished we hope to have a model which every community can adopt. Having local champions, including Mr Burnham, who have an understanding of the project, will be key to its success.”

Eve Wagg, Talk of the Town programme manager added: “Talk of the Town in Wigan is being shaped and endorsed by local schools, the council and the health Trust to meet the needs of local children. The project offers a framework of support, building on the great work that is already happening in schools and across the community. By working together Talk of the Town embeds a range of activities to support all children’s language development, working in partnership to make huge differences to children’s outcomes. We are so very grateful to everyone’s work in ensuring the project is a success.”

The project is run locally with Wigan Council and Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust and aims to leave behind a new way of schools, local authority and health services working together – as in the pilot in 2011 in South Manchester.  Nationally the project is being run in Wigan, Hull and Hertfordshire.

Caroline Williams, General Manger for Children and Young People’s Services, from Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust said:  “We are delighted to be using our speech and language therapy expertise to support the Council and our schools to help local children develop their communication skills as part of this national research project.”

Joanna Platt, Children and Young People Portfolio Holder and elected member at Wigan Council commented: “Wigan are delighted to have been chosen to take part in this innovative project which provides a model for effective joint commissioning. As a Council we have always seen communication as central to giving children the best start in life and look forward to supporting the project to ensure children across Wigan are able to communicate to the best of their ability.”


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