There’s been a big build up on social media to today, the 20th March 2018, as it marked the day that the ‘Bercow: 10 Years On‘ review would be made public. It has been ten years since the first review by John Bercow MP was published, which looked at current services for children and young people from birth to 19 with speech, language and communication needs across the country. This latest review was intended to see what has happened over the last ten years and what needs to happen going forward.
More than 2,500 parents, carers, children, practitioners and others contributed to the Bercow: 10 Years On review, which has been published by I CAN and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
Although there have been some positive changes since the first review in 2008 (see above), the report makes for a gloomy read with some of the key statistics which came out of it;
- 42% of parents say their child’s needs were not picked up early enough
- 50% had to wait more than six months for their child to get the help they needed
- Support varies widely throughout England with children in a ‘postcode lottery’ as to the support they receive
- Only 15% of respondents felt that speech and language therapy was available as required.
- Only 29% of parents and carers felt involved in how their child’s support was planned
- Only 12% of parents realised that their child was struggling to communicate because a professional, for example an early years worker, teacher or GP, told them
- The research shows very little change in parents and carers’ views in the last 10 years, with 78% reporting information was either not easily available or not available at all; in 2008 the figure was 77%
- 53% of survey respondent did not feel that the way children learn in schools supports their spoken language development
Almost all of the respondents to a survey of NHS children’s speech and language therapy services report that they discharge children and young people who miss appointments
Unfortunately, these statistics really do represent what we are seeing on the ground and we are hopeful that this review will lead to better things for children with SLCN. The review has provided a number of recommendations and in their conclusion, stated that “we cannot afford to wait 10 more years”.