Trust Leads the Way with Inspiring Training to Support the COVID Generation

The Spring term at the Wessex Learning Trust began this month with staff from across all sixteen schools in our Trust joining together for a day of invaluable training on speech, language and communication. The training sought to equip staff with the skills to support young people’s speech, language and communication development; particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact this has had on young people.

The training session – which was run virtually and broadcast to more than 250 staff across our schools – was led by Sarah Hobbs (Director of Learning) and Sue Roles (Educational School Improvement Consultant), and launched the Wessex Speech, Language and Communication strategy.

The day was split into four sessions covering what is meant by speech, language and communication (SLC), the impact of school closures on SLC and the Trust vision for SLC. During the day, schools from across all phases of education took time to reflect on SLC for different ages groups. Staff were provided with the opportunity to discuss in groups, ask questions, and share experience with staff across the Trust, guided throughout by the expertise of Sue and Sarah.

The Trust is incredibly proud of this inter-school collaboration and sees it as one of the many benefits of being part of our growing Trust family. Although seemingly counterintuitive to be delivering training on SLC through a screen, staff welcomed the opportunity to develop their understanding of SLC and praised the sessions for getting “all our staff talking”.

One of our learners at Shipham First School

Director of Learning, Sarah Hobbs, commented on the session:

“I was really pleased to be able to lead this INSET day alongside Sue Roles, and launch the Trust’s Speech, Language and Communication strategy. In the wake of the pandemic, it is a key area for us and our learners to enable everyone to thrive at academically, pastorally and in their social interactions beyond school life”

Sarah Hobbs, Director of Learning

Chief Executive of the Trust, Gavin Ball, also said:

“As we slowly emerge from this pandemic, it’s clear to me that speech, language and communication are key areas for our schools to tackle, and I am incredibly proud that the Wessex Learning Trust is at the forefront of this recovery, using the shared experience of its staff and the opportunities to collaborate provided by the Trust model to ensure that no child of the COVID generation will be left behind”

Gavin Ball, Chief Executive

This event is just the start of the Wessex Speech, Language and Communication strategy, with each school now focusing on the explicit teaching and development of SLC skills; and, in our upper and secondary schools, giving pupils the tools for SLC in the workplace and further education.

We are very excited to see how this post-COVID strategy develops in the coming months and feel extremely proud of the work being done in our schools to aid young people’s recovery from the impact of the pandemic.