Speech, Language and Communication Needs

The Specialist Teaching and Preschool Service includes a team of Specialist Teachers (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) who provide advice and support to mainstream primary schools in relation to pupils with identified speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The team’s support for schools may include:

  • making informal and formal assessment of a child’s speech, language and communication skills
  • advising on suitable interventions and support strategies in order to develop language and communication skills – attention and listening; understanding (receptive language); talking (expressive language), including speech, phonological awareness and narrative skills; social communication
  • liaising with school staff, parents/carers and relevant professional agencies (including Educational Psychologists and Speech & Language Therapists)
  • delivering school-based training to teaching and support staff
  • supporting transition to school (nursery to primary; primary to secondary)

The team contributes to the county training programme for primary schools, and supports schools to achieve the Essex Language and Communication School Award.

Families who have a child supported by a Specialist Teacher (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) can contact the team via one of the following mailboxes:

MID (Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon)


NORTH EAST (Colchester and Tendring)


SOUTH (Basildon, Brentwood, Canvey, Castlepoint & Rochford)


WEST (Epping, Harlow, Uttlesford)


For parents of children who require extra support at school with the development of their speech, language and communication needs, we have an online Parent Helpline for questions and advice on how to support the school with their child’s programme.

Lead Specialist Teacher: Sarah Embleton

Who the service provides for

Ages: 4-11

Education settings:
– mainstream primary schools in Essex
– supported transition work in Essex mainstream secondary schools for pupils transferring to Year 7
– Mainstream enhanced provision for pupils with SLC needs

Eligibility criteria:
– Pupils with high needs, where SLCN is main category of need – pupils may have a statement of SEN (or an Education, Health and Care Plan) or are being supported through SEN Support (School Action Plus)

Hours of operation

Term-time only

How the service is accessed

Schools access the service directly, by telephone consultation or local drop-in sessions. This may be followed by a school visit. Families cannot refer children directly and you should discuss any concerns about your child's speech, language and communication needs with your child's class teacher and the school SENCO.

Operational locations

  • Essex


County Hall
Market Road