Experienced West Midlands based speech & language therapy

Latest News & Blog

Soundswell therapists are working in a wide range of settings across the West Midlands. We are involved in lots of activities - read more about what we have been up to here!

Friday 29 May 2020

Speech and Language therapy in the ‘new world’ of social distancing

In the coming days school staff will face one of the biggest challenges of their careers. Back to school but not as it was? There will be many competing priorities and all must be met within the context of social distancing. Read on to see how Soundswell therapists will continue to deliver high-quality and effective services to support both staff and children ….

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Friday 29 May 2020

COVID 19 Risk assessment -return to school

Covid 19 Risk assessment [prepared for there-opening of schools from June 1st 2020] For on-going review in accordance with Government guidance [formal review in Autumn 1]

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Tuesday 31 March 2020

Objective-setting learning and where it fits

Welcome back to the third and final part of our ‘In the Moment’ article. Here we look at instances where ITM may not be the best approach and the argument as to why. If you have read the first two of this little series of articles, I hope you feel as I do that we have learnt quite a lot about ‘Planning in the Moment’ [ITM] and how powerful it can be if practitioners are properly equipped to exploit the approach to its full potential. Now it’s time to look at those instances when ITM is not necessarily the best approach…

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Thursday 26 March 2020

KS 3 "Teaching vocabulary – a whole school approach"

Sandwell Academy recently hosted another of our free vocabulary training sessions. Vocabulary is the best predictor of a child’s academic success - this fact is often quoted, and the link between vocabulary at age 5 and GCSE results is also frequently mentioned.

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Thursday 26 March 2020

Remote training for teaching staff: " It's good for the soul"

Like of our colleagues in Education and Health, Soundswell therapists have been busy working on new ways to 'keep calm and carry on'. Sophie and Hayley worked with the senior leadership team at Nelson Mandela Primary to set up 2 remote training session this week- and there's more to come!!

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Saturday 7 March 2020

Soundswell CPD day February 2020

On February 28th Soundswell therapists gathered for our Spring CPD event at The Spires Nursing home Lichfield. This was a return visit here for us and not just because of the relaxed and comfortable surroundings; after all who could resist those enormous home made sausage rolls and the endless supply of coffee and biscuits? As ever we had a stimulating and entertaining day with contributions from all the team. Read on to find out more

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Wednesday 26 February 2020

‘Planning in the moment’ (part 2)– is your workforce ready ?

Welcome back to the second in our three-part series of articles about ‘In the Moment’. Here we explore what is needed to successfully and effectively deliver both child-led & objective-setting approaches, depending on the needs of the children in your setting.

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Sunday 16 February 2020

Free 'Closing The Word Gap ' Training for primary schools in Sandwell

“Closing the Word Gap” Teaching Vocabulary in small groups

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Sunday 16 February 2020

SENDCo Survival Course June 6th 2020

We're really please to add this to our range of Language for Learning Training half day courses It's another practical session with loads of goodies to take away 8th June 9.15 - 12 .25 at Mapledene School, Birmingham

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Saturday 15 February 2020

Essential training for newly qualified therapists or therapists new to mainstream schools

“Such an informative course and real value for money with all the great resources included’ It's quite daunting to deliver training to a group of your own peers, especially when some of them have travelled a long way to be there. So to receive feedback such as this was very welcome indeed.

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Wednesday 29 January 2020

A Breath of Fresh Air- working in harmony in Dudley

Early in 2019 Soundswell started working in Old Park special school in Dudley. By the time December was upon us we had begun a service to Pens Meadow – another Dudley special school. So …. how does that work – when an independent provider takes on work on an NHS provider’s local patch? There is always the potential for conflict as well as partnership – especially when the NHS service also has therapists working in the school/s in question ……

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Saturday 25 January 2020

Part I: ‘In the Moment’ – keeping things in perspective (A therapist’s-eye view)

‘In the Moment’ [ITM] is not new (author, instigator and experienced EY practitioner Anna Ephgrave was interviewed on the ‘EYFS matters’ blog back in 2015) but, for us, the approach has recently come to the fore in terms of its application to the delivery of speech and language therapy targets. To better understand the potential (and the pitfalls), Soundswell therapists have looked into what is involved and also sought the views of current practitioners (both teachers and EY consultants).

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Monday 13 January 2020

Are you making the most of the training you commission?

Training comes in many forms – from the formal inset planned many weeks ahead, through to twilights or much more informal small group topics you hold in-house. Whatever your topic and whoever your provider, make sure you get the most out of the sessions. Read on to find out how this works at Soundswell..….

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Monday 13 January 2020

Soundswell are pleased to be working with Hallfield independent school in Edgbaston

Small group, especially-tailored training is by far the best and most effective way to advance staff learning and confidence – whether this is to introduce a topic which is new to some or to refresh the knowledge and skills of others. EY staff at Hallfield recently received a Wellcomm speech and language toolkit session from their new school therapist Nicki (Soundswell associate)….

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Monday 13 January 2020

Rubery Nursery are finding out how some children find understanding questions so difficult!

How often do you find yourself asking children questions? Hmmm… the honest answer to this is probably ‘most of the time’! ‘That’s how we find out what children know’ I hear you say! Many children struggle to interpret the question itself – let alone remember it long enough to come up with a response. What can we do to help...?

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Monday 13 January 2020

Staff benefit from learning why using speech is not enough for many children and young people in specialist settings

Hallmoor staff are an enthusiastic group of people, with the best interests of their pupils at heart. Recently they received training about Alternative & Augmentative Communication (AAC) – what is it and how we can use it to maximise teaching and learning for our children and young people? Read on….

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Saturday 28 December 2019

Peer review: challenging myself and reviewing children's services in Liverpool

In 2018 I spent 2 days training to be a Local Government Association (LGA) peer reviewer - it was one of those things that seemed like a great idea at the time. It was intense and interesting, and a little bit scary too. I met all sorts of people who seemed to know loads more than me and secretly I hoped they'd forget I'd even been on the course. Months went by with no 'call-up' from the LGA and I began to think I'd got away with it, until I got the call to go to Liverpool in November- no escape now! What is an LGA Peer Review I hear you ask? Was it as bad as you feared I hear you wondering? Read on to find out more.....

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Tuesday 3 December 2019

Getting it out there

Remember the Famly Guy? We posted an item on our blog back in May this year, after we had delivered a seminar at the Childcare Expo in Manchester. (take a look further down this page to see that article). Then what happened?

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Saturday 23 November 2019

Investing in 'Early Childhood'

As you read this, what does it make you think? Positive outcomes for children? Certainly, if we take account of a raft of research, we would be thinking of the social, emotional and educational benefits of providing the right support for all young children at the earliest opportunity. How many people reading this would automatically think about the economic advantages of such investment?

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Thursday 7 November 2019

Speech and Language Therapy Services in Telford

Soundswell are excited to announce that we are now working in the following areas of the West Midlands:- Telford, Sandwell, and Dudley

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Thursday 7 November 2019

Speech and Language Therapy Services in Dudley

Soundswell are excited to announce that we are now working in the following areas of the West Midlands:- Dudley, Sandwell and Telford.

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Friday 8 November 2019

Speech and Language Therapy services in Sandwell

Soundswell are excited to announce that we are now working in the following areas of the West Midlands:- Sandwell, Dudley, and Telford.

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Friday 11 October 2019

Here’s the challenge! Providing schools with the right CPD at the right time – and at a price they can afford

Two major school membership organisations have posted losses as schools tighten their belts in the face of budget restraints (as reported recently in ‘Curriculum Chatter’). But CPD is now more important than ever as, on a daily basis, staff face the challenge of supporting (and educating) children with a range of increasingly complex needs, including those with speech, language & communication needs (SLCN). SLCN affects 10% of all children – rising to 50% in areas of social disadvantage (Law et al 2017). Look around your classroom today: as many as half of those children may be struggling to access the curriculum. Do you know how best to help? Read on to find out about SLCN CPD from Soundswell …..

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Matt Arnerich – Famly Guy

No – you haven’t misread this, it isn’t a typo! Matt is the head of content at Famly, a nursery management software company from Denmark. Soundswell’s Jo and Diana took part in a video interview for Famly, as part of their attendance at the Manchester Childcare Expo to present a seminar on universal language screening.

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

Getting SLCN targets into classrooms – a significant challenge

It has never been easy to make sure that any/all staff working with C&YP on the therapists’ caseload are aware of exactly what is a priority and how to weave support into curriculum activities. Things have become even more of a challenge as the TA workforce is reduced, therapists find themselves more isolated and everyone has so many demand and pressures. It isn’t uncommon for the SEN team in a school to say that class staff just ‘don’t engage’. Even when they are willing, they just don’t know enough to be able to move things forward. In one setting, the solution to the disengagement proved to be drastic indeed….

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Tuesday 4 June 2019

This is the story of a little primary school in B31

Young, dynamic and savvy, the newly appointed Head at the one form entry Orchards Primary Academy understood the link between good language skills and future educational success. Three years ago she chose to invest time and money in a therapy service, and Soundswell training in how to make the most of the Wellcomm speech and language Toolkit. Staff started using Wellcomm in the Nursery & Reception and then in Pre-school. As we know, positive and enduring change takes time…..

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Tuesday 16 April 2019

Buying in a speech and language therapy service? Can you measure the impact in your setting?

‘Measuring impact’ – are the current buzz words in schools and settings everywhere. Continually & routinely staff are being asked to evidence the impact of interventions delivered and be able to show that children & young people (CYP) make progress. Measuring impact (and, by inference, positive impact) is doubly important for those schools buying in a service. The progress that CYP make and the gains in staff knowledge, skills and confidence also equate with justification for the investment made in speech and language therapy (SLT). Read on to find out what to expect from Soundswell.

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Tuesday 9 April 2019

Have you got what it takes to be a Sleuth?

Sleuth (Oxford Concise English Dictionary): • Noun: a detective • Verb: sleuthing: carry out a search or investigation As of February 25th, staff at the Bridge special school in Sutton are super sleuths. At their recent inset day Bridge staff became the very first group to receive the brand new Soundswell SSLEUTHS training.

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Sunday 17 March 2019

Meet Bryony !

Hi, my name is Bryony Aitken and I’m an independent Speech and Language Therapist based in the West Midlands. I work with Soundswell and run my own company Speech Spot Ltd, supporting children who have a range of Speech, Language and Communication Needs in primary schools, homes, nurseries and secondary schools.

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Thursday 14 March 2019

A Warm Wellcomm in Warrington

Last week Soundswell’s Jo & Diana headed north up the M6 to deliver Wellcomm training to groups of nursery staff from across Warrington. The participants were welcoming, enthusiastic and contributed to making the sessions dynamic and successful.

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Thursday 14 March 2019

Try something different to support speech, language & communication in the Early Years

For a relatively modest investment you can make a significant impact on the speech, language and communication environment in your setting. Read on to find out how!

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Sunday 10 March 2019

SPARRK TRAINING FEEDBACK

Feedback from SPARRK training session (inner city Birmingham school) February 2019 On a scale of 1-5 (where 1 is the lowest & 5 the highest) participants were asked how confident they felt about the statements below

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Sunday 10 March 2019

SPARRK

Designed for use with individual pupils, SPARRK provides you, the Practitioner, with the means of assessing the most important phonological awareness skills of children from Foundation to KS4.

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Sunday 10 March 2019

Some children failing to acquire phonics do so because of poor phonological awareness skills – what can we do to help?

Phonics teaching is systematic, rigorous and a cornerstone of the curriculum from the beginning of Reception. The phonics test at the end of year 1 is the final hurdle. For the majority of children this approach works; they acquire phonics and are able to successfully build and blend - picking up phonological awareness knowledge and skills along the way.

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Sunday 17 February 2019

Access to quality training – is now more important than ever

Training is a frequently-used intervention for speech and language therapy services – and Soundswell is no exception. It’s an attractive option due to its wide reach and potential cost-effectiveness. But – budget constraints mustn’t be the only reason for choosing training : impact and influence are just as important. We need to be clear as to the purpose and be rigorous in collecting and acting upon feedback. Settings need to know what is available and be able to choose what meets their needs and why, at any given point. Accessed shrewdly, training is not only excellent value for money but it will make a positive difference to children with speech, language & communication difficulties (SLCN)

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Sunday 17 February 2019

Wow! Look what Wellcomm did at Welford Primary

We know that children taking part in Wellcomm groups can make significant gains in terms of language skills. But… does this translate into measurable gains in terms of assessment in the EYFS? Yes it does! Louise, Senco (and Deputy Head) at Welford Primary has the data to prove it!

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Monday 23 September 2019

Meet Hayley !

Hayley has worked for Soundswell for 4 years now. Find out what Hayley's biggest challenge is and what makes her giggle at work

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Thursday 11 October 2018

Ofsted found this Erdington Primary school ‘good’ for a reason

Soundswell have been recommending the Wellcomm Toolkit for a number of years. During this time we have developed more in-depth ways of gathering information to identify which children could be more successfully grouped together. We also encourage schools and settings to look at different ways data can measure impact. Here is a very ‘good news’ story from Court Farm Primary in Erdington.

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Tuesday 9 October 2018

Attention & listening difficulties – a universal problem?

The value of early language screening at a universal level cannot be over-estimated. Proactive, quality Early Years settings routinely screen their new intakes, (Wellcomm by gl-assessment is the language screening tool of choice in many settings), and put in place appropriate interventions. But … it’s becoming more evident, particularly with the arrival of 2 year-olds, that some children are just not ready to be either reliably screened or to benefit from an intervention group. Who are these children and what can we do to help?

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Monday 10 September 2018

Everyone’s talking about ‘Closing the [Word] Gap’

What is the Word Gap? Who is disadvantaged and why? What are the plans for positive change? December 2017 saw the publication of a national plan to improve social mobility through education, by removing ‘potential obstacles’ – in this case improving the less favourable outcomes for disadvantaged children who have poor language skills.

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Sunday 16 February 2020

TA survival course

Are you working to support children with SLCN? Language for Learning courses and resources empower teaching staff and parents to support children in accessing meaningful language learning experiences across the school day.

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Wednesday 11 July 2018

Jo

I worked for the NHS as a speech and language therapist ( SaLT) for 24 years before starting my own practice providing services to schools and families. In a very short space of time I was fully booked and that's when I called my trusted colleague Diana- and Soundswell was born!!

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Saturday 2 June 2018

Sophie

If you are thinking of Speech & Language Therapy as a career, read Sophie's advice about how to get started

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Tuesday 8 May 2018

Meet more of the team !

Nicki tell us her top tip for parents:- It’s really worrying for parents when their children aren’t saying as much as they think they should and there can be a tendency for adults to talk more, ask more questions, fill the silences as a well-meaning method of helping. I would say, relax (if you can), stand back and watch your child to see what they enjoy playing with, looking at, are interested in. You can then add in words/ short phrases to label what the child is holding/ playing with and comment on what they are doing. Allow lots of pauses and count to 10 to allow your child to time to respond.

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Monday 26 March 2018

Meet the team 2 !

In the second of our 'meet the team' articles, Emily describes how she started her career and what are her biggest challenges.

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Sunday 25 February 2018

Meet the Team

Denise Charnock has worked with Soundswell for about 2 years now, read on to find out what advice she would give to worried parents and anyone considering speech & language therapy as a career

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