Experienced West Midlands based speech & language therapy

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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

Measuring & impact are two separate concepts and are perhaps more easily thought of in reverse order:

Impact: ‘ a marked effect or influence’.  Synonyms within this context include: influence, effect, results & consequences.

Measure: ascertain the size, amount or degree of something by comparison with a ‘standard’.  Assess the extent, quality, value or effect of something.

At Soundswell we think about measuring impact in its widest sense: we start by looking at what activity is being delivered, in what setting and with what kinds of needs.  There will be commonalities across settings but our expectations and the kinds of evidence we would hope to see will be different (outcomes in nursery will differ from outcomes in special schools for example).

We relate measurement to the aims and objectives agreed with school at the outset.  The focus might be:

  • Specific children
  • Group/class/cohort
  • Staff group/s
  • Whole school

Activities might be:

  • Environmental
  • Clinical
  • Educational (e.g. training)


and could be related to the pyramid of intervention perhaps.


There’s a whole range of things we can consider and ways of measuring could vary from, for example, the formal and standardised (assessment scores on tests therapists administer) through to the changes in behaviour noticed in children with ASC as a result of staff  implementing the training they have received.  Measures may be qualitative or quantative.


As a Head or Senco, how would you anticipate measuring the impact of the service you receive?


In partnership with your therapy service, here’s a good place to start!

  • Decide on intervention/s to be delivered (and why)
  • What is the focus/what are you trying to achieve?
  • Do a pre-intervention measure (base it on anticipated outcomes)
  • Deliver the intervention
  • Do a post-intervention measure
  • Allow a little time for generalisation/transfer of skills
  • Gather qualitative staff feedback: has learning science topic vocabulary (for example) made a difference to the way those children performed in specific science lessons?


From EYFS to KS4 in both special and mainstream settings, click here for a raft of ideas which can help show progress in your setting.