Isle of Wight Council

Speech, Language and Communication Service (Speech and Language Therapy)

Schools Speech and Language Support Team (SSLST)

The Schools Speech and Language Support Team (SSLST) is a service employed by the council to support students with speech,  language and communication needs. It helps students to access learning, develop confidence and take part in wider education. The team consists of:

  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Specialist Speech and Language Therapy Assistants
  • Specialist Teacher Advisor

The team provides support to:

  • All mainstream primary schools (from year 1 upwards)
  • All mainstream secondary schools
  • Specialist provisions
  • Post 16 settings (statutory support only)

The SSLST work with the NHS speech and language therapy team wherever possible. The Joint Local Areas SEND Inspection found the following:
"A good speech and language therapy service is offered on the island. The service is provided jointly by the NHS and local authority. A strong core offer is available to all schools that includes training to enable staff to be more effective in the support of children with speech, language and communication needs. This core offer also includes the provision of parent workshops." 

NHS Speech and Language Therapy

The NHS provide support to children and young people with:

  • complex needs
  • hearing impairments
  • voice disorders
  • cleft palate
  • selective mutism
  • eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
  • stammering

The service provides support for students in mainstream primary schools in year R and for students attending Medina House. The SSLST works with the NHS wherever possible.
View the NHS speech and language therapy website.

Statutory support

The SSLST work with students who have speech and language therapy support specified in their Education Health and Care plans (EHCPs). This includes training and support to school staff to put in place recommendations in the EHCP.When a student is going through an EHC needs assessment, professional advice will be provided by SSLST.

Referrals for speech and language therapy involvement can be made for students with EHCPs who:

  • have not previously been known to the service
  • who have previously been closed to the service but need further specialist  involvement.

Referrals need to be made by the schools Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) during the setting’s termly planning meeting.

Non statutory support

The team also has a strong focus on working with education  settings. A primary aim for the service is to support schools and settings to  make sure that the communication needs of all students are identified, supported  and developed. To achieve this the following support is offered to primary and secondary settings:    

  • An accredited ten-week Elklan training programme. This develops specialist knowledge and skills in supporting students from ages 5-11.
  • a two-day Elklan training designed for teachers supporting 5-16 year olds
  • Access to a termly Elklan network meeting which allows Elklan trained staff to share good practice and build on their skill set.
  • All schools will receive at least one hour of support per term for Elklan trained staff. This is to put in place recommended advice and strategies within the school environment
  • One parent contact session per academic year. This will be agreed with each school on an individual basis.
  • All schools are offered extra bespoke training of two one hour sessions per academic year.

Termly planning meetings

All schools and settings on the Island receive a termly planning meeting with  the SSLST. This provides an opportunity to talk through the students open to the caseload, plan any training, staff input required for the term and to provide advice to school staff on  supporting wider communication needs within the setting. The first planning  meeting of each year is used to check the service provided by the SSLST. Outcomes for speech and language therapy support for the next academic year are set with individual education settings. Progresses towards outcomes are  measured on an annual basis and feedback is provided.

To make a referral to the SSLST, the SENCO must first discuss  concerns about supporting a students’ speech, language and communication needs during a planning meeting. The SSLST professional will provide advice and where appropriate will agree to accept the referral.

Sold Services

The SSLST is currently working with education settings and external organisations to develop a menu of sold services which can be bought in by education providers.  For updates about sold service planning please contact the team on