Winners of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards announced

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Organisers have announced the winners of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards, presented at a ceremony in London hosted by stand-up comedian, actor and TV writer Adam Hess.

The national awards scheme celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development. Hess struggled with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking when he was younger.

The awards are organised by learning company Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust.

The 2018 awards recognised 17 individuals and teams across 10 categories, as well as children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Winners included:

Jonathan Bryan from Chippenham – Young Person of the Year: Inspirational 12-year-old Jonathan has severe cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, oxygen-dependent, and also non-verbal. He has shown sheer dedication and determination in developing his own communication skills and also raising awareness of profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

Through the support of his family, and his use of a low-tech eye gaze system (an e-tran frame), Jonathan is now in mainstream secondary school. He has personally established the Teach Us Too campaign, which urges professionals to recognise the unlocked potential of their pupils and not teach to labels. His documentary, Locked-in Boy, recently aired on CBBC, and his autobiography is being published later this year.

Pip St John from Blackburn – Communication Champion Award: Pip’s impact in and around Blackburn has been outstanding: she has shown incredible dedication to enhancing the communication skills of children by training school staff and sharing advice and information, whilst overcoming a personal battle with stage 3 breast cancer. Pip has created the Pre-Teaching Vocabulary (PTV) programme which aims to help children needing extra language support. She has made this an entirely free resource, and it is accessible online to anyone who needs it.

Stoke Speaks Out in Stoke-on-Trent – The SLCN Innovation Award and the Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award: Awarded for their innovative Early Communication Screen (ECS) to improve the school readiness of children from two to five, Stoke Speaks Out has positively impacted thousands of local children. Commissioned by the Local Authority, and written by Clinical Lead Speech/Language Therapist Janet Cooper and her team of speech and language therapists from Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP), the ECS is designed to be used by Early Years practitioners to identify early language delay and measure children’s progress over time. Almost 7,000 children have been screened so far, with more than 1,800 regional practitioners trained to use the programme to date.

A full list of winners and those highly commended and commended can be found here.

Adam Hess said:

The dedication of teams and individuals to improve the communication skills of children and young people is humbling. As a child, I struggled greatly with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking, if it wasn’t for the support I received when I was younger I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. It has been a complete honour to host these awards and I would like to congratulate all the winners and commended finalists. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President, Schools, Pearson, said:

Our warmest congratulations to the winners, highly commended, and commended finalists of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. Through our innovative clinical assessments, Pearson is committed to supporting those working to help people overcome challenges in speech and language.

For six years we have run these awards as we believe it is so important to recognise and celebrate the incredible, but often unsung, work being done across the country to change the lives of children and young people by helping them to develop their communication skills.

Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said:

Congratulations to everyone who triumphed at the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. These awards highlight the very best practice that is taking place in settings across the country. The winners and highly commended finalists have shown what can be achieved when expertise, enthusiasm and dedication are given to children and young people who struggle to communicate. We would like to say a huge thank you to Pearson for their long-standing support.

The judging panel for the awards included 19 key representatives from across the education and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sectors, as well as previous Shine a Light Award winners.

The Shine a Light Awards have grown in popularity since their launch during the National Year of Communication in 2011 (known as the Hello campaign). To date, they have celebrated the work of over 140 teams and a wide range of individuals, including young people with severe and complex SLCN.

In the UK, over one million children and young people have some form of long-term and persistent SLCN that can impact them early, severely and for life.

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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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