Language & Communication Friendly Environment

Creating Language and Communication Friendly Establishments in Glasgow: An Overview


What do we know about Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) and long term outcomes?

  • 50% of children in areas of social disadvantage start school with poor language (Deprivation Inquiry, 2013)
  • Spoken language skills are amongst the best predictors of educational success (Snowling et al, 2011)
  • 60-90% of young people in the youth justice system have SLCN (Bryan et al 2007)
  • The quality of spoken dialogue in the classrooms can significantly improve children’s attainment (Mercer, 2016)
  • Spoken language skills are one aspect of a child’s development that is most amenable to change (Law, 2009)

LCFE journey so far and contribution to closing the gap

  • 125 establishments in Glasgow currently engaging with the LCFE process
  • Of those, 60% have over 70% of their population in SIMD 1 and 2
  • 18% have over 90% of their population in SIMD 1 and 2
  • Implementation science approach taking forward those establishments who are ready for change
  • Robust quality assurance process that is based on school self-evaluation. Programme of validation and follow up visits. Multi-agency team with peer head. Peer head role built in as sustainable aspect of programme.
  • Supported by peer observation to support embedding and sustainability
  • Mentoring role to build capacity and sustainability – model for peer observation


2009 (approx.) – ICAN training delivered to all early years establishments. However, model could not be sustained and training was not followed up in the majority of cases

2012 – Developed Glasgow version using ICAN materials with more sustainable model of mentoring and accreditation based on establishment readiness. Agreement with Health and Psychological Services to provide training and mentoring. All LCR staff trained and asked to use this as a basis for support to mainstream.

May 2013 – presentations delivered at area head teacher forums to raise awareness of LCFE and benefit to children and young people; given Glasgow context and improvements to literacy. Emphasis on readiness and incorporation into improvement planning rather than a ‘have to’. Training provided to all educational psychologists and SLT re process and their role in the process.

2014-2016 – gradually more establishments requesting to take forward, some as learning communities

2019 – Framework updated to highlight that LCFE supports nurturing approaches, Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge, Restorative Approaches etc. and to link to all aspects of ASL rather than have separate ‘dyslexia friendly’, ‘EAL friendly’, ‘deaf friendly’ etc. Mentoring guidelines and paperwork to support peer heads with follow-up visits produced.



The LCFE key indicators framework – there are 5 key indicators which form the basis of supportive practice:

Indicator One: A physical environment that enhances and promotes opportunities for speech, language and communication for all children

Indicator Two: Adult talk that encourages and promotes participation from all learners

Indicator Three: Adult interaction styles that are responsive to individual children’s needs

Indicator Four: The use of supportive learning strategies to develop language and communication skills

Indicator Five: The establishment can demonstrate a strong commitment to staff training and development to meet the speech, language and communication needs of all children.


  • Language is a vital means of communication
  • All behaviour is Communication


Mentoring and support from key health and education practitioners is a core component of this framework. The role of the mentor, in partnership with establishment staff, is to support and encourage practitioners to manage their own learning and skill development to maximise the learning environment in supporting speech, language and communication. They will not necessarily deliver direct training or provide intervention in an establishment but will guide staff to access the support they need. A mentor could be the Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist or peer. The mentor will help staff think about how to achieve the priorities identified in self-evaluation.



This is a three part process:

  1. Completion of a self-evaluation framework and action plan (as part of the establishment improvement plan) identifying the establishment’s strengths and development needs.
  2. Engagement with a coaching and mentoring process. This may include identifying and accessing training/CPD opportunities, collaborative practice and peer visits. As practice and experience across establishments is likely to be varied, there is no single pathway or recommended training. However, it is recommended that all establishments consider how priorities will be incorporated in their improvement plan and complete the one day training.
  3. Validated self-evaluation – visit by team (QIO, SLT/ EP and peer head) for observation and discussion based on the establishment self-evaluation. The team will work in partnership with establishment staff to validate their self-evaluation.

Follow up visit and quality assurance of Education Perspective Reports (EPR) to ensure sustaining the approach.

Completing the self-evaluation framework as part of the regular quality assurance and improvement approaches within the establishment keeps a focus on continuing progress towards meeting the key indicators of good practice and can provide the evidence for the validation visit. Follow up visits made by peer head and SLT / EP support the establishment in maintaining accreditation.



LCFE validated establishments make significantly more use of the evidence-based strategies that speech and language therapist and educational psychologist advise (as evidenced in the recent SLT/ Education Review exercise). They seek more consultation with SLT prior to referring an individual child. Non-validated establishments seek more support than validated. Establishments that are validated use more approaches.


A Focus Group in 2019 with Heads from validated establishments found the following:

Next Steps

  • Continue to ensure robust quality assurance programme and to make sustainable by further extending the peer head role and training for peer heads
  • The LCFE Steering Group will continue in a quality assurance role and collate data around impact and outcomes
  • We are planning to widen the data collection and conduct an electronic survey with establishments validated in the last two years using the themes identified through the Focus Group evaluation to structure the questionnaire.
  • In response to increasing levels of interest, continue to increase the profile of LCFE through Twitter, Open Doors and Headteacher forums


LCFE Flyer

Please download the LCFE flyer here:

LCFE Flyer

On-going CLPL opportunities to support your LCFE journey at this time:

LCFE Ongoing Opportunities April 20 (002)