What happened and what was the impact?
Over the 2019-20 academic year, Communication Champions from NOA schools and settings were invited to join the Honorarium Project following the completion of the Core and Leadership modules of the Communication Champion Training. Each practitioner was sent an MOU document to sign that detailed:
1. The purpose of the role
2. The responsibilities of the Communication Champion, the supporting school/setting and the NOA
3. The reporting schedule
4. The funding schedule and funding instructions
From here, those that submitted an MOU were invited to join a half-termly network meeting so that project progress and challenges could be discussed. For the first year, this formed the original Communication Champions Network however, as the group increased in size, the Communication Hubs Project was created.
The Communication Champions involved in this project were also expected to submit a termly M3 report. This report asked the Communication Champions to comment on:
1. Their engagement with colleagues regarding the sharing of best practice and expertise
2. Their progress in school/setting towards embedding their sustainable whole-setting development plan.
3. Any early evidence of impact noted
4. Any collaborative work undertaken with other NOA schools or settings (including attending network meetings)
5. Any challenges experienced that have affected project implementation or impact.
6. Any recommendations they have made to their own senior leadership team or any recommendations they’d like to make to NOA.
Once each report was received, progress was noted, and any follow up questions shared. In some instances, further information was requested from the practitioner and in other cases, practitioners requested additional support from the NOA. Then, once each report had been approved, funding was released to the practitioner’s school or setting so that this could be passed on to the Communication Champion.
Regarding impact, a huge amount of qualitative data was collected from this project, suggesting that improvements to speech and language provision and practice, were made in a multitude of areas, including:
– Speech and language assessments
– Parental engagement
– Whole school and whole year-group planning
– Communication environments (indoor & outdoor)
– Support for EAL children
– Partnership working with external organisations (including other local schools and settings)
– Speech and language audits
– Staff knowledge, and confidence to identify and support need
– Peer to peer support
– Intervention planning and delivery
– Early years transition
In December 2019, the reports also suggested that the Communication Champions involved in this project had cascaded their learning to approximately 385 additional practitioners and they had plans to cascade to another 700 practitioners over the following 2 terms. Unfortunately, due to the Covid19 pandemic striking mid-way through the spring term, some of these plans did come to a halt. However, the latter reports did suggest that much of the work did continue at a distance.
How did you measure success?
Before each payment was released, the Communication Champions were required to submit a comprehensive report detailing their progress to date. They were also asked to submit their latest WellComm assessment results and an overview of challenges faced. As a result, both qualitative and quantitative data was collected to help the NOA measure the projects success.