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WellComm

We are offering the opportunity to access, at heavily subsidised rates, a WellComm Early Years Toolkit for use in schools and settings serving early years aged children across the City of York local authority area. 

This is based on the evidence of impact developed through the Early Talk for York approach and is the first step towards city wide scale up of these evidence informed ways of working. In return for a Toolkit to keep, we ask that you commit to a small number of things in return including screening all early years children annually.

For more information on WellComm generally visit GL Assessment's website (please note this link will take you to information on both the primary and early years toolkits).

To order your subsidised WellComm Early Years Toolkit see the below information or complete the order form and return to eycc@york.gov.uk 

Why WellComm?

The strongly evidence based principles that this is based on:

  • That a focus on communication and language outcomes is the top most priority for settings’ and schools’ work with early years aged children.
  • There is a national issue with under identification of children with speech, language and communication needs and this is also happening in York.
  • WellComm has been one key element of the Early Talk for York approach which has shown an increase in identification and is now showing impact on cohort level children’s outcomes.

 

The Benefits of WellComm:

For children and individual settings/schools:

  • Increased early identification of need
  • Intervention toolkit to respond to needs on an individual/group basis
  • Supports practitioners early intervention and timely response
  • Will support the quality and consistency of referrals to specialist services
  • Can become embedded as part of practice, with training available for new staff members

For the system, for all children:

  • Greater understanding of need across the city so future support work can be better targeted and commissioning more responsive.

 

Hear from colleagues in York already using WellComm

In this video Berni, the manager of Muddy Boots Nursery in York, talks about the way they have used the WellComm Toolkit effectively in their setting.  She shares her top three tips for embedding universal screening into routine practice.

 

 

 

In this video Emma, a teaching assistant at Westfield Primary Community School in York, talks about the way they have universally screened all children, how they use the results to inform their practice and some of the wider benefits of using the WellComm Toolkit.

 

Any Drawbacks?

Workload

Universally screening all children on an annual basis will take some time to bed into practice. It’s possible to achieve but requires effort to work out compatible ways of doing it. While there will be challenges in initial work loads, the recommendation to screen universally comes from schools and settings who have used WellComm as part of  the Early Talk for York delivery group.

False positives

We know WellComm will return a small number of ‘false positives’ (ie children who don’t really have additional needs.) This number is likely to be far smaller than the additional identification that this approach will take so the net result is a positive one. It also relies on proportionate response – the toolkit is designed to be used to support professional judgement, not replace it.

 

Why is this opportunity available?

The strategic boards that lead oversight of development in early years; the Early Years Improvement Board and York Schools and Academies Board (YSAB) have both approved support for this roll out based on the emerging evidence of promise from the Early Talk for York programme and aligning with the priorities that settings and schools have told us about in response to Covid.

The funding for subsidising the purchase comes from the Disability Access Fund underspend as well as funding from YSAB as a key strand of the Education Futures work that is going on across all ages of children across the city.

 

PVI Offer

  • Heavily subsidised toolkit, yours to keep (normal cost £485, cost via us £50)
  • Regular, free training sessions at different times during the day from Early Talk for York speech and language therapists on how to use the toolkit – available for as many staff as you want, without limit.
  • Findings from screening may help access additional support via the Speech and Language Hub

In return:

You screen all early years children annually.

When we get the system set up, you return via the census, the headline outcome of the screen for all children (Red, Amber, Green). This is likely to start January 2023 and recur annually.

You loan the Toolkit to childminders in your area, at mutual convenience

 

School Offer

  • Heavily subsidised toolkit, yours to keep (normal cost £485, cost via us £100)
  • Regular, free training sessions at different times during the day from Early Talk for York speech and language therapists on how to use the toolkit – available for as many staff as you want, without limit.
  • Findings from screening may help access additional support via the Speech and Language Hub

In return:

You screen all early years children annually.

When we get the system set up, you return via the census, the headline outcome of the screen for all children (Red, Amber, Green). This is likely to start January 2023 and recur annually.

You loan the Toolkit to childminders in your area, at mutual convenience.

 

Childminder Offer

  • No financial cost to you but a free lending service via the city’s libraries (2 week loan FROM MID-NOVEMBER) and options from local schools and settings
  • Regular, free training sessions at different times during the day from Early Talk for York speech and language therapists on how to use the toolkit – available for as many staff as you want, without limit.
  • Findings from screening may help access additional support via the Speech and Language Hub

In return:

You screen all early years children annually.

When we get the system set up, you return via the census, the headline outcome of the screen for all children (Red, Amber, Green). This is likely to start January 2023 and recur annually.

 

Out of School Clubs Offer

  • No financial cost to you but a free lending service via the city’s libraries if applicable
  • Regular, free training sessions at different times during the day from Early Talk for York speech and language therapists on how to use the toolkit – available for as many staff as you want, without limit.
  • Findings from screening may help access additional support via the Speech and Language Hub

In return:

You work with your local schools to understand both individual and cohort needs identified and consider your practice and provision in how you might support and respond to these.

 

Training Sessions

Training sessions are available directly from the speech and language therapists and are open to as many staff as is useful for all those providers interested in using WellComm.

To book on please email both Early Talk for York Speech and Language therapists Eve Ibbotson and Hannah Thomas.

 

Please note these sessions will be taking place virtually via Zoom.

 Current training dates

  • Thursday 25th November 11am-12pm
  • Tuesday 30th November 6-7pm
  • Wednesday 8th December 3.30-4.30pm
  • Tuesday 14th December 10-11am
  • Wednesday 5th January 3:30-4:30pm
  • Monday 10th January 6-7pm
  • Wednesday 19th January 10-11am
  • Thursday 27th January 3:30-4:30pm
  • Monday 7th February 5-6pm

How to order

If you would like to part of this work:

  • Fill in and sign the order form which will be available from the 1st November
  • Send to eycc@york.gov.uk
  • Await confirmation of delivery of your toolkit (we will run monthly batch orders) which will come with collection instructions
  • Collect your order from West Offices
  • Book onto training with the speech and language therapists or access the online pre recorded training from GL Assessment WellComm Early Years Training (ispring.eu)
  • Don’t forget to pay your invoice please!

This offer will remain open until Autumn 2022 when it will be reviewed and may be withdrawn.

  

FAQs

Do we really have to screen all children each year?

Yes, this is a fundamental principle of this approach. Under identification of need is a well documented issue which leads to much larger, potentially whole of life consequences for children. The universal screening approach takes a significant step towards addressing this problem.

Can we attend the WellComm training with the speech and language therapists before deciding whether we want to proceed?

Yes, you’d be more than welcome to. We know that some people would like more information about the WellComm Toolkit to get a sense of what it feels like before proceeding and these training sessions should help with this. You could also access the online recorded training at a time convenient to you. You can find this at WellComm Early Years Training (ispring.eu)

Will this help my setting, my team and my children get more support in the future?

Quite possibly. Along with colleagues in the NHS, we are keen to work in increasingly more targeted ways. Using the WellComm Toolkit to help ‘the system’ understand where needs are across the city will help us to do this. Those that engage with this will be well placed to clearly articulate the needs that their community have.

This feels like a big piece of work, are there any plans to recognise our commitment to this?

Yes, the Early Talk for York delivery group are working on some ideas around a York system of celebration – that will be a public recognition of those settings that are clearly prioritising speech, language and communication in the best interests of their children. Further details will come in due course but it’s likely that engaging in this programme of work will form part of it.

What if I identify lots of need amongst my cohort? Is there any additional follow on support?

Yes, there’s some different options for further support if the ‘Big Book of Ideas’ doesn’t respond to needs appropriately. All settings have access the Communication Toolbox from the Specialist Early Years Teaching Team (SEYTT) – these were distributed in the last year and would be a good first place to look for additional support. The SEYTT also run regular drop in clinics for you to get further advice and support as needed. There is also a speech and language hub being developed in the city. This group of early years practitioners with advanced qualifications in speech, language and communication will be an ongoing source of support and signposting to other high quality resources and training offers.