Children with speech and language needs face postcode lottery

Despite a government pledge to tackle the “word gap” between rich and poor children, the amount being spent to support a child with speech and language difficulties varies from as little as £31 to as much as £291 a year depending on where they live.

Closing the vocabulary gap and supporting speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) is crucial to improving children’s academic outcomes and life chances.

However, a report from the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has revealed a postcode lottery in terms of the amount being spent on speech and language therapy (SLT) services.

This means huge variation in the support that children receive and how long they must wait to access services.

In 2018/19, councils and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) spent an estimated £166 million on SLT services – £10.12 per child.

However, this varies from at least £16.35 per child in the top 25 per cent of areas to 58p or less per child in the bottom 25 per cent.

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