- Why Us? -

Words First Ltd provides schools with an integrated approach to literacy and language that meets the needs of wide range of children who require special educational provision. Our team are flexible around the needs of the school and students and can work across Universal, Targeted and Specialists levels. Please read below to find out why 56 schools across the UK have chosen Words First as a cost-effective and evidence-based service to support their SEN students.

‘We have been working with Words First for over two years at Southborough, and have recently increased our contract with them to two days a week.

 

Words First is, without doubt, the best SEND intervention we have in the school.  The significant impact that our Words First Speech and Language Therapist is having on the children and on the staff is something we never anticipated, and now we simply would not be able to meet the needs of our SEND pupils without it.

 

The challenge for us has always been how to support pupils to generalise what they have learnt in interventions back into the classroom.  We were disappointed with the traditional Speech and Language model for this reason, but also because it was not addressing the obvious literacy difficulties which many of our SLCN pupils were having. With Mary working alongside teachers and TA’s we have seen the quality of their practice and their understanding of the children’s needs increase and it continues to develop. We feel we are going from strength to strength and that there is more to come.

We believe this is the future for Speech and Language Therapy in schools, and would not hesitate to recommend Amanda and her team to anyone considering getting on board.’

 

“We are fast approaching the end of our third year of working with Words First Ltd. The impact of Words First SaLT is irrefutable: termly progress reports substantiate the anecdotal evidence that students receiving intervention make rapid and sustained progress. In these austere times, it was a simple decision for us to maintain the current level of Words First provision and find cuts elsewhere. The impact and benefit of Words First is just too great, and is justifiably the main weapon in our intervention arsenal for students with SEN. I have no reservations in recommending Words First as a provider and the Words First approach to other schools. When something is this good, why shouldn’t all students with SLCN benefit from it?” Jake Gladman, SENCO, Lilian Baylis Technology School, Vauxhall, London

Hi Amanda,

Just to let you know our school has officially today been graded as ‘outstanding’ under the new OFSTED framework! Buying into a speech and language therapy service is mentioned under pupil premium funding in the report, and Words First reports were used to support evidence during the inspection when evidencing progress in small steps for identified children with language difficulties. Many thanks to you and the Words First team” Helen Rice, SENCO, Quarry Hill Academy

 

“Hi Amanda

 

Not sure if you heard but I didn’t want to leave without saying that I would highly recommend your services and company again and will do so in my next setting.” Angela Cronin, SENCO, Lambeth

 

“Hi Amanda

I just wanted to feed this back to you… Kat has become a welcome member of the Rangefield family. I hear nothing but praise and positive comments about her practice. Kat is so timely with her comprehensive reports and she goes above and beyond to meet with teachers and parents to get the bigger picture. She doesn’t stop until she has found out all she can in order to give meaningful recommendations and strategies.

Could she maybe have a mention in one of your newsletters? Or would you be able to let her know how much we think of her at school?” Annisha, SENCO Rangefield Primary

 

Through our unique approach to integrating spoken and written language, Words First therapists are able to support children whose needs are in the spoken AND / OR written domains of language. This translates to a wide range of students, in some cases up to 40% of the school’s population. In many cases, staff are concerned about a child’s lack of progress or increasingly disruptive behavior but have little understanding of the reasons behind the student’s difficulties. In these cases, they have sent the student to the Words First therapist for an assessment, which reveals the unique ‘story’ of that child’s reading and language circuit. We can tell where the likely breakdown lies in that circuit and can provide immediate feedback and classroom strategies to the teacher. In this way, the impact of the school’s investment in Words First is felt.

We understand the demands and pressures of working in mainstream schools and know that staff require quick responses. The Words First battery is designed to give therapists immediate insight into a child’s difficulties so that following an assessment, you can receive feedback about what the therapist believes may be contributing to the child’s difficulties. You receive concise, accessible student information sheets that are useful and contain practical ideas to support the student in class.

We know that progress in the therapy room is not always demonstrated / transferred to the classroom or the playground. We understand that we cannot teach every vocabulary item or spelling that a student will need in his / her life but we can give them the tools to improve their skills independently. Therefore, all of our support is focused on the end result which is developing independent, self-aware students who have a range of strategies that can be easily transferred across the curriculum and into social situations. Our therapy sessions are research based and provide a safe place for students to receive constructive feedback and practice their taught strategies.

We also understand the frustration of being bound by red tape, onerous referral procedures and masses of paperwork, long waiting times and short intervention blocks. Speech and Language Therapists do not enter the profession to be constricted by these factors, we came to the profession for the sole purpose of helping children to reach their potential. At Words First, through 15 years of work in schools, our approach has been streamlined to ensure that therapists respond immediately to the needs of the school and students, completing non-urgent admin duties during school holidays and therefore spending most of their time in contact with students and staff or parents.

You can be assured that our speech and language therapists will work (within your vision for SEN) independently yet collaboratively and effectively at the student and whole school levels to raise attainment of children with diagnosed and undiagnosed literacy, language and communication needs. In our experience, it is not only the students who benefit from involvement with a Words First therapist, but the entire school who are able to access on-site expertise in spoken and written language on a weekly, long term basis. Our approach to whole school training has been tried and tested and we are able to suggest different methods that may best suit the needs of your particular school. Our recent tool, VIVID-Q prompt for teachers, has proven popular with teachers who report that it is user friendly yet professional and information. Please feel free to download your free copy here and send us any feedback.

At no extra cost to our schools, we provide schools with a contact Clinical Lead, on-site observations of therapy sessions, performance appraisals and personal development plans for each of our therapists. Our team are involved in the Words First journal club which runs every half term and in which the team discuss recent developments in the literature. We are actively involved in our own research which benefits the entire team.

 

Most reports are reviewed by the Director who also monitors the therapists’ spreadsheet so that progress and numbers can be measured. In order to ensure therapists are kept abreast of research and new approaches, we arrange tailor-made CPD sessions during holidays to minimize disruption to schools. In this way, schools are confident that their therapist is reflecting on his / her performance, receiving regular constructive feedback and support during supervision and progressing in terms of professional development.

We believe that consistency is key to student progress. Our therapists are placed in a school and are not removed for any (avoidable) reason. Circumstances vary, however and should your therapist resign, go on maternity leave or be signed off long term sick, we will ensure your students continue to receive the highest standards of provision.

And if you thought this service is too expensive, you will be pleasantly surprised. Our service is less expensive the NHS bib-back option and you will get much more flexibility with Words First. Words First is designed (on all levels) to be an accessible, easily implemented and user-friendly service that meets the needs of a wide range of children with additional needs. If you would like to enquire about the costs of our service, please contact Amanda Davis (Director). Amanda will get back to you within 24 hours of your email.