Celebrating the winners of the Shine a Light Awards

On the 3rd April, Pearson Assessment in partnership with The Communication Trust announced the results of the Shine a Light Awards 2013/14.

These awards, now in their third year aim to celebrate innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

Michael Bleakhouse, Reading Borough Council with Anne Diamond and judges Kamini Gadhok and Peter Sutcliffe

We were delighted to host the awards at our headquarters’ in London with our lovely host Anne Diamond, Broadcaster and Health Campaigner to guide us through the categories, and congratulate our finalists. We had over 10 different awards to present this year and in true ‘Oscars’ style we had kept all the finalists in the dark until the moment the golden envelop was opened.

Winners of the awards include inspirational young man, Shane Dangar (aged 20) who received the Communication Champion Award for his selfless volunteering raising awareness of communication difficulties with youth services, Housing Associations, Job Centres and other groups. Despite his difficulties with language and social interaction as a result of his Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, Shane has inspired people to understand what it is like to struggle to communicate using humour and honesty.

Shane Dangar with Anne Diamond and judges Virginia Beardshaw and Amy Harker

The Life & Deaf Association and Artburst Ltd were the joint recipients of the SLCN Innovation Award for their creative and engaging work engaging children and young people. The Life & Deaf Association were awarded the prize for their campaign driving a VW-camper van across the UK wrapped in poetry to spread a positive deaf awareness message to schools across 15 cities. Artburst’s educational workshops and Speak Out programme were given the prize for their work improving the oracy and literacy skills of young people in Hackney.

Artburst Ltd with Anne Diamond and judges Janet Cooper and Norbert Lieckfeldt

The London Borough of Hackney scooped up at the awards across a number of categories including Wentworth Nursery School who took home the Early Years Setting of the Year Award for their excellent support of children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and their families.

Whilst Peacehaven Community School in East Sussex received the Secondary School of the Year Award for the second year running in recognition of the excellent opportunities offered to pupils with SLCN and the support teachers and learning assistants are given to help those with communication difficulties.

Chris Hall, Managing Director of Pearson Assessment, says: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the winners and highly commended finalists of the 2013/2014 Shine a Light Awards. This year, we have seen some truly inspiring examples of work being carried out to support children and young people with SLCN.

“When we launched the awards in 2011 we aimed to help raise awareness of SLCN. With the awards now in their third year, we are excited to have helped over 90 teams shout about their work and go on to inspire others. With returning finalists and new applicants, Pearson Assessment is proud to have once again partnered The Communication Trust for this fantastic event.”

Anne Fox, Director of The Communication Trust, says: “The Shine a Light Awards are important for the speech and language sector as they reflect a range of best practice and innovative work taking place across the country. At a time where health and SEN services are going through significant reforms, Shine a Light focuses attention on what can be achieved through expertise, sheer determination and bravery.

“Congratulations to the winners and highly commended finalists whose work will help inspire and motivate people. They have shown what can be achieved when children and young people with communication difficulties are offered the support they deserve. Thank you to Pearson Assessment for their continued support of Shine a Light and for helping the Trust to reach more children and young people and the professionals who work with them.”

Two new categories were added to this year’s awards to help a wider group of organisations and groups to share their innovative work and best practice. Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate (ESCAL) won the new Working Together Award for their work establishing a consistent, effective and sustainable speech, language and communication strategy across 15 primary schools where over 43 languages are spoken.

ESCAL team with Anne and judges Janet Cooper and Norbert Lieckfeldt

The new Children’s Workforce Award was awarded to the Time to Talk campaign led by Warwickshire County Council and NHS Speech and Language Therapy Service in recognition of their work providing a network of trained Speech and Language Champions across 39 children’s centres and 109 early years settings.

Warwickshire County Council and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust Speech and Language Therapy

Anne Diamond said: “I’m a Mum of 4 boys and have been in journalism all my life so I naturally congratulate The Shine a Light Awards for celebrating the best practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development. It has been an honour to host the Awards this year, as there have been some exciting new categories to widen the scope of the awards and recognise other teams who are carrying out exceptional work.

“I was surprised to learn that over one million children in the UK have some form of SLCN that can affect their ability to learn and make friends. Congratulations to all the winners and highly commended finalists and may we use their successes to help even more children to communicate and reach their potential.”

In addition to these awards, Pearson Assessment presented two special awards at the ceremony to Clarice Barber from Denbigh who won the Pearson Award for Inspiring Others for her work at the Afasic Youth Project mentoring and supporting younger children with SLCN. Wrexham & Flintshire Youth Justice Services received the Pearson Award for Continued Best Practice in Youth Justice.

We were delighted to congratulate all of this year’s winners, and hope everyone had a lovely time celebrating their fantastic achievements.

You can find out about all the winners at www.shinealightawards.co.uk

Now on to the planning for Shine a Light 2015….