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Shine a Light Awards celebrates schools’ communication development work

Comedian Adam Hess hosted the 2018 Shine a Light Awards, a national awards scheme that celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

Adam struggled with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking when he was younger. At the awards, which took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London, 17 individuals and teams across 10 award categories were recognised, as well as children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). 

The Shine a Light Awards are sponsored and organised by Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, a coalition of over 50 organisations dedicated to supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

Adam said: “The dedication of teams and individuals to improve the communication skills of children and young people is humbling. As a child, I struggled greatly with dyslexia and an immense fear of public speaking, if it wasn’t for the support I received when I was younger I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. It has been a complete honour to host these awards and I would like to congratulate all the winners and commended finalists. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President, Schools, Pearson, said: “Our warmest congratulations to the winners, highly-commended, and commended finalists of the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. Through our innovative clinical assessments, Pearson is committed to supporting those working to help people overcome challenges in speech and language. 

“For six years we have run these awards as we believe it is so important to recognise and celebrate the incredible, but often unsung, work being done across the country to change the lives of children and young people by helping them to develop their communication skills.”

Octavia Holland, Director of The Communication Trust, said: “Congratulations to everyone who triumphed at the 2018 Shine a Light Awards. These awards highlight the very best practice that is taking place in settings across the country. The winners and highly-commended finalists have shown what can be achieved when expertise, enthusiasm and dedication are given to children and young people who struggle to communicate. We would like to say a huge thank you to Pearson for their long-standing support.”  Shine a Light awards Isaac Newton School 

The awards panel included 19 key representatives from across the education and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sectors, as well as previous Shine a Light Award winners. 

Representatives included Jonathan Douglas, Director at National Literacy Trust; Kamini Gadhok MBC, Chief Executive at RCSLT; Bob Reitemeier CBE, CEO of I CAN; Lesley Munro, Education and Speech and Language Therapy Manager at Pearson Clinical;  John Parrott, Chair of Communication Consortium at NAPLIC and Victoria Roe, Secretary and Deputy Chair, SMIRA.

The Shine a Light Awards have grown in popularity since their launch during the National Year of Communication in 2011 (known as the Hello campaign). To date, the awards have celebrated the work of over 140 teams and a wide range of individuals, including young people with severe and complex SLCN.

In the UK, over one million children and young people have some form of long-term and persistent speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) that can impact them early, severely and for life. The awards highlight the incredible contributions of teams, settings and individuals across England who support children and young people to achieve their full potential despite the challenges they face.

The Awards are designed to promote and celebrate good practice in speech, language and communication for individuals, groups and settings that work with children and young people, particularly those with SLCN.

The awards form part of the legacy of the National Year of Communication (Hello campaign) and have become a key event in the speech, language and communication and healthcare calendar.  Shine a Light awards Pendle Primary

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Pearson have sponsored the Shine a Light Awards since their launch in 2011, as part of the Hello campaign (National Year of Communication). The Communication Trust is a coalition of over 50 leading voluntary sector organisations, which raises awareness, influences policy, promotes best practice among the children’s workforce and commissions work from its members. The Trust’s mission is to ensure that every child and young person is supported to communicate to the very best of their ability. 

For further information about the Shine a Light winners and highly-commended finalists, visit www.shinealightawards.co.uk and follow the hashtag on Twitter #awards_SAL

The full list of winners and highly commended finalists is as follows:


Award: The Katie Rough Memorial Award

Winner: Libby Hill, Uttoxeter

Highly Commended: Rachel Peck, Cambridgeshire


Child/Young Person of the Year Award:

Winner: Jonathan Bryan, Wiltshire

Highly Commended: Siena Castellon, London


Communication Champion of the Year Award

Winner: Pip St John, Lancashire


Youth Justice of the Year Award

Winner: Manchester Youth Justice, Manchester


Early Years Setting of the Year Award

Winner: Children’s House Nursery School, London

Highly Commended: Juice Nursery Ltd, Altrincham


Primary School of the Year Award

Winner: Pendle Primary Academy, Lancashire

Highly Commended:  Longmoor Community Primary, Merseyside

Commended:  Bridgewater Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne


Secondary School/College of the Year Award

Winner: Isaac Newton Academy, London

Commended: London South East Colleges, London


SEN School/Group of the Year Award

Winner: Pontville School, Lancashire

Highly Commended: The William Henry Smith School, West Yorkshire


SLCN Innovation of the Year Award

Winner: Stoke Speaks Out


Pearson Outstanding Achievement Award

Winner: Stoke Speaks Out


The judges involved in the 2018 Shine a Light Awards were:

·   Bob Reitemeier, CEO of I CAN

·   Diz Minnitt, Speech and Language Lead, Association of YOT Managers (AYM)

·   Hilary Berry, Chair of Cheshire West and Chester Primary Heads’ Association

·   Janet Cooper, Early Language and Communication Strategy Lead at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Shine a Light Award winner

·   John Parrott, Chair of Communication Consortium at NAPLIC

·   Jonathan Douglas, Director of National Literacy Trust

·   Julie Steele, Speech and Language HLTA and Local Champion

·   Jonathan Middleditch, Young Person of the Year 2015

·   Kamina Gadhok, MBE, CEO of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT)

·   Lesley Munroe, Education & Speech and Language Therapy Manager at Pearson

·   Liz Tyler, Director of Learning Services, UK Schools at Pearson

·   Malcolm Reeve, Managing Director of Firmament Education Ltd

·   Octavia Holland, Director at The Communication Trust

·   Peter Sutcliffe, Editor of SEN Magazine

·   Shane Dangar, Communication Champion 2013/14

·   Theresa Redmond, Lead Professional Advisor, The Communication Trust

·   Vicky Roe, Deputy Chair of SMIRA

·   Wendy Lee, Director of Lingo Speech and Language Therapy and Consultancy 

·   Zoe Peden, Co-founder of Insane Logic

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