Secondary Language Link
Secondary Language Link is a unique, comprehensive package for supporting students with SLCN and those new to English. The package combines a robust standardised assessment, with planned and fully resourced targeted small group interventions and a staff training toolkit. This powerful suite enables secondary schools to identify and support the language and communication needs of Key Stage 3 students aged 11-14 years.
The development of language skills does not stop at the end of primary school. Students continue to learn new vocabulary, understand more complex language and use their talking for a wider range of purposes into and beyond Key Stage 3.
The importance of good understanding and functional communication skills are well recognised as essential for literacy development, academic success and enabling students to engage with both the curriculum and their peers. However, difficulties with language can be hard to identify and are commonly disguised by challenging behaviour or poor attainment leading to language and communications needs being missed or misidentified.
The Secondary Language Link online standardised assessment is used universally to screen language comprehension in year 7 students and then to track progress throughout KS3. It is administered to groups of students and is audio supported, placing minimal demands on literacy skills.
The content reflects the daily demands faced by young people to understand language both in the classroom and in conversation with peers. The format is varied including video, interactive classroom, and picture selection formats, making it an engaging experience. The assessment covers:
- following classroom instructions
- understanding complex sentences
- concept vocabulary
- processing information
- social understanding
Following the assessment, student and class reports are generated automatically, allowing staff to quickly and easily identify where extra support is needed and to know what level of input is required. This data enables senior leaders to set targets and develop action plans to address barriers to learning across the school.
Secondary Language Link provides a range of interventions at both universal and targeted levels. Teachers use the differentiation strategies during whole class teaching to make lessons more accessible for students with SLCN and EAL learners.
Students identified for more targeted support complete a Communication Contract to be used across all classroom learning. The contract includes what the student has been working on during intervention, what they continue to find difficult, strategies that will help them and actions they themselves will take to support their own learning. Students are encouraged to share their communication contract with their subject teachers so that they can advocate for their own needs.
Secondary Language Link also includes a suite of targeted interventions to support language development and functional communication skills. There are 6 pre-planned and fully resourced immersive language groups for staff to deliver to small groups of students. The video-based format includes instruction from Speech and Language Therapists making delivery easy even for inexperienced staff members. The themed groups all target a range of language and communication skills. Students work together to solve problems using the skills targeted within the group. These innovative groups have been designed with student engagement in mind, with an exciting real-life adventure format that encourages students to work together to solve puzzles and problems. Progress is tracked by completion of pre and post group tests and tracked tasks within each session. Reports are automatically generated following the group.
Talk Fitness is an innovative group intervention aimed at improving functional and cross-curricular speaking and listening skills. The video-based platform provides a rich context for teaching, focusing on real-life situations that are authentic and meaningful to young people. Our Talk Fitness programme provides schools with explicit guidance notes and printable resources to minimise preparation time. Pre and post-intervention assessments provide comprehensive measures of progress. Units include: Active listening, Following instructions, Formal vs Informal talk, giving explanations, arguing a point and taking part in discussion.
Our SLCN Toolkit is an online staff training resource which examines key aspects of teaching that will support the learning and achievement of students with SLCN and those new to English.
Suitable for all classroom based staff, and especially relevant for subject teachers, it promotes inclusion across the curriculum and can be added to staff CPD programmes. The toolkit helps teachers understand the importance and impact of poor communication skills on learning and life chances. It showcases good practice across the curriculum to empower teachers in making effective adjustments to their teaching practice.
What our customers say
The Secondary Language Link assessment has been a great asset to our school. Not only does it identify the students who would benefit from intervention, it breaks down the area of language of need. It highlights students who may benefit from support socially within the school.
The Secondary Language Link package is invaluable for record keeping and providing evidence where necessary. It is useful for measuring student progress, and is easily accessible. The support from Secondary Language Link staff has always been prompt and professional.
Support Learning Coordinator, Northfleet Technology College