Below you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about the SLCF.
Select the most suitable topic for you to see the full list of FAQs.
The SLCF handbook may also be able to help answer any questions you may have.

If your query is still unanswered please contact slcf@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk.


How do I know which level I should start at?

There are no strict rules within the framework as to what level of competency a particular professional should be at however there is some guidance in the handbook about which levels may be suitable for some roles. Unless you have already done some more specialised professional development around speech, language and communication, we would encourage you to start at the Foundation or Universal level and move upwards from there

How long does it take to complete the self-evaluation?

Most people complete the self-evaluation within 30 minutes – 1 hour, but there is no time limit. You don’t have to complete it all in one go – you can answer just some of the competencies and come back later to complete the rest if you prefer. Once the full evaluation is complete, you will need to put some time aside to think about how to take your development forward, following the suggestions given.

The children I work with don’t have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) – is the SLCF relevant to me?

Yes. The Foundation level is suitable for anyone who comes into contact with children or young people but may not specifically work with them directly in their role. The Universal level is relevant for anyone who works with children and young people, whether they have SLCN or not. Speech, language and communication are crucial skills which underpin many other areas of development so it is really important that everyone has a good level of understanding of how best to support the development of these skills. In addition, it’s vital that anyone working with children or young people can spot the signs of SLCN so we can be sure that any needs are identified early to enable access to support as quickly as possible.

How can I find out quickly which training courses support my training needs?

There are two ways of finding out which training courses might suit your learning needs. You can complete the SLCF and follow the signposting to appropriate training. If you want a quicker route you can use the search function on the Training page. There are a number of filter options to help you narrow down your search.

If I complete a training course, will I definitely meet the specified competencies for the level I’m working at?

Not necessarily. The SLCF is all about what you do with your skills and knowledge – it describes your competence in your workplace. We hope that the short activities, resources and training courses signposted to from the SLCF databases will support you to develop the skills and knowledge you need but, as with any learning activity, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee your practice or confidence will change. It’s important to always consider how you can transfer what you’ve learnt in to your everyday practice.

I can’t afford training, are there other ways of developing my knowledge and skills?

Yes, each of the Universal competencies has an associated learning activity which is free to access. Each strand at each level also signposts you to information and resources to enable you to develop your knowledge and skills in that particular area. Where possible, the information we signpost you to is easily accessible and many of the resources are free of charge, so you can develop your skills and knowledge at no cost.

As a manager, this seems like quite a lot of work – how is it useful to me?

The SLCF is quite a detailed framework, but once it is completed, there are many benefits for managers of settings or services. For example it will enable you to:

  • Profile the skills of individuals, teams and even your whole workforce
  • Identify gaps in skills or knowledge of your workforce
  • Match the skills of practitioners to the needs of children and young people with SLCN
  • Prioritise training and CPD requirements of individuals and teams
  • Recognise the importance of skills and knowledge in this area through clear competencies at different levels
  • Link staff and settings to relevant professional development opportunities and activities
  • Provide evidence of progression in CPD around speech, language and communication to support performance management, appraisal, career progression
  • Contribute to recruitment, team development and reorganisation
  • Set criteria of levels of competency for roles, settings or services
  • Enable you to develop specialist roles in SLC within your teams or workforce

I want a group I am co-ordinating to self-evaluate and to have access the summarised results. How do I go about this?

The SLCF has a group function where you can have up to two group leads per group. Group leads are able to see an overview of the collective skills set of the group.

Pages 15-17 of the SLCF handbook have more information about the group function including how to set up a group.

I am a head teacher of a special school in which many of the children have SLCN. How can I plan for the training needs of my staff?

The SLCF will help you get a clear picture of the level of competence and training needs of all your staff. It may also help staff recognise skills they have already. This will enable you to develop a plan to address any learning needs of individuals and the staff group as a whole.

I’m a head teacher – should all my staff do this or just the teachers?

The SLCF is relevant for everyone who comes into contact with children and young people in their role. Within a school setting this could involve anyone from the kitchen staff to teaching assistants, teachers and management.
Evaluating the existing knowledge and skills about speech, language and communication across the whole school could help inform your school improvement planning and continuing professional development needs of your staff.

I’m a training provider – why should I map our courses onto the SLCF?

By mapping your training using the SLCF, practitioners could be signposted to your training – helping you target your training to a suitable audience. If you are looking to develop new training, the SLCF may also be a handy tool to consider specific areas you might want to include in any new packages you provide.

If you are a training provider and would like more information, please visit our Training Providers page.

How are training courses mapped onto the SLCF?

Courses must be mapped by the training provider who owns/delivers the training.
During the mapping process you will match elements of your training course and course materials with competencies on the SLCF framework at any given level.
Courses are then moderated by The Communication Trust before being added to the training database.
Once approved and uploaded, users with matching gaps in their learning are then signposted to your training through their completed self-evaluations.

If you would like to map your training using the SLCF more information and the guidance on the process for mapping courses can be found in these mapping guidelines, along with the documents you will need to submit.

If you have any specific queries please contact slcf@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk

I’m an organisation who provides resources to support the workforce – why should I map our resources onto the SLCF?

By mapping your resource(s) onto the SLCF, practitioners could be signposted to your tools – helping you to attract the right audience. If you are looking to develop new resources, the SLCF may also be a handy tool to consider specific areas you might want to include.

If you are a provider or organisation and would like more information, please visit our Providers and Organisations page.

How are resources mapped onto the SLCF?

Resources must be mapped by the provider or organisation who owns the resource(s). During the mapping process you will match elements of your resource(s) with competencies on the SLCF framework at any given level. The mapping is then moderated by The Communication Trust before being added to the resource database. Once approved, users with matching gaps in their learning are then signposted to your resources once they have completed their self-evaluation.

In some cases resources may not map on to any specific competencies but are still useful tools for practitioners to develop their knowledge and understanding of speech, language and communication (SLC). The SLCF website also signposts to other sources of more general information about SLC and in these instances your resource(s) may be added to this page.

If you would like to map your resource(s) using the SLCF more information and the guidance on the process for mapping resources can be found in these mapping guidelines, along with the documents you will need to submit.
If you have any specific queries please contact slcf@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk