Good communication is the gateway to learning, friendships, academic achievement and success at work

Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools - Primary

What are the Speech, Language and Communication Progression Tools?

We know some children can have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) that can impact on their ability to listen, understand and express themselves. However, it's not always easy to judge how well a child is progressing with these skills; children may have good skills in one area whilst struggling in others.

The Progression Tools aim to support teaching staff to identify children who may be struggling to develop their speech, language and communication skills. They can also be used to track progression of these skills over time or following interventions.

The Tools are based on theoretical information on typical language development and also the Universally Speaking booklets. They aim to provide a relatively quick way of determining where children are against where they should be for their age and provide more information about how these vital skills are progressing.

The Tools are not a diagnostic tool and do not in any way replace the detailed speech, language and communication assessment by a speech and language therapist that some children will need. However, they will give you information to help decide whether children would benefit from a targeted intervention or whether they need specialist assessment and support.

Please click here to view our 'How to Use the Progression Tools' video.

Please click here to download more frequently asked questions.

Please click here to download a 'Top Tips' sheet to help you use the Tool.

How were the Tools developed?

The Progression Tools were developed by specialists in speech, language and communication in collaboration with mainstream teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs and school leadership teams. They have been tested on a large number of mainstream schools, on a range of children.

The feedback we have received has been invaluable in shaping the final suite of Tools.

Who should use them?

The Tools are for non speech and language specialists who regularly work with children in a school setting, such as teachers and teaching assistants. We recommend careful reading of the instructions and familiarisation with the Tool before using it directly with children.

"Again, the year that's just gone, we did our own [assessment] using the Speech and Language assessment [progression] tool and again, we were able to use that to ability group our children, so when we were doing the communication groups, they were pitched at the right levels, and again we've seen an increase this year on the amount of children that were leaving with age-related communication results."
Benchill Primary School, Wythenshawe

When should I use them?

Some schools have used the Progression Tools with whole class groups to help them understand the level of speech, language and communication skills across year groups. Others have trialled them with specific groups of children who have either gone on to have a targeted intervention or have been referred on to speech and language therapy.

On each child's scoring form, there is space for you to repeat the tool at a later date (repeating the tool is optional and can be used to monitor progress or following an intervention). We would recommend waiting at least a term before repeating the tool with the same child. 

What do the Tools look like and how do I order?

There are 8 Progression Tools, which highlight children and young people's language skills at the following key ages of development: 34, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 in early years and primary school, and 11-12, 13-14 and 16-18 in secondary school. They are based on research with clear information about expected milestones. 

Each Tool contains a colour booklet with instructions on how to use it, questions to ask the children, guidance on how to observe their behaviour, and methods to track the results. It also contains black and white versions of the questions and observations sections and the scoring tables for you to photocopy as many times as you wish for the number of children you use the Tool with.

Please click here to order your copy at a price of £29.99 plus postage and packaging. If you order a set of the Primary Progression Tools you will get a 15% discount.

*The following Tools are currently available to order:

*Please note that the information you submit on this order form will be shared with a third party organisation (PDS) who are responsible for processing resource orders on behalf of I CAN/ The Communication Trust. The information you provide will be used solely for the purposes of processing this order.

If you would like to see an example of the Progression Tools please click here to access a sample of the Age 5-6 Tool.

For more information about the age 3 Tool, please click here.

For more information about the secondary Tools, please click here.

If you have any enquiries about the Progression Tools please contact us on