Research and analysis

Better communication research programme: improving provision for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs

This research report presents the findings from the Better communication research programme. This report presents 6 major recommendations, each of which is discussed with reference to the research evidence presented in the thematic and technical reports.


The better communication research programme (BCRP) was commissioned as part of the better communication action plan, the government’s response to the Bercow review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). This had recommended a programme of research ‘to enhance the evidence base and inform delivery of better outcomes for children and young people’.

The BCRP was designed as a programme of inter-related projects addressing a broad range of issues identified in the Bercow Review. It was to develop organically. The first year’s programme of five projects was agreed between the research team and the Department, then engaged with a range of partners to review emerging results and, thereby, shape the next phases of the research programme.

The BCRP comprised 10 major research projects. The research programme developed over time, starting with five projects which were initiated in 2009. Their results were considered by a steering group comprising leaders in the SLCN field, drawn from local authorities, speech and language therapy services, the voluntary sector, researchers, Ofsted, the Government’s Communication Champion, and the DfE.


  • Introduction
  • Major recommendations
  • Conclusions
  • Appendix 1 - BCRP reports
  • Appendix 2 - Steering group and international reviewers