Act early to identify and support children with speech and language difficulties with WellComm Digital


12 June 2024 - Acting early to identify and support children with speech, language and communication difficulties is fundamental to improving outcomes. To make this easier for practitioners working with early years and primary children, GL Assessment has launched a new digital version of WellComm, its highly regarded speech and language screening and intervention toolkit for children aged six months to 11 years.

According to charity Speech and Language UK, children with speech and language needs are six times more likely to be behind in English and eleven times more likely to be behind in maths at age 11. Using WellComm Digital, early years staff, primary school teachers, teaching assistants and health visitors can quickly identify children with communication gaps and provide support immediately, without waiting for specialist speech and language expertise. 

Originally developed by speech and language therapists at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, the paper-based version of WellComm is widely used in a range of settings across the UK and Ireland, and it is also used as an early intervention tool to identify and support children with speech, language and communication difficulties across local authorities.

One such example is Rochdale Borough Council, which uses WellComm as part of a package of measures designed to support children with SLCN across its early years settings and primary schools. Erica Field, the Council’s Teaching and Learning Advisor for Key Stages 2 to 4, said: “We had the pleasure of trialling WellComm Digital and were impressed by its functionality and ease of use. The platform provides instant results and will enable us to create bespoke reports. Most importantly, it allowed us to seamlessly share information with colleagues and parents enabling us to support children at times of transition.”

Assessing a child with WellComm Digital takes 15 minutes and screening outcomes are displayed online with a simple traffic light system where green indicates ‘no intervention needed’, amber is ‘provide extra support’ and red suggests staff should ‘consider referral to a speech and language therapist’. This enables practitioners to quickly see what action to take next.

The moment screening is complete, assessors are automatically signposted to specific activities from a bank of 150 online interventions which they can start to put in place to support children, even while waiting for specialist support. The toolkit also includes strategies that can be embedded into practice across the setting to encourage communication development in all children.

As Tamar Cohen, Deputy Headteacher and SENCo at Bloomsbury Nursery School in Birmingham, explains: “Getting an accurate baseline of every child’s speech and language development when they join the nursery is so important. It means we can identify any specific needs right from the start. WellComm Digital makes this so easy - it’s an absolute pleasure to use. The whole assessment can be completed on a tablet, so the children are excited and engaged throughout. We get a clear understanding of each child’s needs and can see straight away what we can do to help.” 

Sophie Dawes, Education Specialist - SLCN and Baselining, at GL Assessment, said: “Children often have subtle speech and language difficulties they learn to disguise over time. The longer issues remain hidden, the greater the obstacles to a child’s progress and achievement. WellComm Digital gives early years teams, teachers and childminders the ability to spot communication gaps more easily and act immediately to help close them, giving children the best possible chance of reaching their full potential.” 

Crispin Chatterton, Director of Education at GL Assessment, said: “Technology has an increasingly important role to play in helping practitioners to identify the barriers that hold children back and reduce the impact of speech and language difficulties from the earliest possible point. Giving teams working with children innovative tools to flag and address barriers to the development of communication skills saves time that can be focused on improving their life chances.”

WellComm Digital is suitable for use with children aged six months to 11 years. Activities can be shared digitally with parents, helping them to strengthen their child’s speech and language development from home. An online WellComm hub also enables child and family support teams across schools and local authorities to share information and work together to spot trends, address issues and improve outcomes for the children in their care.

For more information about WellComm Digital, visit


About GL Assessment

GL Assessment, part of Renaissance, is a leading provider of formative assessments to schools and school groups in the UK and in over 100 countries worldwide. It provides assessments that help to reveal students’ potential, track their progress, and identify any barriers to learning they might have.

For further information, please contact [email protected]