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Training for parents, early years and school staff


We regularly run training sessions on all aspects of the Children and Young People’s service.

We aim these sessions at parents, as well as staff in schools and early settings. Currently, we run online sessions using Microsoft Teams.

Upcoming training sessions


Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It consists of 2 levels of training:

Makaton Level 1

It provides a practical introduction to the Makaton language programme.

It’s for parents, family members, carers and workers who need to use Makaton at home or work. Sessions include:

  • hints and tips for effective signing/symbol use
  • how to start using Makaton in everyday situations at home or work
  • using and applying Makaton to develop the communication skills of others
  • signs and symbols from stages 1 and 2 of the core vocabulary plus some of the additional stage.

There are 2 modules. You must attend both modules.

Module 1:
Tuesday 20 September 2022, 9.30am – 1.30pm

Module 2:
Thursday 29 September 2022, 9.30am – 1.30pm

£35 for parents, £77 for professionals (includes manuals and technical support if required)

Makaton Level 2

Level 2 builds on the knowledge you gained at level 1. You’ll also learn signs and symbols from stages 3 and 4 of the core vocabulary plus the rest of the additional stage.

You must attend the level 1 training before you can join level 2.

You must also attend both modules.

Module 3:
Tuesday 11 October 2022, 9.30am – 1.30pm

Module 4:
Thursday 20 October 2022, 9.30am – 13.30pm

As per level 1 (see above). Or,

book levels 1 and 2 together and get a discount (£60 for parents, £135 for professionals)

Makaton Level 3

No dates available.

Makaton Level 4

You’ll build on the knowledge you gained from levels 1 to 3. You’ll also refresh your knowledge of the signs and symbols from levels 1, 2 and 3 and learn the signs
and symbols for stages 7 and 8 of the core vocabulary.

Dates: No dates currently available.

Costs: As per level 2 (see above) with the discount option available if you book levels 3 and 4 together.

What you’ll need for Makaton training courses

A computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone with a working camera and microphone and a stable internet connection.

How to book

Call: 01296 838000
or email

This course will enable the set-up and delivery of a group intervention to support early language development in children aged 2 and a half onwards who have delayed speaking and understanding.

The activities focus on:

  • understanding of language (following 1 or 2 key word instructions)
  • using language (from single words to combining two words together).

The training is delivered over MS Teams in 4 x 1 hour weekly sessions across a half-term. One staff member will need to:

  • attend all 4 sessions
  • practice delivering the group in the setting between sessions
  • lead on delivering the groups within the setting going forward.

The training will include:

  • how to set up and run early language groups within your setting
  • step-by-step look at session plans, including the activities and resources
  • the opportunity to practice running the group and share feedback with the trainer and staff from other settings
  • how to use a visual timetable within the group structure
  • some basic Makaton signs along with the vocabulary targeted within each session.

Feedback from a setting last year said

“It was brilliant to attend a course where we were given so much practical advice and ideas. This has enabled us to implement language sessions immediately within our Nursery, providing necessary and instant language support for the children who need it most. We just need to keep practising the makaton signs now! Thank you very much for making us feel at ease and providing such fab training!”


To sign up to this training email with the subject title ‘Early Language Group Training.’

Upcoming training

Developmental Language Disorder: The most common childhood condition you have never heard of. Dates for this training are coming soon.


We deliver these sessions online through MS Teams and help staff to support children with speech, language and communication needs.

Find out more including how to request a session within your setting.

Previously known as Module 1. Various dates available. Please click on the links below at the time of the webinar.

We also offer this as bespoke training for Secondary Schools to enable you to train a high number of your staff e.g. as a twilight, inset, or lunchtime sessions. Please contact us to set this up

Attendees need to have the settings pack available as this forms your handouts pack

School age webinars for reception year and upwards

These webinars are primarily for school staff, however we openly invite parents to come along as well and share in the learning.

Each webinar will explore the ‘why’ behind what we do and give you something practical to take away in the form of target setting. All webinars will have an informal follow up session in the second half of the term to support putting into practice what has been learnt and to further embed approaches. This date will be given to you at the webinar. It will be on the same day and time of the week.

Follow the MS team link below for your chosen date to join the live webinar.

This webinar covers what we mean by vocabulary, how children learn words and will give a systematic way to teaching vocabulary.

Date Time Link
Thursday 12 January 2023 9.30-11.00 Click here to join the meeting
Monday 24 April 2023 1.00-2.30 Click here to join the meeting

This webinar looks at the impact of attention and auditory memory on language development, how attention and auditory memory develops over time and strategies to support areas of difficulty through education and beyond.

Date Time Link
Wed 18 Jan 2023 9.30-11.00 Click here to join the meeting
Thurs 4 May 2023 3.30-5.00 Click here to join the meeting

This webinar looks at what do we mean by ‘narrative’, a child’s narrative learning journey and supporting narrative development across the curriculum.

Dates will be published as soon as these webinars have been scheduled.

This first part of three webinars can be attended as a series or individually. This webinar will focus on the foundations to understanding language. You will come away being able to carry out activities with 1 -4 information carrying words,  use basic activities with children to work out their basic level of understanding, have simple strategies to help children move between levels and feel confident to support understanding of language needs in a classroom setting.

Date Time Link
Wednesday 25 January 2023 9:30-11:00 Click here to join the meeting
Wednesday 10 May 2023 3:30-5:00 Click here to join the meeting

This webinar builds on receptive language part 1 and can be attended as a series or individually. This webinar looks at different levels of questions using the Blanks Levels of Questioning, what Blanks Level do I work at and how to integrate Blanks levels of questions into the curriculum.

Date Time Link
Wednesday 1 February 2023 3.30 – 5.00 Click here to join the meeting
Thursday 18 May 2023 1.30 – 3.00 Click here to join the meeting

This webinar builds on receptive language part 1 and 2. It can be attended as a series or individually. This webinar will look at what is meant by pragmatic language, to understand why someone with language or social communication difficulties might find this area of understanding difficult, to develop understanding of how to support someone who finds understanding of pragmatic language difficult and to feel confident supporting understanding of pragmatic language needs in a classroom setting.

Date Time Link
Tuesday 7 February 2023 9:30 -11.00 Click here to join the meeting
Monday 22 May 2023 1:30 -3.00 Click here to join the meeting

This webinar will give an appreciation of how the social communication skills of an autistic individual may be different, to have an understanding of why social communications skills, specifically conversations skills, are important and to feel confident supporting these needs in a classroom setting.

Date Time Link
Monday 16 January 2023 11.00-12.30 Click here to join the meeting
Thursday 4 May 2023 1.30-3.00 Click here to join the meeting

Early years webinars

Early years webinars will be delivered live by a speech and language therapist and will be on various mornings between 10.00-11.30. Please register your interest by emailing

This webinar is for Parents and early years practitioners who want to learn more about the best ways to support early language skills in young children. The child/children you support will be communicating using a combination of sounds and gestures.

We will talk in detail about the top 10 tips to help you support children’s early language development. Videos are included to show practical examples of the tips we discuss.

This webinar is for parents and early years practitioners.

It will help you understand what joint attention is, why it is important to have joint attention for the development of communication and how we can develop this skill with children through play.