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Hardwick Specialist Speech and Language Communication Centre has 15 full-time places for children in West Suffolk, aged between 5 and 7 years (Key Stage 1) who have been diagnosed as having a specific speech and language disorder. Children admitted to the centre will have had a variety of assessments including those from a speech and language therapist and an educational psychologist. They will have or be in the process of being assessed with a view to having an Education Health Care Plan.

A placement meeting will be held to decide whether a child will be offered a place. The child’s parents will then visit the centre and decide whether to accept the place. The placement will be reviewed each year at an Annual Review meeting with parents.

Speech and Language Difficulties

Communication involves a very complicated mixture of skills. Your child may experience difficulty with some of the following:-

  • Saying and distinguishing between speech sounds
  • Understanding instructions, questions, vocabulary, sequences of events and concepts
  • Confusing word order and tense
  • Learning vocabulary and finding words
  • Focussing attention
  • Listening skills

All these difficulties require specialist teaching and speech and language therapy to ensure that your child makes the best progress in all areas of the school curriculum. All staff work closely together with parents to plan appropriate programmes of work.

The Classroom

The teaching in the Communication Centre follows the National Curriculum (2014) but gives an extra focus to developing communication skills, vocabulary, thinking skills, perceptual skills, fine and gross motor skills. The children spend their day in the Communication Centre in a class of up to ten children working in small groups or individually. The class has a full-time teacher and a two classroom teaching assistants.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy is an integral part of life in the Communication Centre. Each child receives intensive individual and / or group speech and language therapy from a specialist speech and language therapist and/or her assistant under her direction.


The children are very much part of Hardwick Primary School and they follow the main school topics. Each child integrates daily for PE, assemblies, playtime and lunchtime. Additional integration into mainstream lessons is individually arranged for each child. As the child progresses through the school, extra integration may be arranged in preparation for their transfer to their local mainstream school.

Home / School Liaison

As with all children the link between home and school is very important. We are able to offer the following support to children and their families:-

  •  Each child has a home/school book for parents and the Centre team to write in daily messages and information. There is also a direct phone line for more urgent matters.
  • Termly meetings are arranged to discuss each child’s targets and talk about their progress.
  • Annual review meetings take place each year. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss your child’s progress and ensure that the special educational provision made continues to be appropriate.
  • Open afternoons, Coffee Mornings and Time to Share are held each term and parents are welcome to help in the class on a regular basis subject to appropriate checks.

Parents/carers are frequently invited to school on other occasions e.g. to watch a school performance, to assist on a school outing, to participate in PTA (FOHPS) functions, Sports Days, concerts, etc.

Parents/carers of pupils in the Centre are very welcome to visit the Centre at other times. Please telephone first to arrange a convenient time.

Home / School Transport

If parents/carers are unable to bring their children to the Centre each day due to distance, the Local Education Authority will provide a taxi for the child. The taxi drivers and chaperone bring the children to school each morning and collect them each afternoon.


AFASIC – The Association for all Speech Impaired Children is a charity which offers information and support to the families and carers of children and young people with speech and language difficulties. There are groups throughout the country which organise outings and local fundraising events.

Central Office
AFASIC 1st floor
69 – 85 Old Street

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