Key stage 3

11-14 years

Facts and figures


of school were missed for most children as a result of COVID-19.


of all children have Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).


of 7-14year olds with behaviour problems have a language difficulty.


of children at risk of exclusion from school have SLCN (speech, language and communication needs).


Between the ages of 11-14 your child’s speech, language and communication development becomes more gradual and increasingly sophisticated. You may notice your child begins using conjunctions such as ‘however’ and ‘meanwhile’ to form longer sentences, starts to express complex thoughts and ideas, and changes topic mid-conversation.

It’s around this age that your child might also begin to experiment with sarcasm as a form of humour and use slang terms when talking to friends. By age 14, most children are able to grasp idiomatic expressions such as ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’, hold conversations with adults, and engage with language in a more playful way.

bi borough training resources


As your child begins to experiment with more complex ideas it’s important to give them freedom to express themselves in conversation. Have patience if they seem to take longer getting to the point, and be supportive if they struggle to stay on topic. Encourage them to talk without feeling pressured by using simple conversation openers such as asking about their day, and ensure you give them the space to speak freely without interrupting or asking too many questions.

Help & support

If you’re concerned about your child’s speech, language and communication development, or simply seeking some support, there are a number of helpful organisations you can contact. Ones we recommend include:The Communication Trust (a database of commonly used intervention programmes and their evidence), ICAN (a communication charity providing information and support) and AFASIC (a parent-led initiative offering objective advice).

General training


Discover our range of free online speech, language and communication resources offering tips and resources you can easily apply with your child at home.

Child outdoors playing


Advance your speech, language and communication knowledge, with a professional course or qualification.