Key stage 1

Facts and figures


of all children have a speech and language impairment; it’s the most prevalent childhood disability.


of children starting school have persistent SLCN.


of children start school with delayed communication in areas of social disadvantage.


children are at risk of falling behind with their speaking and understanding as a result of COVID-19.


By the age of around five or six children typically acquire the core foundations of language and recognise a full range of sounds (such as ‘th’). Now at school, children will start to demonstrate advanced behaviours imperative to their speech, language and communication development, such as the ability to listen, ask for help and follow multi-part instructions.

You may notice that children begin to use language to emotionally regulate and form longer sentences using words such as ‘so’ and ‘then’. At this stage it’s typical for children to flex their language skills to compare words with similar sounds (e.g. hi and high), ask questions and begin to add more complexity to their vocabulary.

Chalk wall


When interacting with KS1 children it can be helpful to physically come down to their level and address them by name. If giving multi-part instructions limit these to two or three at most and issue them in order. Using complex words (such as delicious) is fine so long as you quantify these with words that the child understands (for example tasty or yummy). Children at KS1 level also need to hear words several times to learn them so be sure to repeat new words regularly to help them stick.

Help & support

If you’re concerned about a 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).

Child Reading
General training


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

Child outdoors playing


Training those who work with children in a professional capacity is a key part of the speech and language therapy work we undertake within the Bi-borough Children’s Services. If your role requires regular contact with children find out how our training can help you to communicate more effectively with babies through to teenager.