Soundswell were thrilled to show Steve Jamieson (RCSLT CEO) the difference good collaborative working makes to children with complex SLCN needs at St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School

Steve Jamieson is the new CEO of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, and he has made it very clear that he wants to learn about the range and depth of work that we do across all clinical groups and ages.

This week St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in Birmingham played host to Steve at the request of Soundswell’s Directors Jo and Diana.

We wanted to showcase the amazing collaboration between our service as delivered by our team member Kate Powell, and the school staff.

This work  is having a real and measurable impact on the speech, language and learning of pupils across the whole school- but especially in ‘The Hub’.

There are large numbers of pupils with complex speech, language and learning needs in mainstream settings all around the country now, and this is very evident in the West Midlands where we work.

For teaching staff and senior leaders it can feel overwhelming:  how do we meet the needs of these pupils and give them the best chance we can?

Many (if not all), mainstream schools are setting up additional provisions ( called variously : hubs/ resource bases/ rainbow rooms etc), usually with little or no additional funding.

In our experience success of these provisions is variable – not for the want of trying but because the odds are stacked against mainstream schools managing complex pupils from the start.

At St Cuthbert’s the challenges are many, it’s a small school with close to 30 % SEN, in an area with economic and social difficulties.

What makes it work at St Cuthbert’s is the commitment from the senior leadership team, ( Sarah Hobbs – Headteacher, and Tom Gallagher, Assistant Head and SENDCo).

Working in St Cuthbert’s has been productive and enjoyable for Kate ( and other Soundswell team members) for many years now, and she is truly ‘ one of the team’ there.

Staff colleagues are open, keen to learn, willing to try new ( evidence based) strategies – and to give them a  good try, allowing time for initiatives to bed down and for real, measurable progress to happen.

They are also not afraid to challenge, to ask Kate and by extension the rest of our team, to explain the clinical reasoning for implementing certain approaches, they ask for help and celebrate their successes.

We were so pleased to be able to show Steve the work that goes on here and he clearly enjoyed the day as much as we all did!


“I write to say an enormous thank you for your very warm welcome today at your school and for allowing me to witness the amazing work you all do with the children.

It was not only a privilege but an honour to see the impact that is made in the children’s lives having the service and care you offer” Steve Jamieson

Tom and Sarah also got a buzz from Steve’s visit and we are all looking forward to reading about the amazing work at St Cuthbert’s in a future issue of the RCSLT professional magazine The Bulletin .

I am so glad Steve got to the see the great collaborative work going on between Soundswell and our school. We value our relationship with Soundswell greatly and look forward to any future endeavours we may collaborate on”  Tom


We’d like to extend our thanks again to Sarah, Tom and to Steve for taking the time to allow us to showcase our work and we’re very much looking forward to working together with him more, and his return visit in November

We also took the opportunity to give Steve a copy of our new book Building an Independent Speech & Language Therapy Service, and it was encouraging to hear how keen he is to foster links between public and private sector services- a subject that is dear to our hearts !

April 12, 2024

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