Saying It As It Is


Services for Young People

Saying It As It Is


Saying It As It Is a program of language and communication development activities that aims to improve the speaking and listening skills of secondary aged children who are at risk of underachievement and subsequent marginalisation.


"Listening carefully and speaking clearly"


The last 50 years has seen a significant shift in employment patterns, with a move away from jobs with a high manual skill requirement to service industries which frequently require a more sophisticated level of communication skills. These new areas of occupation require higher levels of language, literacy and numeracy. Without help to develop skills in these areas, young people will have restricted employment opportunities, limiting them to routine or semi-routine work, or to unemployment. (I-Can; 2006, Cost to the Nation of Children’s Poor Communication, ).


Likewise, the link between language and literacy and emotional and behavioural problems is well documented in literature and cannot be over emphasised. The recent report published by the Children’s Commissioner (Nobody Made The Connection – October 2012, highlights this clearly – recognising that whilst amongst the general population of young people the prevalence rate for Communication Disorders is approximately 5 -7 %, amongst the population of young people who are placed in Youth Offending Institutions the prevalence rate is between 60-90%. This is a profound disparity regarding levels of need.


Saying It As It Is is therefore an initiative that is needed not only to enable young people to access education, employment or training, but also essential if we are to realistically tackle the underlying causes of youth offending.



Who will SAYING IT AS IT IS be working with?


Say It As It Is is being launched as a pilot project. By using available literature on underachievement, the Say It As It Is delivery team will partner with schools and/or other voluntary organisations working with young people aged 14-16 who are identified as underachieving or at risk of underachievement. We are particularly interested in working with young people who need some extra help with developing their language and communication skills but who normally would not meet the threshold for external /statutory services.

Saying It As It Is will then work with groups and individuals in schools who are not achieving their potential, especially where this may be due to subtle and/or often undetected underlying language and communication difficulties.


What are the Aims and Objectives of SAYING IT AS IT IS?


The initial pilot aims to explore literature indicating that young boys in the 14-16 year age group from the Turkish Speaking Community are significantly underachieving compared to their peers (See ref 1, 2 and 3 below). This could be for various reasons but language and communication difficulties are also likely to be contributory factors.

Say It As It Is will work with experienced mentors from the Turkish speaking community to engage with young people (identified by their schools as meeting our criteria), in a 10 session program that aims to address the fundamentals of oral and written communication. This will include:

  1. Understanding and paying attention to the rules of conversation - learning to listen without interrupting, learning to take turns in a conversation.
  2. Using different language for different situations. Understanding what may seem rude or inappropriate to other people.
  3. Vocabulary. Widening the language repertoire so that they might not use slang and feel able to respond to questions in a variety of ways.
  4. Asking for help or clarification without feeling undermined or risk feeling humiliated.
  5. Organising information which may be either verbal or non-verbal. With better organisation many young people are able to complete their homework on time and feel “on task”.
  6. Understanding and using sentences of increasing complexity, so they can feel confident to communicate complex ideas clearly.
  7. Verbal reasoning skills: learning to articulate their case without feeling frustrated and subsequently resorting to aggression.
  8. Understanding idioms, jokes, sarcasm and slang. Many of these more subtle forms of communication can easily be misinterpreted, leaving people feeling confused and frustrated.


Saying It As It Is uses a variety of mediums to achieve these aims including the use of videos, role-play games and discussions that have been carefully designed by our team of specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and Educational psychologists in order to address specific and targeted skills.



Moving forwards


From the successful implementation of this pilot project, we aim to explore linking Saying It As It Is with the aims and objectives of the Functional Skills Speaking and Listening (GCSE - English) curriculum at entry level; level 1 and level 2, so that we can then apply for accreditation of this project – allowing for schools to use this way of working as part of their KS4 curriculum.



Ref 1 – Young people’s educational attainment in London’s Turkish, Turkish Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot Communities. A report for the Mayor of London’s Office. April 2008.

Ref 2 – Drivers and Challenges in Raising the Achievement of Pupils from Bangladeshi, Somali and Turkish backgrounds. DCSF – March Backgrounds

Ref 3 - Young Turks and Kurds- A set of ‘invisible’ disadvantaged groups. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005

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