Our success in winning the award included taking a 3 wave strategy approach to the development of speech, language and communication.

ESCAL Communication Friendly School Audit

Our Communication Friendly School Audit has been nationally adopted. It is an important tool for senior leadership teams in schools to use in reviewing and evaluating current practice in terms of their 3 wave approach.

ESCAL Communication Schools Quality Mark

Schools can apply for our Quality Mark, which will include a school audit visit. Before applying for the Quality Mark visit, the expectation would be that 80% of each section of the Communication Friendly School Audit would be rated as good by the school. Gaining this will accredit them as a Communication Friendly School.

Please see the ESCAL Communication Friendly Schools Audit document to see how and what we score on.

When undertaking a Communication Friendly School Audit visit, we will be looking at some of the following:

  • what to include in a school visit to show case practice
  • everyday classroom practice that supports talk for learning
  • other strategies, for example Circle Time, Seal, P4C
  • parent voice - how is this promoted?
  • children’s voice - how is this promoted?
  • language intervention groups
  • environment, for example visual supports, role play areas, reading and writing dens, displays promoting talk or thinking

Visit timetable

  • approximately 30 minutes - discussion with Head Teacher or Senior Leadership Teacher and look at the audit
  • approximately 2 hours - observation of practice, and the learning walk
  • approximately 15 to 20 minutes - ESCAL team discussion
  • approximately 30 minutes - discussion with Head Teacher and agree next steps


There is a charge of £350 for accreditation for the quality mark for all Sheffield maintained schools. If you are an Academy or schools outside the authority, please enquire for costs.