Speech Bubbles platform helps inspire children’s communication confidence

Picture: Speech Bubbles CIO

Eileen Leahy speaks to Trinity Theatre’s Education Producer, Katie Sommers, about its Speech Bubbles programme, both a local and county-wide initiative, which helps young schoolchildren develop their speech and language skills…


This academic year, Trinity Theatre has taken its Speech Bubbles programme (originated by London Bubble) across the county, working with 69 schools and 1,172 children each week. The initiative has been supported by Kent County Council’s Reconnect and Early Help funding.

The Speech Bubbles programme, which supports children in school Years 1 and 2 with speech, language and communication needs, has been running in Kent for six years, and in London since 2009.

“It uses all elements of drama to develop confidence and communication,” explains Katie Sommers, who is Trinity Theatre’s Education Producer.

“Speech Bubbles sessions celebrate the children’s own stories, using them as a focus and the main impetus for activities each week. It runs in school, during school time, across the school year with a trained Speech Bubbles practitioner, provided by Trinity, and a teaching assistant from the school.”

Katie goes on to say the Speech Bubbles programme ties in with the recent national conversation around oracy and communication skills.

“According to a BBC report, lockdowns in particular had an impact on young people’s language skills, with 76 per cent of respondents to a 2021 survey saying students starting school in 2020 needed more support with communication than those in previous years.”

Katie adds that research done by the Department for Children Schools and Families found that if speech, language and communication needs are not addressed in the early years, they become “increasingly difficult to address and are strongly linked in later life with mental illness, unemployment, relationship breakdown, and offending”.

“Speech Bubbles is designed to not only empower and boost the children, but also the participating school staff, and this became more evident in its success this year, working with so many,” continues Katie.

“Ninety-seven per cent of teaching assistants said they felt they had increased knowledge, skills and confidence when supporting children who have been referred against the Speech Bubbles criteria.”

Katie confirms that feedback from the programme has been great, with one school staff member saying: “I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed being involved with this programme, it has benefited our children so much, and even my own confidence with getting involved with children has increased as well, so thank you!

“After a difficult few years for children and schools, the Speech Bubbles intervention is a fantastic platform to inspire confidence, develop communication and imagination,” adds Katie.

“This extends to the school staff participating in the project, as the project aims to empower them within the school. The leaders of the programme are constantly researching and developing the structure and content based on feedback from schools and partners.

“Trinity Creative Engagement is thrilled to have been able to facilitate Speech Bubbles in so many schools across the county this year and hopes to continue for years to come.”

 If you think Speech Bubbles might be right for your school, please contact Katie Sommers by emailing bubbles@trinitytheatre.net

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter