Primary Schools in Scotland Urged to Join Communication Triathlon

Primary schools throughout Scotland are being invited to join the 30 Scottish schools already signed up for the UK’s first national Communication Triathlon for schools.

The project, launched in April this year by Openreach, BT’s local network business, and language and communication experts at children’s charity I CAN, is a series of free fun events intended to boost speaking and listening skills. More than 500 schools across the UK and 30 in Scotland have already registered to take part – and more are wanted.

The programme encourages children to take part in three London 2012 Games -themed speaking and listening activities around Thinking, Talking and Teamwork. It is split across 4-7 and 7-11 year olds. Activities can be undertaken by a class, a year group or a whole school over the course of a week or even a day. It is part of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Thinking, talking and teamwork are essential skills for children and young people, and the Communication Triathlon goes to the heart of what we believe is important. Openreach’s engineers are already hard at work building the next generation of super-fast fibre networks which will enable children to use communication skills, via computers, mobile devices and over the phone, to make a success of their lives, but a solid foundation is crucial. We already have 30 Scottish schools signed up to the programme but it would be fantastic to see even more schools come on board and benefit from the activities and learning available.”

The programme incorporates a wide range of inspiring curriculum-linked communication activities that support children’s school work, such as Sports Bingo, Secret Striker, Memory Relay and even a Listening Assault Course.

Designed by a team of communication and education experts, including speech and language therapists and teachers, they help children become good communicators. The youngsters are awarded a certificate and even participate in a closing ceremony to celebrate achievement and recognize hard work.

Virginia Beardshaw, chief executive of I CAN, said: “Upwards of 50 per cent of children in some parts of the country are arriving at primary school without the speech and language skills they need to learn, achieve and make friends. The Communication Triathlon is a fantastic way to get children practicing their communication skills in a fun and exciting way so they do not get left behind.”

Liz Johnson, 100m Breaststroke gold medal winner at the 2008 Paralympic Games, who helped to launch the Communication Triathlon, said: “Having competed in various countries and had the opportunity to meet a range of people, I know how important these communication skills are – both in education and in everyday life. The Communications Triathlon enables children to learn in a fun environment and I’m sure it will be of great benefit to those participating for years to come.”

To get your Communication Triathlon pack go to www.communicationtriathlon.org.uk 

For further information      

Enquiries about this news release should be made to Mitch Reid or Anna Steven at the BT Scotland press office on 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to editors:

Openreach is the official Telecommunications Infrastructure Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Communication Triathlon provides children with lots of opportunities to practice communications skills linked to the Olympic and Paralympic Values.

The communications infrastructure provided by Openreach will be connecting 94 Games locations across the UK and will also help to keep the athletes and visitors in touch with friends and family in 205 countries.  Openreach is also supporting London 2012’s broadcast services that will be reaching billions of people across the planet throughout the duration of the Games

Openreach maintains and improves the network that connects tens of millions of homes and businesses to telephone exchanges across the UK on behalf of our Communications Provider customers, who sell communications-based services to consumers and businesses.

Openreach is also the lead deployment arm of BT’s £2.5 billion investment to make Super-fast Fibre Access available to its customers across the UK, which in turn means that up to two-thirds of premises should have access to super-fast broadband services by the end of 2014.

Openreach has supported I CAN since 2006 and are committed to making a real difference to the lives of thousands of children and their families.

About Openreach

Openreach is responsible for the nationwide local BT network which connects homes and businesses across Britain to communications providers' networks.  Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries.  Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services.  BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Group’s revenue was £20,076m with profit before taxation of £1,717m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.  BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 

For more information, visit www.btplc.com

About I CAN

  • I CAN is the children’s communication charity.
  • We are here to ensure that no child is left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.
  • Nobody wants a child’s potential to be wasted. It happens because communication difficulties are not visible, often mistaken for something else, or not noticed at all.
  • I CAN’s mission is to make sure that everyone in contact with children knows how important communication is, what a communication difficulty looks like and what they can do to help.
  • We do this through:
    • Increasing public awareness of the problems children face.
    • Giving expert advice to parents and families about what to look out for and what to do.
    • Providing assessments for children so that their families know what support will meet their needs.
    • Giving teachers and people working with children the skills to help children who struggle.
    • Campaigning to ensure children and families get a better deal.
    • At the very heart of I CAN are our special schools which give expert care and education to children with problems so severe their needs cannot be met elsewhere.

About Get Set

Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK. It provides free learning resources for 3-19 year olds to find out more about the Games and explore the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. It also offers access to exciting prizes and opportunities through participation in competitions and partner programmes. There are over 20,500 schools and colleges registered with Get Set.

The Communication Triathlon is part of Get Set + and is featured within the Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship theme.

The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities. There are currently over 8000 members of the Get Set network.

Contact: Mitch Reid
Phone: 0131 448 4288
Email: mitchell.reid@bt.com
Website: http://www.btplc.com/News