University of Sheffield: National award for Sheffield researchers who revolutionised teaching for the next generation of speech language therapists

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Sheffield researchers who revolutionised teaching for the next generation of speech and language therapists during the pandemic have been recognised with a prestigious national award.

The outstanding achievements of the Human Communication Sciences (HCS) clinical team, from the University of Sheffield’s Health Sciences School, were recognised with a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) by Advance HE after using the pandemic as an opportunity to revolutionise how they support students.

They work closely with external NHS partners in Sheffield and further afield to develop innovative approaches to learning and teaching within applied clinical practice, and had to adapt rapidly following Covid-19.

As a result, the team worked together to come up with a series of solutions to ensure that the next generation of nurses, doctors and dentists still had all of the skills they needed before moving into the workforce. Some of their innovations included:

New placements to equip the future workforce with the skills to deliver vital speech and language therapy (SLT) services online, given the drastic decrease in the delivery of in-person health services during the pandemic
An official SLT Telehealth Guide, which has been shared nationally to improve the pipeline of getting students into the workforce
A host of digital learning resources, where clinical learning is simulated in an online format, as well as events and webinars to ensure students didn’t miss out when hospital placements were restricted due to Covid
A number of these approaches have since been adopted by all 20 of the other universities across the country which deliver speech language therapy courses.

Professor Judy Clegg, Head of Division of Human Communication Sciences from the University of Sheffield’s Health Sciences School, said: “Communication is a human right and Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) deliver the highest quality of support for children and adults with impairments in their communication and swallowing.

“We were completely blown away by the news when we heard about the award. It is recognition of the enormous amount of work that went into ensuring our speech and language therapy students were able to get the clinical experience they needed during the Covid lockdowns so they could graduate on time and enter the workforce. We are absolutely delighted. ”

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