MP for Penrith and The Border, Rory Stewart, is backing ​’Voice Box​’​ ​- a national ​joke​-telling​ ​competition for both ​mainstream and special schools, run by The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy (RCSLT)​, in partnership with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)​. The competition ​aims to demonstrate the importance of good communication skills and will​ culminate in a national final at Westminster next year. To reach Westminster, schools should submit their student’s funniest joke to the RCSLT by Friday 1 December 2017. Behind the fun and engaging competition lies a serious message: that communication can be a barrier to development for many young people, with an estimated 2 in 30 students having a form of developmental language disorder. By raising awareness of this and the importance of communication, the competition seeks to improve the confidence and language skills of young people. On the competition Rory Stewart said: “this is a fantastic way to bring to the fore a really serious issue. Communication is fundamental to a child’s development and through an entertaining competition like this one, we can bring the topic to the top of schools and head teacher’s agendas. In politics, like in schools, language skills form the foundations of progress, and it is because of this I will be writing to local schools urging them to get involved in the Voice Box National Joke Competition.” The competition runs from Monday 2 October until Friday 1 December and invites all mainstream and specialist primary and secondary schools to hold their joke-telling competition in that time. More information can be found at



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