Children's Speech and Language Therapy, Ground Floor, Epping Forest Unit, St Margaret's Hospital, Essex CM16 6TN 01279 827 620

Welcome to West Essex Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service at St Margaret’s Hospital

The Children’s Speech and Language Therapy service offers a child and family centred approach to support children and young people with speech, language, communication, eating and drinking difficulties in West Essex.

We work in partnership with parents or carers and other colleagues to promote positive outcomes for children.

More about us

The Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Team is made up of qualified speech and language therapists, therapy assistants and administrative and clerical staff. All the therapists are registered with the national regulatory body, the Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC) which maintains an online register of all Speech and Language Therapists meeting the required standards.

All therapists are members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

The Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Service supports children from 0-16 years old.  We also support young people aged 16 – 19 years old who have a statement of Educational Need or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who are attending schools in West Essex.

Speech and Language Therapists work with children and young people who experience a wide range of difficulties including:

  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Stammering (Dysfluency)
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Eating and drinking difficulties (Dysphagia)
  • Learning difficulties
  • Physical difficulties
  • Voice disorders
Download SLT Referral Form here (pdf 0.22mb)

Please type in your starting point in the box below to give you directions to the service location.

Pre-school children

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, please discuss these with your Health Visitor, pre-school, Children’s Centre, or your GP. They may suggest you attend one of our local drop-in sessions.

If you are worried about your child’s eating and drinking skills, please speak to your child’s health visitor in the first instance. We do not carry out assessments of eating and drinking at our Drop In sessions.

School-aged children

If your child is in full time school, you can discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher. These concerns can be raised with the school’s link speech and language therapist and a referral to the service may be agreed.

Making a referral

We have an open referral system which means that parents and carers as well as other professionals can make referrals directly to us, provided we have sufficient  information to ensure that your child will benefit from an assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist.

Pre-school children can be signposted to our Drop In sessions without the need for a formal referral.

School aged children are usually referred following a discussion with the school’s link therapist. Some children can be supported in their school without requiring referral to the Service.

West Essex
Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Administration
Speech and Language Therapy
St Margaret’s Hospital
The Plain
CM16 6TN

T: 01279 827620

SLT Referral Form

All referrals made by professionals should be discussed with the child’s parent and agreement given. Children who are experiencing voice difficulties will require ENT assessment prior to referral to the service.

Most pre-school children will attend a Speech and Language Therapy Drop In session. Most school aged children will be seen in school for their first assessment. It is important that you respond promptly when invited to make an appointment and that you contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service if you are unable to attend.

The Speech and Language Therapist will talk to you about your concerns and ask about your child’s speech and language skills. The therapist will observe your child, and may carry out specific activities and assessments.

The therapist will talk to you about your child’s strengths and any difficulties they have identified. The therapist will provide advice and discuss any further support if this is required. This could include: group sessions, parent workshops, activities for home and/or school, individual sessions or any combination of these.

A report will be sent to you, your GP and to the person who referred your child to the service. We will ask if a copy of the report can be sent to your child’s pre-school or school and to other professionals who may be involved.

How is the service provided?

We offer a three tiered model of service:

Universal – something for all children, for example: advice, support and training

Targeted – something for some children, for example: support and early intervention

Specialist – something for children who need direct input from us, for example: assessment and intervention

Not all children will require direct input from the service however they can access advice and support from us at the targeted and universal level.

We offer a flexible service supporting children in the most appropriate environment, for example: early years settings and schools. We work closely with parents, teachers and pre-school staff and all members of the team around the child or young person  to achieve this.

If required, the Speech and Language Therapist will work through an interpreter should a child or family have difficulty communicating in English.

Your child’s records

Any information held about your child is kept securely in a file or on electronic information systems. We use the information to:

  • Record important health and social care information
  • Help professionals to care for your child
  • Provide appropriate support and care to children, young people and families
  • Develop and improve services and measure how well we are doing

We will only share information about a child/young person with your consent unless required by law or the data is anonymised. However in some circumstances, when we feel that your child or others are at risk, we may share information without consent. More information on how we use health records.

Non-English speakers and other formats

We provide all our leaflets in other languages and formats. Please let us know if you would like a different format or language.

Our commitment to your child

Virgin Care takes your dignity and privacy very seriously and we will at all times respect your confidentiality. Please treat our staff with respect so we can provide you with the very best care we can. Click here to find out more about your rights and responsibilities.

Your opinion really matters to us

Please let us know if you have a comment, a compliment or a complaint by filling out one of our feedback forms or telling a member of the team. Alternatively, if you would like to make an official complaint you can find out more from our How to make a complaint section.



The Communication Trust
The Trust aims to raise awareness of the importance of speech, language and communication across the children’s workforce and to enable practitioners to access the best training and expertise to support the communication needs of all children.

A children’s communication charity. Downloadable resources. Parents can order a free DVD and information pack.

Website run by the National Literary Trust
Information and ideas, resources to download, parents section, advice sheets in thirteen different languages.

AFASIC (Association for all speech impaired children)
UK parent-led charity for children and young people with speech and language impairments.

Information about the Makaton sign and symbol system.

Downloadable resources and information about free book offers available to children.

Cleft Lip and Palate Association
Information on cleft lip and palate.

British Stammering Association

National Autistic Society (NAS)

National Deaf Children’s Society

Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists
A range of general and career information.

Health & Care Professionals Council
Regulatory body for Speech & Language Therapists and online register.

Have you heard of the Local Offer?  If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Essex’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit for an easily accessible one stop shop.

Find out more

I was treated with great care and understanding. The care I received was second to none; everyone was so lovely.

Sapphire Ward, Gravesham Hospital