Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
PredecessorCollege of Speech Therapists
Legal statusCharity
  • 2-3 White Hart Yard, London, SE1 1NX, United Kingdom
Membership (2018-2019)
Key people

Patron: The Countess of Wessex
President: Nick Hewer
Honorary Vice President:John Bercow
CEO: Kamini Gadhok
Current Chair of the Board of Trustees: Mary Heritage

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (abbreviated as RCSLT) is the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK and a registered charity. It was established on 6 January 1945 to promote the study of speech therapy in the UK, to seek improvement and maintain a high standard of knowledge and to unite all members of the profession. The RCSLT’s current patron is the Countess of Wessex. The RCSLT has offices in Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London.[1]


The RCSLT was founded in 1945 as the College of Speech Therapists (CST), after the amalgamation of the Association of Speech Therapists and the British Society of Speech Therapists in 1944.[2] In 1945, CST fellows and licentiates were granted application[clarification needed] to the Register of Medical Auxiliaries. By 1955, the College had withdrawn from the register and published its own member directory. Its first patron, in 1948, was King George VI, who received speech therapy for his stammer. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother continued this support after his death in 1952 and become the college's patron in 1959.[3]

In 1990, speech therapists changed their name and title to "speech and language therapists".[4] The college was awarded the right to call itself the 'Royal College' of Speech and Language Therapists in 1995. The Countess of Wessex became the RCSLT patron in 2003 after the death of the Queen Mother in 2002.[2]

King George VI, received speech therapy for his stammer
Lionel Logue was employed in assisting King George VI to overcome a stammer



The RCSLT is a professional membership body which promotes for the public benefit the art and science of speech and language therapy, meaning care for individuals with communication, swallowing, eating and drinking difficulties.[6]

Its stated professional aims are: to provide leadership and set professional standards for speech therapists in the UK; to facilitate and promote research into the field of speech and language therapy; to promote better education and training of speech and language therapists; to provide information for members and the public about speech and language therapy.[7]

Equal pay activism[edit]

One of the RCSLT's members, Dr. Pamela Enderby was the lead claimant in a landmark legal case for equal pay in the NHS (see Enderby v Frenchay Health Authority). In 1986, she argued that her work and that of her colleagues, mostly women, was of equal value to clinical psychologists, who were predominantly men. Her employers said the difference in pay could be justified because the two groups bargain separately.[8] This claim launched the second-longest group action for equal pay for equal work since a 1985 claim by female canteen workers against British Coal.[9] The case involved twenty-six court appearances (including at the European Court of Justice), 2,000 applicants and sixteen test cases.[10]

The resulting compensation cost the government approximately £30 million in back-pay. The Enderby case led the then Labour government to institute a review of pay and grading scales throughout the health service in the form of the Agenda for Change.[10]


The total membership in March 2019 was 17,422. Of this figure, 14,461 were UK practising members, 908 were UK nonpracticing members, 448 were retired, 314 were overseas, 1,105 were students, and 186 were associates.[11] The total figure had fallen from 17,468 at the end of March 2018.[12]

In a 2018 survey of its membership (to which 2,700 responded), the RCSLT found that the mean age of its members was 42 and that 73% were employed by the NHS; the remainder worked in independent practice (11%), schools (3%), local authorities (3%), universities (3%), and in other areas (7%).[13]

Membership of the RCSLT
Year Total [11][12]
2014 15,883
2015 16,681
2016 17,083
2017 17,083
2018 17,468
2019 17,422


In the financial year 2016–2017 the college had income of over £4.2 million and expenditure of over £4.3 million,[6] of which £3.3 million (79%) derived from membership income.[14]


The monthly membership magazine, Bulletin, is the official magazine of the RCSLT.[15] The magazine features the latest news, clinical articles, job adverts and other advertising.

The International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders is the RCSLT's international research journal.


Launched in 2010, the Giving Voice Awards celebrate organisations and individuals that have campaigned to highlight how speech and language therapy transforms lives and/or others who have made a significant contribution to improving the lives of people with communication and/or swallowing needs.[16][17]

The Voice Box awards are an annual joke-telling competition for primary school children organised by the RCSLT.[18] In the 2018-19 competition over 5,000 schoolchildren took part in the competition,[19] and ten finalists took part in a live final in London.[20]


  1. ^ "Join the RCSLT team – Current Vacancies". RCSLT. Retrieved 2022-05-23.
  2. ^ a b "Introducing the RCSLT". Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  3. ^ Shawcross, W. (2009). Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother: the Official Biography. Pan Macmillan. p. 953.
  4. ^ "History of the RCSLT". Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Three, two, one...broadcaster Nick Hewer appointed President of RCSLT". RCSLT. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Royal College Of Speech And Language Therapists: Data for financial year ending 31 March 2017". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Introducing the RCSLT". Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  8. ^ "PAY UP". Labour & European Law Review Weekly. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ Patricia Wynn Davies (3 April 1997). "Landmark victory for women in fight for equal pay". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Equal Pay". Tolpuddle Martyrs. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b Money, Della; Gadhok, Kamini (September 2019). "The RCSLT IMPACT REPORT 2017-2018: Message from the RCSLT Chair and CEO". Bulletin: The Official Magazine of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. 808: 2–3.
  12. ^ a b Dorward, M.; Ghadok, K. (September 2018). "The RCSLT IMPACT REPORT 2017-2018: Message from the RCSLT Chair and CEO". Bulletin: The Official Magazine of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. 797: 2–3.
  13. ^ Dorward, M.; Money, D. (September 2018). "Members first". Bulletin: The Official Magazine of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. 797: 20–21.
  14. ^ "ROYAL COLLEGE OF SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPISTS TRUSTEES REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2017" (PDF). Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  15. ^ "RCSLT Bulletin". Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Giving Voice Awards". RCSLT.
  17. ^ "Giving Voice Awards ceremony in Cardiff". NHS Humber Teaching. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  18. ^ Sedgwick, D. (30 May 2019). "Ashington duo find their voice for comedy finals". News Post Leader. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Berkshire schoolgirl wins voice box comedy awards". RCSLT. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Voice Box Awards 2018-19: Wales' joke telling competition for primary school pupils". Jo Stevens MP. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Stansfield, Jois (2020). "Giving voice: an oral history of speech and language therapy". International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. 55 (3): 320–331. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12520.