Meet the UK’s young person of the year

A teenager from Sudbury has been named Young Person of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in London.

Jonathan Middleditch was given the honour at the Shine a Light scheme’s annual awards ceremony, for his courage and determination to achieve incredible heights despite having severe and complex speech, language and communication difficulties.

Hosted this year by comedian David Baddiel, the awards, organised by Pearson in partnership with The Communication Trust, celebrate innovative work, inspirational individuals and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

Jonathan, a student at Moor House School and College was diagnosed with a severe and complex speech and language impairment, including dyspraxia, dyslexia and dyscalculia, resulting in unintelligible speech.

After years of specialist education and therapy at Moor House, the 17-year-old has made significant progress with his communication.

He achieved a number of nationally recognised qualifications at the end of Year 11.

Subsequently, he has achieved a Level 1 Qualification in land based studies and functional skills qualifications in English and maths.

He is now working towards a Level 2 Qualification through his specialist placement at Moor House School and College.

Additionally, Jonathan became an integral part of the school’s successful bid for a substantial grant from the Wisley Foundation to develop a specialist therapy, called electropalotography, enabling other students with speech impairment to access support.

Jonathan, who has his tractor and trailer license, said: “Thank you to everyone who has helped me over the last few years with improving the quality of my speech.

“Thank you also for helping me to achieve things I never thought I could, like getting into a college.

“I am thrilled to have won the Young Person of the Year Award for my achievements. Over the last year I worked with staff to get new EPG equipment, which will benefit every student at my school.”