How Newham is helping children catch up on communication development

A national survey of maintained nursery schools found a third were cutting staffing and services to balance their books.

East London Research School is leading a project to improve provision for children’s communication and language in the early years. - Credit: PA

This article is being published in partnership with Newham Council’s Year of the Young Person, marking the achievements of young people and highlighting services and support groups aimed at them.

Early years programmes in Newham are helping young children whose learning and development has suffered during lockdowns to catch up.

Newham Council has worked with partners to keep a good level of early education and childcare settings open as well as all 12 of its children centres, providing vital family support. 

However, during this challenging period, children have had limited opportunities to go out to play and learn with others of their age, which has particularly impacted their communication and language development. 

Evidence shows language is the foundation of children’s thinking and learning. A child’s vocabulary at the age of five is strongly associated with how well they will achieve throughout their schooling. 

Newham has the country’s only national research school led by a nursery.

East London Research School, based at Sheringham Nursery School in Manor Park, is leading a project focused on using evidence-based practice to improve provision for children’s communication and language in the early years.

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Working with the network of maintained nursery schools in Newham and the local authority team, this year-round project will reach 45 private nurseries which provide good quality provision for local children. 

The collaborative project includes more than 20 hours of professional development for every nursery practitioner and robust impact measuring.

Alongside the Best Start in Life early years team funding for this approach, Newham is also working with children’s communication charity ICAN to deliver the early talk boost project aimed at three to four-year-olds and the tots talking programme for two-year-olds.

These projects are focused on children who have English as an additional language and have speech, language and communication needs.

They are being delivered in partnership with local schools and early years settings across Newham.

Visit newham.gov.uk/children-families/childcare-early-years-education to find out more about early education and childcare in the borough.

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