New Independent Evaluation Of Programme For 4 & 5 Year Olds

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Early Years Advisory Teacher, Karen Loft, for the attention of all Early Years and Childcare Practitioners.

National roll-out of Covid recovery programme boosted young children’s language skills by four months

The national roll-out of a programme to support young children’s language skills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had a positive impact on their development, according to an independent evaluation published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) today.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), created by the founders of OxEd and Assessment, was offered to all state-funded schools in England with Reception classes across three academic years (2020−21, 2021 – 22 and 2022 – 23), funded by the Department for Education. Over 6,500 schools registered to take part in the first year, while a further 4,000 signed up across the second and third years of delivery.

The independent evaluation, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), found that children who took part in the programme made on average four months’ additional progress in their language skills, compared to children in participating schools who didn’t receive the intervention. The study looked at data from 10,800 children in 350 schools who registered for the second year of the national roll-out (2021−22).

Developed by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Sheffield and York, the programme trains school staff, usually teaching assistants or early years educators, to deliver individual and small-group sessions to four- and five-year-olds to improve their vocabulary, active listening and narrative skills. For example, in one session, the adult tells the children ​“The Gingerbread Man” story, before working with them – and Ted the puppet – to put pictures of the story in order. In another, the children paint handprints and then wash their hands to practise the target vocabulary ​“clean”, ​“wash” and ​“dry”.

Further analysis in today’s report found that children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) made on average seven months’ additional progress as a result of receiving the programme, suggesting that NELI could help to close the language development gap between socio-economically disadvantaged children and their peers.

To read the full article follow this link: National roll-out of Covid recovery programme boosted young… | EEF (