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Improving children’s language skills

Improving children’s language skills

18 January 2018

We are happy to announce that we are the new publishing partner for the Nuffield Foundation’s Nuffield Early Language Intervention for children in their first year of primary school.

Research studies show that improving children’s oral language skills at a young age also improves their reading development and wider educational outcomes, leading many schools to look for high-quality intervention programmes that have been proven to be effective.

Addressing this need, Nuffield Early Language Intervention is an evidence-based 20-week programme for children. The programme includes professional development for teaching assistants and non-specialist teachers delivered by specialist training consultancy Elklan and comprehensive resources to assist with planning, teaching, and assessment. The resources kit includes teaching handbooks, picture cards, a puppet and assessment support. Additionally, there will be webinars and email support with specialist tutors throughout the course of the intervention.

In 2016, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published an evaluation study of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme. The statistically significant results from 34 schools demonstrated that the programme increased the attainment of levels of four to five year olds in vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills, and improved language and children’s confidence. The EEF designated the intervention as a ‘promising project’ and a further, larger-scale trial involving 200 classrooms is in train.

The author team includes Maggie Snowling CBE, President of St John’s College, Oxford, Charles Hulme FBA, Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Oxford, Claudine Bowyer- Crane, Senior Lecturer, Psychology in Education, University of York and Silke Fricke, Senior Lecturer, Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield.

Andrea Quincey, Head of English, UK Education at OUP, said: ‘Oxford University Press is driven by a strong sense of social purpose—helping teachers and schools to improve children’s educational life chances. We believe that the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme is a powerful combination of resources, proven pedagogies and professional development that will bring about a positive impact in the classroom and beyond.’

Josh Hillman, Director of Education at the Nuffield Foundation added: ‘The Nuffield Foundation has supported this programme from its initial development and early trialling through to the EEF-funded randomised controlled trials that showed it improves the vocabulary, grammar and listening skills of children by as much as four months. We are delighted that our new partnership with the OUP will enable potentially all schools to benefit from the Nuffield Early Language Intervention.’

Professors Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme, University of Oxford said: ‘Language is the medium of educational instruction and the foundation of literacy. This programme can help strengthen the foundation of education for children who may otherwise be left behind’.

Nuffield Early Language Intervention will sit alongside our existing range of primary English and literacy resources, and publishes in January 2018.