Home Children and Young People Progress update on Knowsley’s Speech and Language Strategy
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Progress update on Knowsley’s Speech and Language Strategy

by Jonathan Kearney

Knowsley’s Children and Families Board has received an update on the positive impact the Speech, Language and Communications Strategy is having on the lives of children and young people in the borough.

It is well known that speech and language development is a vital element of a child’s development and can significantly shape life chances and opportunities.

Local analysis showed many children in Knowsley experienced language deprivation when the strategy was introduced in 2019 to help tackle this issue.

Current data demonstrate the positive impact of the strategy to date, despite the interruption the pandemic brought to education delivery.

Health services, schools, nurseries and the council Education Improvement Team have come together and their collaboration has improved speech and language support across the borough.

Government Priority Education Investment Area funding has also strengthened work in the Early Years and primary age phases. The Early Years WellComm speech and language screening tool is now fully embedded across health and early years education settings.

Meanwhile, ELKLAN training is being rolled out across all primary schools (from Key Stage One) and all secondary schools.

Elklan is a range of accredited training courses for education practitioners and other professionals to help children and young people develop their speech, language and communication skills.

There are also pilot programmes underway in secondary schools to help children and young people develop their communication life skills.

Supporting child development is central the Family Hub model and this is another route being used to raise awareness of the importance of early language development with families, including the importance of breastfeeding which has now been identified as one of the first ways a child communicates, through responsive feeding. This is in addition to all the other well reported health and development benefit breastfeeding brings both mother and baby.

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“The Board has received a positive update on the work that the Council and partners are doing to provide the best support throughout our children’s crucial early years and onwards to support speech and language development.

“We all want the very best children and families in Knowsley and we will continue to do all that we can to support them to achieve and thrive.”