Vicki Logan, Overdale CPS, Scarborough

Leading Headteacher for Scarborough Pledge Initiative to develop Speech and Language

The Scarborough Pledge has supported the Headteachers of the Coastal schools in Scarborough to address their concerns about poor levels of Speech and Language development for their pupils. This has been made possible through the Language Link intervention training for the school staff and the delivery of an interactive child-friendly system that screens children from Reception class through to Year 6. The screening process is a little time consuming but it is worth the time as the summary report identifies the child’s specific needs and supplies a programme to target that need. A tracker monitors the progress of the target pupils/groups, initially, the project was for a pilot of five schools, but due to the success of this pilot a further ten schools have joined the project in 2017, again supported by the Scarborough Pledge Project.

The programme has not only been highly effective in identifying needs in children that we, as educationalists, presume require support but also in identifying children whose teachers did not think they had communication or comprehension gaps. However, on completion of the target interventions these children have made accelerated progress, which is an excellent outcome. Limited language skills and low levels of communication are the major barriers to learning in communities where there are higher levels of deprivation and low aspirations. The Language Link programme enables whole classes to be assessed and provides a programme to break this barrier down. It’s a joy to work with and to see the children make progress because they have access to the interventions that meet their personalised needs.

Julie Stewart, Overdale CPS, Scarborough

Leading Teacher for Language Link assessment and delivery

As lead teacher for the Language Link project in our school, I have been involved in the implementation from Reception currently up to Year 5. Setting up the programme was a daunting task but once the children had been assessed (this took the largest amount of time) everything else fell into place. My one biggest tip would be to make sure you have all the resources printed and laminated before staring the project. The sessions are very easy to follow and adapt where necessary and recording the progress of the children is simple.

Within the first few weeks of running the Reception class program there was a noticeable improvement in the children’s listening and concentration skills. The children have also now begun to support each other within the sessions and the peer support given is now evident in class situations too.

The children involved in the sessions are keen to take part and ask me every day if it is their turn to come and “play listening games today”. Other staff running the sessions for different year groups around school have commented that the children enjoy the sessions and how easy the programme is to follow.

I am looking forward to the end of the year when the children’s progress will be measured as I am confident there will be a marked difference from the beginning of the project.

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