Luton secures funding to improve language and communication skills of young children

Luton Council has successfully secured funding of £452,000 from the Department for Education (DfE) for its Early Outcome Fund (EOF) programme to support speech, language and communication development in babies and young children from the antenatal period through to when they start school. This funding which we have called Talking Takes Off is a year long programme to provide clear support and guidance to all families to give their children the very best start in life. It will also deliver additional support for those parents and young children where there may be identified needs. The programme will be delivered as part of Luton’s Flying Start strategy which provides prevention and early help services from pregnancy to five. This funding also links with Luton’s Investment Framework in terms of ensuring all children achieve better educational outcomes to ensure they are in the best possible position to take advantage of future employment opportunities in the town. Throughout the year the core team will work with a range of partners including maternity and paediatric services, health visiting teams, speech and language services, children’s centres, primary care settings, dentists, early years providers, schools and libraries. They will ensure all staff are offered appropriate training supporting early communication and language development so they can use this as part of their work with babies and children and also share skills with parents. (see page 3 for more information) A new pathway for speech, language and communication will be developed with partners and a new screening tool will be introduced to help earlier identification of children who may need more specialised support and resources will be developed and made available so that all children can be given help according to their needs. New speech and communication sessions will be offered in our Flying Start Children’s Centres and by other providers including our Maintained Nurseries and with Adult Learning which will provide practical support to parents. We will be recruiting volunteers to raise awareness about early language development to different community groups across the town. Parents will also be invited to get involved in the project to help with research to find out what works best for families and to ensure parental views are loud and clear as the new service models are designed.

For more information please contact Stephanie Cash Early Outcome Fund Programme Lead Stephanie.cash@luton.gov.uk 01582 547980

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