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New funding will help young children improve communication skills

Published on Friday, April 12, 2019

Image: A picture of a young boy with a jigsaw puzzle

A SUCCESSFUL bid for nearly £800,000 of Government cash means young children in Leicester will get more support to improve their speech, language and communication skills.

The bid, to the Department for Education’s Early Opportunities Fund, means Leicester City Council will get £795,000 to help children under five and their families need with language development, by ensuring the right support in place. This could include activities that support communication development, such as story time sessions in libraries and ‘stay and play’ groups at children’s centres.  

The money will also be used to help a group of local authorities – made up of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham city councils – to audit existing services and build up a picture of the sort of support local families need to help improve speech, language and communication skills in young children.

Strategic director of social care and education Steven Forbes said: “This funding will help us to work with families and support children so that they are ready for school.

“It means we can identify what works well here in Leicester to improve children’s communication skills; we’ll be working with Derby and Nottingham and an organisation called Better Communication CIC so that we can improve our offer.

“We will develop a strategy which will identify what we’re going to do to ensure children’s communication skills are supported in the best possible way. The ultimate aim is to improve outcomes for young children, because we know that good communication skills are a key factor in how well children go on to achieve at school.

“Working with Nottingham and Derby means we can all learn from each other and share best practice. We’ll also work closely with schools and health colleagues, for example speech therapists.”

Further funding of £270,000 from the Department for Education will also go towards professional development – ensuring that early years professionals get the training and support they need to help families and encourage young children to develop their language and literacy skills.

Activities and programmes for young children in Leicester can be found on the council’s Family Information Service website – visit