Priority 1

Speech, Language & Communication: primary schools projects

Specialist support to 40+ primary schools. The project is funding a range of activities including working with parents to improve outcomes in speech language and communication (SLC) at Early Years Foundation Stage by improving early language acquisition and closing the ‘word gap’. Specialist speech and language therapists are assigned to named schools, which means they have regular contact, developing relationships and trust between partners. The therapist helps to shape and guide the schools in developing an action plan, providing training, modelling and support as necessary. The therapists organise a half termly network meeting to support each aspect covered by the audit tool including a closing the ‘word gap’ training day. The project has developed an audit tool to provide a baseline for schools to develop an individual action plan. The audit captures nationally recognised best practice in SLC and is based on research of what works to support children’s development.

Speech, Language & Communication: parent ambassador

This project is introducing evidence-based programmes to improve the engagement and skills of parents in the areas of greatest need to improve SLC learning and generate a love of reading in the home. This includes expanding the ‘Parent Ambassador’ initiative, working with parents to determine best practice and using the locally developed ‘Together We Learn’ package to build the engagement and skills of parents, early years staff in nurseries, and staff in the first years of primary.

SMILE project (Speech, Milestones, Interaction, Learning and Expression)

The SMILE project aims to introduce evidence based programmes to improve engagement and skills of parents in areas of greatest need to improve SLC learning and generate a love of reading in the home. The SMILE project is run by Speech and Language Therapy Assistant Practitioners. The project focuses on supporting parents and is targeted at children who are already presenting with delayed speech, language and communication at their age and stage questionnaire (ASQ) check with the Health Visiting Service. Each cycle of groups are delivered over a six week period with child rating scales at the beginning of the groups and repeated at the end of the groups. Parents also complete a simple questionnaire to share what they have learnt from the groups.

Exploring the Wider World

This project is introducing a number of enriching and positive learning experiences outside children’s normal environments. For example, bringing ‘experiences’ into early years settings such as: ‘meet a storyteller’ and ‘meet a musician’; taking children out of settings and visiting places of interest, and making new things. The project is providing resources and training for early years staff in order to deliver a wide range of these activities.

2 year old and 3 year old offer

Based on OA-funded research, the project will encourage take up of 2 year-old places’  via a city-wide awareness raising campaign (linked to the work of the new Outreach Worker – funded separately by the DfE Early Outcomes Fund) which will also be targeted in Wards with low take up of the free entitlement. There will also be targeted activity within 7 wards identified as having low-take up and the number of children not accessing the offer. This will be in the form of a ‘stay and play’ pilot project, run in existing Children Centre’s.

PVI and Mental Health First Aid Training

This short private voluntary institution (PVI) practitioner CPD project will provide access to Mental Health First Aid training for every PVI in Stoke, so that practitioners are able to identify mental ill health issues, and to recognise warning signs of mental ill health along with providing key strategies to support and empower parents to access key support services to help with recovery or to manage debilitating symptoms.

PVI Support for Phonics and Maths

This project is building relationships between schools and their local early years providers, using phonics and maths as a way to encourage professional dialogue and to open avenues of CPD for early years staff.