Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention catch-up programme developed by Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme – has been found to give a 3+ month boost to the language skills of 4-5 year-olds who are falling behind.

Photo Credit Nuffield Foundation

1,156 pupils in 193 schools across England took part in a randomised controlled trial of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention during 2018/19. The programme is the result of research led by EP's Honorary Professor Maggie Snowling, and Professor Charles Hulme (Department of Education) and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. It is now published by Oxford University Press.Nuffield language Intervention pic

The trial, supported by the Education Endowment Foundation, was a large-scale effectiveness trial, which tested the programme in everyday conditions. The independent evaluator found the programme to be highly effective and to improve the language skills of four- and five-year olds who are falling behind and boost their progress by three additional months. The evaluators also found that the programme was an effective way of boosting language skills for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL). The findings have a very high level of security, and consolidate the findings of an earlier, smaller trial of the programme which found similar, promising results.

 

Commenting on the evaluation report, Professor Charles Hulme and Professor Maggie Snowling, said:

Our research focuses on children’s language and literacy development with a special emphasis on how to help children who find learning language and literacy skills difficult. A strong foundation in oral language is key to children’s success in education and we are delighted that this most recent EEF trial of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention has produced such strong evidence of its effectiveness. We hope that schools will be encouraged to adopt the programme for the benefit of the many children whose educational progress is hindered by language difficulties.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention is designed to improve the spoken language ability of children as they begin primary school. Targeted at children with relatively poor spoken language skills, it is delivered to groups of two to four children, three times a week, alongside some individual sessions. 

Early language skills are vital for children’s long-term success in education and other areas. Research has shown that children with more advanced language skills at the age of five are more likely to have better qualifications and subsequently be employed in adulthood compared with their peers. However, disadvantaged children are more likely to have fallen behind before school starts.

With current school and nursery closures likely to widen the early language gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, a low-cost and effective, school-based intervention would help close the ‘disadvantage gap’ which will inevitably widen whilst schools and nurseries are closed during the COVID-19 crisis.

The full report on the trial is here.

See the Nuffield Early Language Intervention being used in school at Our Lady of Muswell Primary School in London and Carmountside Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent.

Similar stories

New book expands the horizons of brain research

A pioneering book from Professor Zoltán Molnár and Yale Professors Tamas Horvath and Joy Hirsch to be released on 1 February 2022 addresses the fundamental relationship between the body, brain and behaviour.

How Mindfulness May Improve Body Satisfaction and Mood

New research from Emma Osborne, Research Assistant at the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders (CREDO) at the University of Oxford (and PhD Candidate at the University of Bath), and Dr Melissa Atkinson, University of Bath, investigated two ways in which mindfulness might improve body satisfaction and mood.

Review Highlights Risk Factors Associated with Violence in Schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

New Research Highlights Importance of Early Years Development on Future Wellbeing

Oxford researchers involved nearly 4,000 children across the UK in three specially developed science lessons to educate pupils about brain development during early childhood. The SEEN (Secondary Education around Early Neurodevelopment) project was commissioned and funded by KindredSquared and is part of a wider drive to increase public understanding of how early experiences can shape the adults we become.