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Case Studies

A series of 12 case studies have been produced from Birmingham, Bolton, Cornwall, East Cheshire, Essex, Gateshead, Lancashire, Merton, Newham, Northamptonshire, Sandwell and West Sussex. These case studies dicsuss key learning, success factors and implications of the Early Language Development Programme.

Case Studies Summary

This handy document summarises the key learning and common themes from the full case study series.

Download the Case Studies Summary (pdf)


Lead practitioners in the London Borough of Newham came from the School Improvement Team, the local authority and from early years settings, and have all cascaded the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) slightly differently. A mixture of group and whole setting delivery and different training slots has made the programme available to a wide range of practitioners with varying abilities.

The ELDP has a wider remit, with readymade resources and activities to support parents as well as practitioners, making it preferable to the training package which the School Improvement Team had developed after Every Child a Talker funding ended here.

ELDP strategies and resources have been used to make positive changes in settings, and have been lent out to groups of childminders and parents when needed, via a local toy library, as well as through children’s centres where early years practitioners have access to them.

Lead practitioners supported each other to overcome some initial challenges. The ELDP has provided good networking opportunities as well as increased knowledge and confidence around supporting speech, language and communication (SLC) development, particularly developing a better understanding of the theory behind SLC.

Download the Newham case study (pdf)


Essex, a large and diverse county with ‘hot spots’ of significant need, has been involved in the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) since the pilot phase. A steering group was set up to lead the implementation of the programme and provide a strategic overview to the cascade. The ELDP was integrated with existing programmes here, such as the local ‘Talk, Listen, Cuddle’ programme.

Having overcome initial challenges and delays, and by offering follow on activities, training, and support as part of their remit, the lead practitioners here have been extremely successful in rolling out the programme.

Some of this success can be attributed to the cascade model in place. Localised lead practitioners work in particular quadrants of the county, focussing on local children’s centre staff and key PVI providers. Additional lead practitioners provide a more strategic approach to support across the county, delivering training where capacity issues have been identified, and in ‘hot spots’ where early years SLC outcomes are lower than other areas.

Practitioners and parents alike have learned from, and value, the ELDP, with consistent delivery across the county meaning messages are disseminated and embedded to have a greater impact.

Download the Essex case study (pdf)


Each lead practitioner in Gateshead has cascaded the ELDP training to a different group of early years practitioners, including childminders and nursery staff, through a training network facilitated by the local authority. One lead has adopted a model whereby staff from five nurseries in the area receive training and are then supported to share their learning with other staff in their setting. This two tier approach has worked well with ongoing support from management and active engagement from other staff members. Successes in Gateshead also come from offerings of evening and weekend training sessions, lead and local practitioners working together to develop innovative ways of getting messages about speech, language and communication development to a broader audience, and active use of the ELDP and existing resources with children, parents and staff training.

Download the Gateshead case study (pdf)


Lead practitioners in Sandwell have been given continuous backing and support from senior management and the local authority; something which has added to the success of their ELDP roll out. Speech, language and communication (SLC) has been focussed on and the ELDP has been included in the early years and child care training manual, and links well with existing early years programmes such as Every Child a Talker (ECaT). The local authority and ‘Time to Talk’ steering group ensure funding which means that each children’s centre cluster has resources to share, and each setting being cascaded to has access to resource packs. Resources have also been widely shared amongst parents in structured sessions and informal discussions. This has all contributed to the positive impact that the ELDP has had here.

Download the Sandwell case study (pdf)

West Sussex

In West Sussex the Early Childhood Service team and the Speech and Language Therapy team have worked in partnership to successfully reach many more settings than the Every Child a Talker (ECaT) programme had done previously, focussing particularly on areas of high deprivation, where speech, language and communication needs tend to be highest.

Despite there being some difficulties in delivery the ELDP has been very successful. Much of the success has been attributed to course being delivered over 2 full days with a few weeks in between sessions to allow local practitioners to reflect on learning and embed the strategies and knowledge, coming back to the second session with questions or concerns. Follow up support has also been well received and helps to ensure that the learning has maximum impact. The ELDP has been tweaked to suit local need and this personalised approach taken by the delivery team has made the programme more engaging for local practitioners.

Download the West Sussex case study (pdf)

North Lancashire

This case study gives an overview of the way that the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) was delivered across a group of 12 children’s centres in the Wyre and Fylde region of North Lancashire.

Although predominantly rural, Lancashire contains some significant urban centres. Population growth across the county is lower than for England as a whole, resulting in an increasingly elderly population. The 0-4 age group in particular is expected to grow less quickly by 2021 than other segments of the population . The population density in parts of Lancashire is low, which means that some children’s centres are quite far from their nearest neighbours.

Download the Lancashire case study (pdf)


The London Borough of Merton is a diverse area which had an existing programme of support for speech, language and communication development. Lead practitioners in this area have used the ELDP to successfully make improvements to these courses, having a positive impact as part of a broader programme, and reaching a high number of practitioners who have then delivered two targeted programmes to parents and children within local children’s centres. The lead practitioner featured in this case study felt that the ELDP has ‘added value’ to the work in Merton. What’s more, there is evidence that the ELDP has had a role to play in improvements in the language development of individual children who have been measured, before and after their parents attended language development workshops.

Download the Merton case study (pdf)


Birmingham’s case study details how the Foundation Years Parenting Support (FYPS) team plays a central role in organising the successful roll out across the city’s 16 localities. The team of lead practitioners have, up to the time the case study was produced, cascaded to over 300 local practitioners. Lead practitioners in Birmingham have adapted the ELDP and added an extra session, based on the format of an existing local course, where practitioners explore the resources. Despite the challenges faced in this large area the programme has been managed very effectively in the city and end of year assessments have demonstrated improvements in children’s language development.

Download the Birmingham case study (pdf)

Cheshire East

This case study provides an overview of how the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) is being delivered across Cheshire East by the Early Years and Childcare team in Cheshire East Council, who focus on targeted work with families accessing 2-year old funding.

The case study focuses on the practice and provision in a private day nursery setting, which has been identified as one of five 'ELDP Lead Settings'.

Download the Cheshire East case study (pdf)


In Bolton, the ELDP has been embedded within a broader early language communication strategy that the local authority launched in January 2012. The Lead Practitioner has worked in collaboration with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) with support from an Early Years Advisor to develop the cascade model. This involves delivering a three-part training course for staff working at all levels within targeted settings, as well as via universal cluster meetings aimed at Communication Champions across the area.

Download the Bolton case study (pdf)


Northamptonshire is one of the sites participating in the roll out of I CAN's Early Language Development Programme (ELDP). This case study offers an insight into how the programme is being delivered in Northamptonshire and the impact it is having. The case study is based on interviews with two lead practitioners, three practitioners who took part in the cascaded training, and one parent. The two lead practitioners have cascaded the ELDP training to all staff in their own settings, staff from other settings and to groups of childminders. In total they have delivered training to approximately 56 practitioners and childminders.

Download the Northamptonshire case study (pdf)


Cornwall is participating in the roll out of the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP). This case study offers an insight into how the programme is being delivered in Cornwall and the impact it is having. The case study is based on interviews with two lead practitioners and two practitioners who took part in the cascaded training. The case study highlights that impact and value of the ELDP in Cornwall.

Download the Cornwall case study (pdf)

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