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News about the ELDP

Here, we bring you information about the progress of the ELDP, and news and developments relevant to the programme, early years, and children's communication development.

We also have a blog page featuring entries from the ELDP Team and lead practitioners who are cascading the training to local networks.

We invite you to read these blogs to gain a deeper insight into the successes, impact and progress of the ELDP.

We would love to hear your thoughts as well. Contact the ELDP team if you want to share any news or success stories near you.

4th December 2014

Phase 2 Update

We're half way there!

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Early Language Development Programme lead practitioners who are part of 'phase 2' of the ELDP we are now half way towards reaching our target for March 2015. The aim is to reach a further 3,000 early years practitioners with training and resources to support the speech, lanaguage and communication development of very young children, particulary in areas of disadvantage. This in turn will impact on thousand more children and families, giving children the best start and ensuring that they are 'school ready'.

If you are an early years practitioner interested in accessing ELDP training for your setting visit the ELDP map or contact the ELDP team to find out if there is training available near you.

Thank you to all of our lead practitioners, and keep up the amazing work!

24th October 2014

Evaluation of ELDP Recommends Whole Setting Training

We have found from the independent evaluation of the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) by the Office for Public Management (OPM) that one of the most effective ways to make the most impact is to deliver training to whole settings.

Lead practitioners are strongly recommended to take this approach although we understand that in some instances it may not always be possible due to restrictions on local training numbers and barriers specific to settings.

Where whole setting training has been achieved, there is more “consistency across a setting” and more motivated staff who are “more receptive to ideas about promoting early SLC development” (OPM evaluation report Oct 2014).

With everyone being on the same page it is easier to understand the benefits of the training, to fully embed the messages, and to recognise the importance of certain practices. We’re also seeing practitioners make adjustments within their setting more easily to create more communication friendly environments to support young children’s speech, language and communication development.

In their case study, Bolton lead practitioners highlighted these observations from phase 1 of the ELDP:

Each session involves up to 25 attendees and sessions are delivered in late afternoon and the evening, to cater for the time commitments of practitioners. The targeted training has been offered to all staff in the participating setting. This is part of what makes the ELDP offer unique compared to the work already underway in Bolton; previously under ECaT they were only offering training to Communication Champions (and Deputy Communication Champions in some cases).

“Now the ELDP has come on board we’re actually able to train all the staff so they’ve all got the underpinning skills and knowledge that are required to ensure consistency across the setting.” (Lead Practitioner)

Practitioners reported that having all staff attend the training helped engage the whole setting and made staff more receptive to ideas about promoting early SLC development.For example, one practitioner (a Communication Champion) recently asked staff to complete an ECaT audit sheet of each room in the setting to assess key aspects of the environment in supporting SLC development. Staff had been motivated and willing to do this because they could clearly see and understand the benefits, as a result of the ELDP training.

“I think the way the ELDP has been done has been to support the staff a bit better with the information being given to them, rather than just being handed out things from me constantly; it’s made a big difference I think. Having them attend the training was a very good way of getting the message across clearly and quickly”. (Practitioner)

Click here to read the complete case study.

Aside from the benefits already mentioned, having a whole team trained in the programme improves the sustainability of the ELDP’s messages and strategies when some staff inevitably move on - the more people who are trained, the longer the effects will last.

Are you delivering whole setting training? What feedback have you been getting from your local practitioners who have attended your training sessions, and how have they been implementing the ELDP into their settings? Get in touch with the ELDP team and share your experiences with your lead practitioner colleagues on the Facebook page .

10th October 2014

Phase 2 Progress

With Phase 2 of the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) now in full swing, we are on our way to meeting our target of training a further 3,000 early years practitioners and professionals by March 2015 – making over 15,000 local early years workers trained in total.

I CAN training events have been happening up and down the country and by the end of October a new cohort of 162 ELDP lead practitioners will have joined the programme. Many of our new lead practitioners have begun cascading the training to local early years workers; over 600 more of these staff have already attended ELDP courses as part of phase 2.

In this phase we are particularly targeting early years settings in areas of high deprivation. It is extremely heartening to see staff in these areas gaining the skills and confidence to support the language and communication development of vulnerable young children so they don't get left behind. Importantly, they are also gaining strategies and ideas of how to work with parents, to help them to support their children’s development in the home.

In areas such as Birmingham and Merseyside newly trained early years settings are already identifying how adjustments can be made within their setting to promote speech, language and communication development, develop child – adult interactions, and improve practice as a whole.

If you are an early years practitioner interested in the ELDP please visit our ELDP map or contact to see if there is any training near you.

18th September 2014

Read On. Get On. – Have you read all about it?

We are proud to bring you the news that I CAN is a founding member of the 'Read On. Get On.' campaign coalition, led by Save the Children.

‘Read On. Get On.’ wants to make sure that 'every child is reading well at the age of 11 across the whole of the UK by 2025.' There’s also an interim target to get all five year olds communicating well by 2020.

Here at I CAN, we know how important it is for children to have good language skills from the earliest age, as a foundation for literacy.

The ELDP equips early years practitioners with the skills, strategies and resources to support the language development of very young children. It also uses ideas and resources, such as the Exploring Communication Development tool, to help those practitioners to encourage parents to support their children’s speech, language and communication development at home.

The ELDP has contributed directly to the campaign, having a case study featured in the Read On. Get On. research report.

I CAN’s website has plenty of information available about the important links between early language and communication development and literacy skills. This includes fact sheets and top tips on how to help children become good readers.

You can read more about the ‘Read On. Get On.’ campaign in I CAN’s blog , and explore the campaign in more detail on the Read On. Get On. website .

For something a little more visual take a look at Save the Children’s short campaign video , which brings home the message about the importance of reading well.

Let’s really make a difference; keep spreading the ELDP as far as we can, for as long as we can so that we can get all five year olds communicating well by 2020, and give all children the best chances of reading well by eleven by 2025.

11th August 2014

New research supports strategies which feature in the ELDP

Nursery World posted an article last week about a new piece of research which supports the value of some of the strategies used in the ELDP, in developing children’s speech, language and communication.

The study “emphasises the importance of talking to babies during social interactions even if they are not talking back yet.”

“Lead author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, said, ‘Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when babies are simply listening is significant because it means the brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start. It suggests that seven-month-olds’ brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words.'”

Click here to read the full article.

17th June 2014

SEND draft Code of Practice – how the ELDP fits in

Published this month, the draft Code of Practice for SEND, amongst many other things, highlights the importance of the 2-3 year old progress check stating:

“Progress check at age two

5.23 When a child is aged between two and three, early years practitioners must review progress and provide parents with a short written summary of their child’s development, focusing in particular on communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. This progress check must identify the child’s strengths and any areas where the child’s progress is slower than expected. If there are significant emerging concerns (or identified SEN or disability) practitioners should develop a targeted plan to support the child, involving other professionals such as, for example, the setting’s SENCO or the Area SENCO, as appropriate.

The summary must highlight areas where:

  • good progress is being made
  • some additional support might be needed
  • there is a concern that a child may have a developmental delay (which may indicate SEN or disability)”
  • The Progress Checker pad in the ELDP toolkit is a handy tool to help early years practitioners carry out the 2-3 year old progress check. This resource can also be purchased separately from I CAN’s online shop .

    The full draft document can be found here .

    10th April 2014

    The Department for Education backs the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP) with funding for another year

    The ELDP team are doubly celebrating this week. Firstly, the programme has exceeded its target of giving 12,000 local practitioners the knowledge, skills and confidence to support very young children’s language development.

    Secondly, we’re delighted that the Government has recognised the positive impact ELDP is having on practitioners, children and parents, and are thrilled that the Department for Education is funding it for a further year. Click here to view the evidence of impact.

    Department for Education backing for young children’s language development is welcome recognition of the fact that children’s language development is the foundation for all their learning and social relationships.

    In the second phase of the ELDP, we are focusing on children and families in areas of high deprivation. If you are interested in becoming part of this important programme, please contact the team at

    3rd April 2014

    End of Phase 1 - We’ve done it!

    We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of our ELDP lead practitioners who have contributed to Phase 1 of the Early Language Development Programme by delivering the training in their local area to early years practitioners, professionals, and parents.

    Thanks to all of the hard work from our lead practitioners we have not only reached our overall target, but exceeded it in fabulous fashion. We have now reached over 12,400 people in local training sessions, giving them the knowledge, confidence and skills to support speech, language and communication development of very young children.

    We think the number of reach might be even higher, so if you are a lead practitioner who has registers and evaluations which still need to be sent to us pop them in the post now!

    25th February 2014

    Early Years Conference 2014

    I CAN's stand at the Early Years Conference in London proved extremely popular with over 170 people visiting to find out more about the Early Language Development programme and other programmes and resources from I CAN. Naomi Eisenstadt chaired the morning session and speakers were from Ofsted, the Department of Education, and members of the Shadow Cabinet. For full details of the programme visit

    I CAN also presented morning and afternoon seminars. "Catching up with I CAN&", the seminar described our role in supporting families and children of all ages, focusing on early years programmes and resources. 210 people in total attended the seminars. Many were interested in the ELDP extension, as well as the licensee programme.

    For conference comments, see: Twitter - Early Years. If you would like a copy of the seminar presentation made by Kate Freeman, please contact the ELDP team

    6th December 2013

    Shine a Light Awards

    For the last few years, the Communication Trust has run an award scheme to showcase good practice across organisations supporting communication and language. This year is no different. The Communication Trust, which comprises of nearly 50 voluntary organisations focused on speech, language and communication, has just opened applications for the Shine a Light award in conjunction with Pearson Assessment.

    The deadline for entries is 10th January 2014. The most relevant categories for those involved in the Early Language Development Programme are:

    • Early Years Setting of the Year Award
    • Team of the Year Award
    • Innovation Award - New innovation in the SLC/N field
    • Communication Champion Award
    • Communication Strategy Award
    • Commissioning Award
    • Pearson Assessment Outstanding Achievement Award
    • The Working Together Award
    • Children's Workforce Award

    Further information and application forms can be found on the Pearson Website

    We know that there is some fantastic work going on across ELDP and we would love to see that recognised through one of these awards, so don’t be shy – recognise what you have done and fill out an application form now. Let us know if you have any questions!

    8th November 2013

    Emerging findings about the ELDP

    Our evaluation partners, OPM, recently released their interim evaluation report on the ELDP and we are really pleased with the findings.

    Up until the end of September 2013, almost 9,000 local practitioners had received cascaded training from lead practitioners, and this number is increasing all the time.

    Local practitioners’ reported ratings of confidence, knowledge and awareness of early years speech, language and communication development after training are remaining very high – with 93% reporting an increase.

    Lead practitioners are telling us that they are seeing improvements in attitudes and awareness of speech, language and communication development.

    Parents and carers are also seeing benefits from involvement with the ELDP with 83% reporting that their knowledge about supporting children to learn and talk had increased compared to a year ago.

    Download the interim report to find out more about the great work that the ELDP is doing and read first hand comments from lead practitioners, local practitioners and parents.

    24th September 2013

    Upcoming ELDP Events across the country!

    Lead practitioners from across London are invited to attend our London Boroughs Conference on 26th November. This will be an excellent chance for showcasing the great work being done across the city and will provide support to those who are finding it more difficult to get going.

    There will be opportunities to find out more about additional courses offered through I CAN such as the Good Practice Validation programme, and also time to discuss how parent engagement activities really make a difference.  Practitioners will be able to explore more of I CAN's Early Years resources with the ELDP team and pose any burning questions they have about the programme.

    The ELDP also has other upcoming support events including:

    7th October – we will be helping lead practitioners in Croydon to reach groups that find it hard to access training, such as crèche workers, child minders and volunteer parents.

    7th November – in Preston, Lancashire, we will be supporting the first of five parent engagement events.
    November/December (date TBC) – We will be role modeling Exploring Communication Development parent sessions to practitioners and champion parents in Doncaster, with a view to practitioners running these events in their local settings.

    31st August 2013

    We met our targets for August!

    The ELDP has now cascaded to around 9,000 early years workers and parents, which is fantastic!

    Thank you to all of the lead practitioners who are continuing to work hard, and to all of the local practitioners who attended training sessions in their area. We hope that you enjoyed the course and that you can go on to apply the skills and knowledge to support young children's communication development.

    6th August 2013

    We are still getting a lot of attendee sheets and evaluation forms in from lead practitioners, which is fantastic to see now that the summer term, and school, is over for another year.

    Remember to send in any completed paper work you may still have to the ELDP Team!

    July 2013

    Latest Evaluation Update

    We continue to receive extremely encouraging feedback about the ELDP. The latest evaluation update release, which tells us about satisfaction and changes in knowledge and awareness up until July, has been fantastic. Read on to find out more...
    Knowledge, Awareness and Confidence

    • 92% of local practitioners who have been trained felt the training had increased their awareness and knowledge to support children's early language development to at least some extent, and 91% felt that their ability to identify children with a language delay has increased to a great extent, or to some extent.
    • 83% of parents and carers reported their knowledge about supporting children to learn to talk has increased compared to a year ago.
    • 92% of lead practitioners (who delivered the training) felt that involvement in the ELDP would lead to or support improvements in attitudes and awareness of SLC development across early years settings in their area, and this follows with 93% feeling that the ELDP would also lead to better support for children's SLC development.

    Networking and Good Practice

    • 87% of lead practitioners who have cascaded training felt their involvement in the ELDP would support or lead to closer collaboration between theirs and other early years centres to share good practice to some, or a great extent.
    • 94% of local practitioners trained reported the ELDP training and resources have helped them improve their practice
    • 90% reported that the training and resources have helped them to work more closely with parents to support SLC development

    If you want to read the full report please contact the ELDP team at

    31st July

    We have reached our target for cascading in July!

    Our lead practitioners have now cascaded to over 7,000 early years practitioners, heath visitors, teachers etc.

    Let's keep up the great work and keep the cascading going!

    29th July 2013

    Thank you to our hubs/network in Hartlepool who have been very busy cascading. We received attendee sheets with 315 new names – fantastic work!

    23rd July 2013

    We have a new addition to the ELDP Team, Kelly Bracken, who replaces Hollie as Project Officer. Kelly comes to us from Next Generation Healthcare, in the Midlands.

    Welcome to the team Kelly!

    1st July 2013

    We are welcoming Helen Baldock to the ELDP Team today. Helen comes to us from a campaign called Climate Week and is joining I CAN as an Information Assistant. She will be working with the ELDP Team to support administration and communications of the ELDP and is looking forward to working in the Team.

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