Language Intervention in the Early Years

Project Update

Due to COVID-19, we had to ‘press pause’ on the study in March 2020. We started working with schools again in March 2021. We made some changes to the project and updated the information for schools on the About page and in the Ethics section of this website. 

Our main priority is to keep everyone safe so we have produced a risk assessment which is also available on the About page. 

LIVELY Project

Newcastle University is conducting a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of language interventions for pre-school children in nursery contexts with significant language difficulties.

This research project, funded by the Heather van der Lely Foundation, aims to evaluate the effectiveness of language interventions for children with language difficulties by randomly allocating schools to one of two groups:

  • Building Early Sentences Therapy (BEST) was developed by Newcastle University in partnership with speech and language therapists and has promising early signs of effectiveness.
  • The Derbyshire Language Scheme (DLS) has been used widely for many years. The study will use an adapted version of this scheme.

The benefits of the project:

This is an excellent opportunity to involve local authority staff and schools in innovative research. There is no cost for participating in the project.

  • Eligible children, in all participating schools, will benefit from receiving a language intervention delivered by a qualified speech and language therapist. 
  • All schools will have access to a series of CPD sessions, offered by the research team, focused on supporting children with language difficulties. This will increase the skills of staff and support schools to achieve their goal of providing effective language support to all children.
  • All schools will receive a certificate in recognition of their work as a research participant and their commitment to promoting robust language development in the early years.
  • Whichever group a school is in, they will be helping to identify which intervention is most appropriate. All participating schools will be trained in the use of this intervention.
  • All schools, parents and project partners will be offered a summary of the findings, once the project is complete.


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