Starting in autumn this year, A Better Start Southend is looking to begin work on an innovative, 10-month (academic school year: September to July), Speech, Language and Communication (SLC) pilot project focusing on the transition for children into primary school.

The transition project, focusing on SLC as a catalyst for change, was initially proposed in response to primary school headteachers’ feedback in A Better Start Southend areas, regarding how they could be best supported and engaged.

The pilot project will be delivered within the schools and their ‘satellites’ (schools and their Early Years Private, Voluntary and Independent feeder settings), and it looks to develop collaborative working through this creating three or four hubs of SLC expertise within the ABSS wards, with a view to creating more if the pilot model proves successful.

Schools involved in the project will be aligned to their main feeder settings, with shared SLC learning to occur between feeder settings and schools. As parental engagement is key, schools and their feeder settings in the pilot must devise parental engagement activities. Also, those schools and settings involved in the pilot will have financial support available to them, enabling release time for visits and accredited Continuing Professional Development.

The pilot project will draw on the three following aspects:

  • Learning together – with opportunities for feeder settings and schools to share and build on their existing knowledge and expertise regarding children’s SLC development
  • Working together – to create a collaborative network focusing on SLC
  • Being together – with a Community Focus working with parents and carers

In addition to the above, the project will look to ensure all settings are encouraging parents to engage in the online ‘Weekend Talk Tips’ as the project develops, and develop network opportunities bringing all ‘Satellites’ together to share experiences, best practice and develop, devise and deliver bespoke mini-transition projects for their children around SLC needs.

The project is set to be a universal offer across A Better Start Southend wards, and will engage all invited providers and their families to support smooth transitions.

If you have any questions about this exciting pilot project being developed, please contact: Sian Ansell: sian.ansell@eyalliance.org.uk 01702 880383

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