Education Endowment Foundation:Communication Friendly Settings (trial)

Communication Friendly Settings (trial)

Elklan Training Ltd

Communication Friendly Settings is a whole-setting programme that aims to promote the speech, language and communication skills of all children.

Independent Evaluator

University of York ,

University of Sheffield

Sign-up deadline

31 July, 2024 at 12:00am

Key Stages

Early Years

Setting places


Regions available

Recruitment and Delivery

Recruitment: Dec 2023 – July 2024

Delivery: Sept 2024 – March 2025 / Sept 2025 – March 2026


- Maintained nurseries and Private, Voluntary and Independent early years settings can participate

- Settings must have at least 8 children attending 15+ hours 

Elklan provides online training and coaching to two staff (Lead Communication Practitioners or LCPs) from each setting who cascade a shorter course, and provide mentoring, to the whole staff team in their nursery. The LCPs then lead in embedding practice change for the setting to gain Communication Friendly Settings status.

The two LCPs from each nursery are trained by Elklan Tutors in cohorts of 10 – 15 using Elklan’s training package for 3 – 5 year olds. This consists of 10 sessions. For each of the 10 session the learners undertake all three of the following activities; 10 interactive self-study eLearning sessions, 10 live group webinars and completion of Learning Log tasks. Completing the above course and learning log leads to accreditation at level 3 through an Ofqual approved and regulated national awarding organisation. The two LCPs are also trained, equipped, and supported to cascade their learning to the whole staff team and to make changes to the practice and environment in their setting, leading to them gaining accreditation at level 4 through an Ofqual approved and regulated national awarding organisation, and their settings gaining a Communication Friendly Setting status award.

As part of the Department for Education’s Early Years Recovery Programme, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is working with Stronger Practice Hubs across England to fund Early Years settings’ access to evidence-informed programmes and study the programme’s influence on practice and children’s outcomes. This initiative aims to support education recovery following the pandemic, whilst also developing our understanding of effective professional development in the early years.

The EEF is working with East Midlands Early Years Stronger Practice Hub and The Great North Stronger Practice Hub to fund settings’ access to Communication Friendly Settings and evaluate the programme through an efficacy trial.

The EEF is interested in funding an evaluation of this intervention, because it is a popular programme that has been accessed widely across the EY sector. We also feel the programme fills gaps in the evidence base, with live online, collaborative training and a cascade model, which is a promising approach to continuing professional development. Elklan’s Communication Friendly Settings programme aims to encourage the use of both explicit and implicit practices, which is considered to be a promising approach for an educational programme.

The EEF has commissioned the University of York and the University of Sheffield to conduct this efficacy trial. This trial will assess the impact of the programme on 3 – 4 year olds in 166 state maintained, Private, Voluntary and Independent early years settings. The success of the programme will be measured by comparing children’s language skills using two age-appropriate assessment tools.

Key evaluation activities will include two short early years practitioner surveys about their experiences in their settings. Some settings will also be visited by the evaluators to gain more in-depth feedback.

Maintained nurseries and Private, Voluntary and Independent early years settings in the following Local Authorities can register their interest in taking part in this research project:

Settings in the Pen Green Stronger Practice Hub area: 

Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, North Northamptonshire, Rutland and West Northamptonshire Local Authorities.

Settings in the The Great North Stronger Practice Hub area:

County Durham, Newcastle, Northumberland Local Authorities.

Settings in the the South West Stronger Practice Hub area: 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Isles of Scilly, Plymouth, Torbay Local Authorities.

East Midlands, Great North, South West, Northern Lights, Bright Futures and St Edmund’s Early Years Stronger Practice Hubs are funding the project with the EEF. 

To register your interest, please follow this link Communication Friendly Settings for Early Years programme | Elklan Training Ltd.