The Learning Language and Loving It programme (LLLI) provides training for Early Years practitioners to promote language and early literacy. It provides practical strategies that can be easily woven into everyday activities that help all children build language and social skills. These strategies include encouraging children to initiate and engage in conversational interaction, encouraging extended individual and group conversations between adults and children, and modelling more sophisticated language to expand the child’s oral language skills and facilitate the development of abstract language.
In this project, LLLI will be delivered by Communicate SLT CIC, a Blackpool-based organisation with experience of delivering Hanen programmes. Speech and Language Therapists and Early Years Professionals who are Hanen-licensed trainers will deliver the professional development to groups of Early Years staff from state-maintained and PVI nurseries. Training consists of eight, 2.5‑hour group training sessions (total 20 hours) interspersed with six individual video feedback sessions. In the video feedback sessions, Early Years staff video their interactions with children and review their progress in embedding the LLLI strategies with their programme tutor. Following findings from the first LLLI trial (which was disrupted by Covid-19) the proposal is to provide half of the training workshops through live online webinar and three-quarters of the video feedback sessions via video call. The schedule of online and face-to-face sessions is being piloted first, ahead of the trial.
There are therefore two streams of work within this project:
- The LLLI programme delivered to around 15 state-maintained and PVI nursery settings in the Liverpool area between February 2022 and July 2022, to pilot the approach of the training having both online and face-to-face elements.
- An efficacy trial of the LLLI programme in 150 state-maintained and PVI nursery settings between September 2022 and July 2023 across the 3 DfE Regional School Commissioner regions, ‘The North’, ‘East-Midlands and the Humber’ and ‘West-Midlands’ to look at the impact of the programme.
As part of the Department for Education’s Accelerator Fund, the EEF is commissioning a number of efficacy trials of programmes that show promise for increasing pupil attainment.
The LLLI programme was recommended for further evaluation by a recent EEF-funded review of early language. It is well-informed by research on child development and early language. The EEF previously funded a trial of LLLI but the training and evaluation were disrupted due to Covid-19. A report focusing on the implementation and process evaluation of the project will be published here in Spring 2022. The EEF is re-starting the trial to establish the impact of the programme on children’s language skills and take forward and any lessons learned from the first implementation and process evaluation.
We have appointed a team from NatCen, led by Dr Berenice Scandone, to evaluate the programme. NatCen have designed an efficacy trial to examine the impact of the programme on 3 – 4 year old children’s language development and on staff’s practice. Delivery of the training programme will begin from September 2022 and language outcomes will be measured at the end of the academic year. A process evaluation will be conducted to examine how the programme is implemented.
The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2024.