Manor Park Talks is based on Every Child a Talker (ECAT), a course of training for early years staff which helps them to identify and support children with early language development difficulties including through resources and audit tools. The intervention aims to create pedagogical change in the settings through a set of core strategies that practitioners can be trained to deliver, whilst also aiming to achieve impact without significantly increasing practitioner workload.
Studies of communication and language approaches consistently show positive benefits for young children’s learning, including their spoken language skills, their expressive vocabulary and their early reading skills. ECAT is a widely used programme in the early years sector, but there is substantial variation in how it is now implemented and supported
The ECAT programme has been widely used since its introduction as part of the National Strategies, but has not been rigorously evaluated and there appears to be wide variation in how it is now implemented. As part of this pilot, Sheringham Nursery School partnered with UCL Institute of Education to update the ECAT programme manual and provide a more structured approach to implementation for settings in Newham
Our pilot of Manor Park Talks involved 8 nursery settings in Newham. The independent evaluation found that the full set of 5 strategies that practitioners were initially introduced to was perceived to be daunting. The formative nature of the evaluation meant that these emerging findings were shared with the developers, and the decision was made that MPT was primarily an intervention about conversational responsiveness and the specific techniques to improve this
Practitioners reported that the revised version of Manor Park Talks focusing on specific conversational responsiveness techniques was easier to apply than the full set of strategies set out in the initial design. This pilot was funded by EEF to see whether the intervention was ready to be delivered across all nurseries in Newham. The evaluation concluded that the revised intervention could be implemented across all settings in Newham.