Manor Park Talks

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, 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. The pilot will focus on five strategies that are associated with positive outcomes:

  • Conversational responsiveness
  • Interactive book-reading
  • Using songs, rhymes and stories to support expressing language
  • Print referencing to support emergent literacy
  • Listening for sounds

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 the trial, Sheringham Nursery School is partnering with UCL Institute of Education to update the ECAT programme manual and provide a more structured approach to implementation for settings in Newham. This will include undertaking a literature review and collecting practitioner feedback from the pilot. 

Why are we funding it?

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. This pilot represents an opportunity to develop a more structured approach to introducing the programme and evaluate its feasibility for wider roll-out.

It will also assess the feasibility of a mix of settings working together to embed a common approach with coaching and mentoring support. 

How are we evaluating it?

This will be a pilot evaluation, evaluated by a team from NatCen. The pilot will focus on assessing three key elements of the programme: its evidence of promise, feasibility and readiness for scaling up across Newham. Eight private, voluntary and independent (PVI) nurseries will be recruited to the trial, and will be partnered with six schools, which will act as mentors.

NatCen will collect a range of data from the participating settings, including interviews, case studies, observations of training, and programme materials. 

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2020.