TALK Derby, a major Government programme aimed at improving education and future job opportunities of local children, has been expanded to cover the entire city.

TALK Derby was launched last June with the aim of improving children’s social mobility by supporting development of their speech, language and communication skills.

The initial focus was on eight particularly disadvantaged inner city wards, where childminders, nursery and other early years practitioners have been able to access free training in how to spot and address issues.

In less than six months, the project has succeeded in training 151 early years professionals and recruited 99 champions who work with children. In addition, nearly 200 people have made a pledge to support the project by talking more to the children in their lives.

Following this success, the Derby Opportunity Area Board which oversees the project has extended the scope of TALK Derby to cover the entire city.

This means any early years organisation in Derby can now apply to access free support and training via the TALK Derby website.

The programme is being co-ordinated by Leicester-based early years consultancy Hempsall’s. Project Director Kate Freeman said:

“We’re delighted the Board has agreed to extend TALK Derby. This means even more settings can apply to access free training and support, helping more children in Derby to improve their communication, speech and language skills.”

Organisations which have just become eligible are being urged to register their interest as soon as possible for training opportunities in the Spring term, which starts in January.

Kate added:

“We’d encourage any schools, nurseries and childminders which haven’t yet taken up the free training and support to book now. We expect places to be taken up quickly.”