The first group of ambassadors for TALK Derby, the Government-funded project to help local children develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to succeed in life, have been announced. All the ambassadors were invited to take the role as they have demonstrated commitment to the project and consistently supported and promoted it since its launch in April 2019.

The new ambassadors come from a range of positions and organisations and all have a keen interest in promoting the importance of speech, language and communication between children and adults.

The ambassadors are:

  • Jane Calladine, Executive Head at Redwood Primary School and Chair of Derby City’s Primary Strategy Group
  • Wendy Colebourne, Head of Harrington Nursery School, Member of the Opportunity Area Board and the Early Years Working Group
  • Fiona Colton, Head of Early Help at Derby City Council
  • Lisa Sandercock, School Readiness Lead for Derby City Council
  • Will Turner, Business Development Manager at Derby County Community Trust

Wendy Colebourne, Head of Harrington Nursery School, said: “I believe speech, language and communication are very important in their impact on future learning and life chances for all. I feel very honoured to be a TALK Derby Ambassador and to be in a position to support this extremely important initiative across the city and spread the word in my own community and beyond.”

Will Turner, Business Development Manager for the Derby City Community Trust adds: “I became an ambassador for the project because I believe in its aims and objectives and feel the successful execution of them can enhance the city as a whole. In particular, it will improve education and schools and have additional benefits of better wellbeing, improved aspiration and attainment and more community cohesion. By being an ambassador, both myself and Derby County Community Trust can offer advice, guidance and influence, whilst championing the success of the project.”

TALK Derby is being co-ordinated for Derby City Council by early years consultancy, Hempsall’s. Project Director, Kate Freeman said:

“The support we have received from across the city for TALK Derby has been fantastic and we are delighted to be able to recognise those people who have been key in supporting and promoting the project. These are the first five to be appointed and we expect to be able to announce further names in the coming months.”

TALK Derby is a major Government programme to help local children develop the communication skills they need to learn, make friends, stay well and ultimately find jobs. The project was launched in June 2019 to improve life chances for children in the city, and the programme is already having a positive impact. More than 320 professionals have been trained, and 130 different schools and early years settings are now running activities to support children’s speech, language and communication development.

About TALK Derby

The £845,000 programme is funded by the Department for Education through the Derby Opportunity Area and is due to run until next September.

Derby is an Opportunity Area because local children from disadvantaged backgrounds have less chance of doing well at school and getting a good job. The city is 316th in the Social Mobility Commission’s Index of 324 local authority areas.

Research has shown that speech and language development in a child’s early years can influence their educational achievement and their employment opportunities into adulthood.