Derby City Council has been awarded a share of £800,000 Early Outcomes Fund to improve early language outcomes for children from birth to five years old through high quality local services.

Derby worked with Leicester City Council, the lead authority for the partnership work and Nottingham City Council to write a bid for government funding to undertake the work.

The money will be used across the three authorities working together in order to learn from and support each other. The partnership is one of only eight in the country to receive this funding.

The funding will enable council officers in education, health and social care to improve systems at a strategic level that build on the speech, language and communication work funded by the Opportunity Area.  The work will include an audit of current provision and needs including the needs of families, providers and communities.

A key aim of the work is the development of a strategy which will identify how to improve speech, language and communication outcomes, and ensure that children’s communication skills are supported in the best way and then developing a pathway to help people access the support they need.

Speech, language and communication underpin learning in all curriculum subjects and areas of learning at all ages and are, therefore, critical to the ongoing achievement of all children and young people. Development of these skills in the early years will support and enhance children’s learning throughout their school life and beyond.

Further funding of £150,000 from the Department for Education will go towards professional development for the early years workforce in language, literacy and mathematics. This will ensure high quality training that supports children and their families.

Pauline Anderson, Interim Director of Learning and Skills, said

“This funding provides us with a wonderful opportunity to invest in the early years by aligning and improving services and provision that support the development of our youngest children’s speech, language and communication skills.  We look forward to improving information for families in Derby about what is available and how the services are connected so that families do not have to tell us about their needs more than once, and ensuring that support is provided in the right place and at the right time”.