Speech, language and communication (SLC) is one of the key foundation stones to a child’s development and future learning. It is highly recognised and researched that speech, language and communication barriers for children at an early age can create major difficulties as they move through the education system and into adulthood. England is facing a huge language and literacy challenge which starts in early years. The language and vocabulary gap between wealthier and poorer children, is already apparent at 18 months of age. By the age of 5 children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are starting school in year one, 19 months behind their peers and struggle to catch up from then on.

Speech, Language and Communication together with Physical development and Personal, Social and Emotional development, form the three prime areas of learning with the Early Years Foundation Stage. The ways in which a child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas of learning and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. The prime areas of learning begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences and underpin all others of learning.

The Black Country Early Outcomes website is designed to:

  • support parents, practitioners and professionals across the Black Country
  • support in the early identification of speech, language and communication needs
  • enable parents, practitioners and professional to understand the expected levels of speech, language and communication (SLC) development,
  • provide support on the development of SLC within the home and settings,
  • provide information on where, when and how to find more specialist support.
  • provide practitioners with access to training opportunities,
  • support settings and parents enabling them to create a language rich environment for all children.

All information has been brought together through a cross border, multi-agency team with colleagues from Education, Early Help, Health Visiting and Speech and Language Therapy services.

Black Country Early Outcomes project: Final evaluation report

The Black Country Education Insight report 2019