Targeted support for pupils with poor language skills

Research shows that children with delayed language benefit from effective, targeted support. Evaluations of targeted language programmes have shown that:

Children aged 4-7 made on average between 9 and 18 months progress in their spoken language following a ten week intervention.

Watch this video of a targeted language session being run

  • Children aged 7-10 made significant progress in language and communication, with 67% catching up with their peers in understanding language following Talk Boost KS2, an 8-week targeted intervention. These video clips show a targeted approach to learning new words and ways to teach clarification strategies
  • Younger children supported by Early Talk Boost, an intervention aimed at 3-4 year old children with delayed language, made on average six months’ progress after the nine-week intervention.
Watch Early Talk Boost in practice here
In addition to this, adaptations to the classroom and teaching will be necessary. These could include:
  • Use of simplified language and chunking of information
  • Visual prompts to support independent work as well as to ensure comprehension
  • Staff who ensure understanding and allow pupils to seek more information
  • Extra time given if needed to complete work

Read these example case studies demonstrating support for Primary and Secondary aged pupils with delayed language.

As part of the requirement for all staff to support the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), these adaptations should be part of everyday practice in a classroom.

Want to read more?

There is evidence to indicate that education staff supporting children with targeted support for their delayed language can be effective, but that they should have sufficient training and skills in order to deliver language interventions. This paper sets out the issues.

Read real-life case studies from schools who have successfully implemented a targeted approach to supporting children with delayed language.

Communicating the Code, guidance on implementing the Code of Practice for pupils with SLCN, contains practical information, case studies and links to great resources to help all those involved with children and young people with SLCN fulfil their responsibilities.


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