Home » Education Technology » Supporting pupils’ speech and language needs for future success

Professor Charles Hulme

Founder, OxEd & Assessment

On average, one in five pupils in classrooms across the country (some 1.7 million young people) are falling behind with talking and understanding words1 – an increase of almost 200,000 from pre-pandemic levels.

The ability to talk and listen affects our ability to read, write and learn at school. Without a broad vocabulary, children struggle to access and understand all areas of the curriculum. It can affect how we behave, make friends, manage our mental health and even our future careers, with those who start school with poor vocabulary twice as likely to be unemployed as adults.

Keeping track of pupil learning 

With the right provision in place, outcomes for these children can be significantly improved. This is why the world’s leading digital media learning company, Pearson, and OxEd & Assessment, leaders in evidence-based assessment apps and interventions, have joined forces to ensure more children have access to the right support to reverse this trend.

By using evidence-based educational assessments and targeted early intervention, schools can quickly and easily identify children who have language or reading challenges and are in danger of falling further behind.

Assessment tools like LanguageScreen and the newly released ReadingScreen provide an accurate profile of each child so that progress can be tracked and targeted interventions, such as the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), can be used to help close the gap. 

Pearson and OxEd are committed to working together to improve educational outcomes for children throughout the UK. 

Identifying children who need help

It was estimated that during the pandemic, pupils lost over half of their expected days in the classroom2 and around a third of their learning. The impact of this on pupil progress and the widening disadvantage gap has been widely reported, and we know — through studies from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)3 and others — that the language, literacy and numeracy skills of primary school pupils have all been affected. So far, OxEd’s work with over 500,000 children in over 10,000 schools has identified 55,000 children who would benefit from educational support.

Effective intervention has lasting impact

As the most well-evidenced early language programme available globally, NELI is supported by teaching handbooks, resources, flashcards, asynchronous training and mentor support. Rigorous randomised controlled trials have shown NELI improves children’s language by an additional 3–5 months, with the positive impact on this and classroom behaviour still seen up to two years later.

Through scientifically backed assessments, proven classroom interventions and a deep understanding of how to support teachers, Pearson and OxEd are committed to working together to improve educational outcomes for children throughout the UK.

[1] https://speechandlanguage.org.uk/media/4287/1-point-7-million-young-futures.pdf
[2] https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/abstract. asp?index=8228
[3] https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/news/ eef-publishes-report-on-the-impact-of-the-pandemic-on-key-stage-1-pupils-attainment

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