Responding to a new report by the Children’s Commissioner into speech and language help for children before they start school, James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“Children’s early speech and language skills are the foundations upon which all future learning is built. If children fall behind in the early years it can prove difficult, often impossible, for them to catch up later, even with additional help.”
In a recent NAHT survey of school leaders, 86 per cent believed that school readiness has become worse over the past five years, and speech, language and communication issues were identified as the greatest concern, with 97 per cent identifying this as a problem, and almost half (47 per cent) saying it was the most significant issue.
Mr Bowen continued: “Early intervention is key, but schools are finding it harder and harder to access specialist help from speech and language therapists, as both school budgets and local authority budgets are cut. Investment is vitally needed to enable these crucial experts to continue their work.”
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