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Boosting Language Auditory Skills and Talking Programme

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Boosting Language Auditory Skills and Talking programme. (251333)

The Boosting Language and Auditory Skills and Training programme is a package designed to enhance and enrich the speech, language and communication skills of three to four-year-olds. The programme is being used in over 900 settings, mainly in nurseries as well as playgroups, crèches, parent toddler groups etc. It operates in a number of local authorities mainly in the North East and we understand it has been effective their early years settings.

BLAST is one of many programmes providing early years settings with training and resources to improve the quality of communication and language provision. These programmes have contributed to improving practitioners' knowledge and understanding of early language development as well as creating a rich language environment within settings.

Early language development is a key factor for a child's future success both academically and socially. Through Every Child A Talker we are providing support and funding for early years practitioners in young children's speaking and listening skills. Local authorities are able to use their Every Child a Talker funding flexibly, so that practitioners can take advantage of a range of professional development on early language including BLAST.