Oral Language Interventions (Early Years)

Nuffield Early Language Intervention

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention is an evidence-based oral language intervention for children in nursery and reception who show weakness in their oral language skills and who are therefore at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading. It is delivered over 30 weeks by teaching assistants in groups of 3-4 children.

The intervention was developed by a team from the University of York, who subsequently carried out a randomised control trial in 15 schools and feeder-nurseries across Yorkshire. After 30 weeks, the children who had received the intervention had improved expressive language skills, including the use of vocabulary and grammar. Their letter-sound knowledge and spelling also improved, indicating the foundations of phonics were in place.

In 2016, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published an evaluation study of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention. The statistically significant results from 34 schools demonstrated that the programme increased the attainment of levels of 4- to 5- year-olds in vocabulary, grammar and listening skills and improved language and children’s confidence. The EEF designated the intervention as a ‘promising project’ and a further, larger-scale trial involving 200 classrooms is in train.

We are delivering the Nuffield Early Language Intervention in partnership with Oxford University Press (OUP). If you want to find out more about how to use the intervention in your school, visit the OUP website.