Programme launched to boost Bradford children’s development by empowering parents

31 Aug 2017

We have recently launched a new programme in Bradford, working with the parents of two-year-old children to boost parental engagement and language and literacy levels across the city.

Early Words Together at Two is an initiative designed to help parents support their young child’s literacy and language development. The programme trains nursery staff to work with parents, building parents’ confidence so that they can support their child’s development at home.

The early years home environment is crucial to a child’s development, with research showing that it can have a greater impact on a child’s intellectual, social and emotional growth than the education, job or wealth of their parents.

Working with St. Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre, the programme will take place in 12 early years settings across Bradford with five weekly sessions for parents and children. In each session, a staff member will guide the parent and child through activities that, when enjoyed at home, are known to have a significant impact on a child’s communication and cognitive development. 

Early Words Together at Two is an adaptation of our Early Words Together programme, which is proven to increase 3-5 year old children’s language development. It will build on the success of our previous Early Language and Literacy Project in Bradford, a pilot project which boosted development scores across eight Bradford primary schools by an average of 12%.

However, overall development scores in Bradford still fall below the national average. 66.2% of children in Bradford reached a good level of development at the end of the early years foundation stage in 2016, compared with 69.3% nationally. 

Clare McGread, Early Years Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Parents are the most vital figures in a child’s early development, Working with early years professionals in Bradford, we want to equip parents with the skills and confidence they need to provide a happy and productive home learning environment for their children. We’ve worked in Bradford for many years with our Bradford Literacy Campaign, and we’re excited to continue this work engaging parents and children across the city.”

Andrea Layzell, Workforce Development Leader from St Edmund's Nursery School and Children's Centre Services said: "I am delighted to be working with the National Literacy Trust and nursery staff in Bradford to help parents of two-year-olds better support their child’s learning at home. We want to raise parents' confidence and introduce them to activities that they can share with their children at home. 

“It's very exciting to be able to work within a framework that help parents and early years settings to work together to improve outcomes for the children of Bradford. As passionate advocates for engaging parents, who we know are the experts on their child, the St Edmund's team is very pleased to be one of only two local authorities to have secured involvement in the programme for Bradford." 

We are part of a consortium of four charities who are working together to support families and practitioners to improve the home learning environments of disadvantaged children. The consortium has received a Department for Education grant of £430,000 as part of a wider £55 million government investment in childcare schemes.