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Thousands of primary schools across England are delivering another year of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme.

NELI is aimed at four and five-year-olds starting school who need extra support with speech and language development. The Department for Education is funding the catch-up programme for a fourth year to support Reception-age pupils who were toddlers during the Covid pandemic.

At the same time, a new evaluation by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) shows just how effective NELI is. Their research found that the programme boosts young children’s language skills by four months, and that children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) made up to seven months’ additional progress. This means NELI could help to close the language development gap between socio-economically disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

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