Beverley Hughes Visits South Acton Children's Centre

Early Talk programme is launched in Acton

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South Acton Children's Centre in Ealing was yesterday the platform for the launch of plans to roll-out an innovative speech, language and communication programme for young children to 200 children's centres across England.


Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children and Families, and Ivan Lewis, Minister for Care Services, launched the roll-out during a visit to South Acton Children’s Centre to see how the Early Talk programme is already benefiting children and their families in a ward which I CAN considers one of London’s most disadvantaged wards.

During a visit to the centre yesterday morning, Beverley Hughes, and Ivan Lewis, Minister for Care Services, announced the roll-out of I CAN's Early Talk programme in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health.  Ministers praised the centre as an exemplar of joint multi-agency working involving the third sector. 

I CAN, the children's communication charity, works to develop speech, language and communication skills for all children, with a particular focus on children who find communication hard. The Early Talk programme is a unique, evidence-based programme designed to aid the communication development of all pre-school children through integrated therapy and educational approaches.

David Archibald, Executive Director, Children and Adults, said: "Ealing is a strong platform for the launch of this innovative programme to help young children improve their speech, language and communication skills. "Three of Ealing's children centres, including South Acton Children Centre, already offer specialist services to young children with speech and language difficulties, in partnership with I CAN. This package of support is now being widened so that even more children across Ealing will benefit from this innovative partnership between the council and the voluntary sector. Local evaluation has clearly demonstrated that the extra support early on has a positive impact on children's development and progress in school. The roll-out of the Early Talk professional training programme to reach more children early, when the right support can have the greatest impact, will further improve outcomes for children."

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive, said: "Communication is the essential 21st century life skill. We know that one in ten children across the UK has a communication disability. On top of this recent evidence shows that 50% of children are entering primary school with impoverished language. I CAN's Early Talk programme will have a huge impact in Children's Centres as it has done at South Acton.

"I CAN's Early Talk raises the communication skills of all children. This programme transforms settings. At the same time I CAN's Early Talk ensures that children with severe communication difficulties receive the specialist help and support they need. This is why it is imperative that Early Talk reaches as many children as possible."

May 11, 2007