Calderdale families will receive extra support to nurture their children’s early speech, language and communication skills at home, to help give them the best possible start in life.
This comes after Calderdale Council was chosen to take part in a national pilot for new communication training for health visitors, launched by the Department for Education and Public Health England.
Calderdale is one of eight areas chosen in Yorkshire and Humber, and one of 42 nationally.
Projects around the country, totalling nearly £18 million, will include additional training for health visitors who work with families of young children to spot speech, language and communication needs in the crucial early years, helping to address and support concerns when they can have the most impact.
In Calderdale, health visitors are part of the Public Health Early Years’ Service, commissioned by Calderdale Council and provided by Locala Community Partnerships.
Health visitors offer support to new parents at home, and are a single point of contact between families and any other health and social care professionals who are providing support. The service will take part in the new training, delivered by the Institute of Health Visitors.
Councillor Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “Getting the right support early on in life is so important. A child’s development starts at home, long before school, where everyday activities like playing, reading and chatting with your child are an opportunity for learning.
“We know that some parents need extra support to prepare their children for school. Health visitors play a great support role day in, day out, and now the new training will give them extra skills and confidence to recognise when a child may need more help with their language and literacy.”
The projects supporting children’s early communication skills are part of the Secretary of State for Education’s ambition to halve the number of children who do not achieve the expected level of communication and language standards for early years (from 28% to 14%).
The first phase of training with Calderdale’s health visitors is anticipated to start early in the New Year.