26 March 2021

New vision for babies and children under 2 in England

The UK government has published a new vision for babies and children under two in England, which aims to ensure every baby gets a better start in life.

The best start for life: a vision for the 1,001 critical days’ recognises that the first 1,001 days is a critical period for developing communication skills, and that SLTs are part of the ‘Start for Life’ workforce. The publication comes as the result of the Early Years Healthy Development Review, which was commissioned by the Prime Minister and chaired by Andrea Leadsom MP. 

RCSLT Chief Executive Kamini Gadhok was part of the advisory group which provided perspectives, experience and specialist expertise to the review team. SLTs Janet Cooper and Michelle Morris also presented to the review team as part of a deep dive into speech and language therapy, which was coordinated by the RCSLT.

The review team will now work to implement the vision set out in the report, focusing on six action areas:

  • Seamless support for families: a coherent, joined-up Start for Life offer available to all families
  • A welcoming hub for families: family hubs as a place for families to access Start for Life services
  • The information families need, when they need it: designing digital, virtual and telephone offers around the needs of the family
  • An empowered Start for Life workforce: developing a modern, skilled workforce to meet the changing needs of families
  • Continually improving the Start for Life offer: improving data, evaluation, outcomes and proportionate inspection
  • Leadership for change: ensuring local and national accountability and building the economic case. A Cabinet Minister will oversee implementing the agreed actions from the Review and ensure that Start for Life is kept at the heart of policy-making decisions across Government.

The RCSLT looks forward to continuing to work with the review team, colleagues across government and the speech and language therapy profession to support implementation of the actions in the report and ensure children and families get the help and support they need.