6 December 2021

The RCSLT and children’s communication charities Voice 21 and I CAN, have published a policy statement on the relationship between spoken language and children’s literacy and numeracy skills. The statement outlines the negative impact of poorer spoken language, particularly following the pandemic, and urges the Government to take action.

RCSLT are thrilled to join Voice 21 and I CAN in highlighting the centrality of spoken language to children’s attainment and life chances.

We urge the Government to make this part of any efforts to recover children’s education following the pandemic, so all children and young people are able to achieve their potential, both in school and life.

Research has shown that poor language skills at age five significantly impact children’s literacy and numeracy at age 11, and children in areas of social disadvantage are at greater risk of this.

This gap only widens with time, and children who have difficulties with spoken language fall further behind as they progress through school. These gaps have been further impacted by the pandemic, with 1.5 million children now at risk of not developing the spoken language skills they need.

Oral language interventions have been shown to effectively address these issues by supporting the development of spoken language. They have a very high impact on pupil’s academic attainment at a very low cost, leading to approximately six additional months of progress over the course of a year.

Read the full policy statement (PDF) from RCSLT, Voice 21, and I CAN.

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