Primary school pupils with speech, language and communication needs will benefit from extra support following the launch of a new project.
Supported by Essex County Council, the early intervention project starts in mid Essex this month following a successful pilot during 2015/16, with specialist support based at Powers Hall Infant School in Witham and Trinity Road Primary School in Chelmsford.
Evidence suggests pupils who have speech and language difficulties can quickly catch up with their peers if they receive intensive support early in their school lives.
The project will allow small cohorts of pupils from mainstream primary schools across mid Essex, including Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon, to receive specialist support at one of the two host schools.
All pupils will remain on the roll of their own primary school but will be educated off site for a period of up to four terms.
Placements will be reviewed on a termly basis, helping monitor pupil progress and ensure their own schools remain closely involved.
By catching up with their peers and returning to their usual school it is hoped pupils will not require an education, health and care plan in the future.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “We are committed to ensuring all children in Essex receive the best possible education and all pupils’ individual needs are met.
“I am delighted this exciting new project is being launched in mid Essex and hope it will prove a big success.
“Early intervention is vital in addressing speech and language difficulties, and the specialist support available at the two host schools should mean pupils can quickly reach the expected level.”
Claire Jaques, Headteacher at Powers Hall Infant School, which trialled the project last year, said: “Our successful pilot project has demonstrated the benefits to young children of working in this way.
“We are looking forward to working in partnership with the local authority and local schools to meet the speech, language and communication needs of many more young children in our locality in the future.”
Nicola Morgan-Soane, Headteacher at Trinity Road Primary School, added: “This is a very exciting project and an excellent opportunity to get the right help to children at a critical time in their speech and language development.
“As a school we are excited that the staff’s expertise is being used to support children with their specific needs and will enable them to return quickly to their local school to achieve great outcomes in line with their peers.”