How are the speech, language and communication needs of our youngest children being supported in the City?

Here in Nottingham, we want all 0-5 year olds to develop speech, language and communication skills to the best of their ability.

What we mean by speech, language and communication is....

  • Speech - The sounds they make
  • Language - The words they use
  • Communication - How they engage with others

We can achieve this by;

  • The right support being available at the right time
  • Our youngest children being prepared for, and enjoying, school
  • People looking after themselves, making healthy choices and having good mental health and wellbeing
  • People having good employment prospects and;
  • People having improved life chances.

To ensure that no child or family misses out on the support they might need, anyone working with children aged 0-5 years, must work together with parents and carers.  Our vision is to extend this up to 25 years in the future.

Based on information from health, education and children's services, we know that some speech, language and communication activities and interventions will have the most significant impact to help us achieve our vision.  The impact of these activities will be seen in;

  • An increase in participation in free early years entitlement places
  • Fewer children being identified with language delay at the 2.5 and 3.5 year Healthy Child Programme Reviews
  • More children achieving a good level of development in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile
  • Access to a Speech and Language Therapist in a timely manner, if needed

This is the full DRAFT strategy which has been written in consultation with partners and has been ratified by Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBB), who are the lead body for implementation. 

We are currently consulting on this strategy with parents and carers about what is important to them in relation to their child's speech, language and communication and also with all sectors of the workforce around the proposed collective aims of the strategy.  Both consultations will run until 30th November 2021.

To complete the Parents and Carers Consultation - please click here

To complete the Workforce Consultation - please click here

The consultation outcomes will be fed back to the Health and Wellbeing Board and the ratified strategy published and shared, alongside the supporting action plan, responsibility for which will be jointly shared across a range of partners.

Where has the Speech, Language and Communication Strategy come from?

Nottingham City Children's Services has been a delivery partner in the Early Outcomes Fund with Leicester City Council and Derby City Council. The work under this fund aims to help us better understand and improve early language identification and support for speech, language and communication needs so we can better co-ordinate our offer for children and families.

Two key focuses of this work have been the development of a Speech, Language and Communication Strategy and a Speech, Language and Communication Pathway.

Better Communication CIC produced a report 'Identification and Intervention for Speech, Language and Communication in the early years: A summary for the Early Outcomes Fund project in Leicester, Derby & Nottingham cities' which identified needs in the City and recommendations for developing a local strategy.  We know this strategy must have shared responsibility for implementation, management and evaluation across all sectors of the 0-5 workforce in order to produce the desired outcomes.

This strategy is currently out for consultation and we will be sharing further updates at the Children and Young People’s Partnership Board, including the action plan to achieve the aims and outcomes noted in the draft strategy and the outcomes of the consultations.

Update on the Speech, Language and Communication Pathway (updated September 2021)

We are so pleased to be able to share with you the Balanced System® Speech, Language and Communication Pathway, which is now available to all parents and professionals working with children and young people across the UK. 

What is the Pathway and where did it come from?

The pathway, launched to the cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby on 16th March 2021, was developed as part of an Early Outcomes Fund project in the East Midlands.  We wanted a common framework in which to set out our local pathway journeys to meet the needs of our local populations and centralise all resources into one place, at both local and national level.  We achieved this in Nottingham through working in partnership with a wide range of services, including the voluntary sector and parents.

How can you use it?

Simply go to and the pathway tool navigates the provisions available for parents, carers and professionals to help all children and young people develop their speech, language and communication, as well as for those with identified speech, language and communication needs.  You can follow a series of questions leading to relevant information and resources, which is targeted at the 0-5 year age range, simply choose which are most useful, view or ‘add’ the resource to create your own pathway, which can be saved and added to at a later date. Please note that the Pathway functions best when opened in Google Chrome.

What can you do?

Please share the pathway link and watch this clip for a demonstration of the pathway in action, this is self-explanatory and tells you everything you need to know about using the pathway.  It would be great if you could share this information with your teams, colleagues, partners and families.

What next?

There are plans to extend the age range for the pathway tool and we are currently developing a citywide, written, full Speech, Language and Communication Strategy, which we aim to publish later this year.

How can you request local resources are included in the Pathway?

We hope we have captured the vast range of brilliant work taking place in the City.  If there is a resource we’ve missed that you think would be useful to include, please email to discuss a pathway entry.

First 100 Words

Also, as a ‘Back to Basics’ reminder, please refer to this list identifying the first 100 words that children typically use when they are starting to speak.  This isn’t a checklist but is a useful tool for early identification regarding children’s early language that can be used to support interactions within provision, as well as sharing with parents.