Disadvantaged pre-school children will benefit from a £10m catch-up scheme to boost their language skills, the Department of Education has confirmed, following a request from Nursery World for more details on the £18m language support scheme announced last week.

The DfE said the £10m funding for pre-school disadvantaged children will be available for children in private, voluntary and independent early years settings, as well as maintained settings. A spokesperson said the DfE was working through the details for the new programme, which will include PVI nurseries, and that further information would be provided in due course.

The remaining £8m of the fund will be allocated to the Nuffield Foundation to deliver the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) for Reception children, which was launched in August 2020. More than a third of primary schools have signed up to the 20-week targeted programme designed to improve the oral language skills of children aged four to five in need of support.

In May 2020, the Education Endowment Foundation published the results of a large-scale effectiveness trial of the intervention. The results from 193 schools showed that the programme increased the language skills of four to five year-olds by an additional three months.

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