IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE professor awarded funding for project to help socially disadvantaged children's language skills

17 July 2018

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) professor Julie Dockrell has received over £350,000 for a project aiming to enhance socially disadvantaged children's language skills and language-learning environment

Beginning in 2019 and running until the end of 2020, the Nuffield Foundation-funded project 'Empowering staff to enhance oral language in the early years', will be led by Professor Dockrell with support from Professor James Law (Newcastle University) and Sandra Mathers (University of Oxford).

The project will seek to embed effective practice in order to help improve socially disadvantaged children's language skills.

Social disadvantage is closely associated with language delay which impacts on social-emotional and behavioural development and the ability to access the curriculum. Four-year-olds from the poorest 30 per cent of neighbourhoods are 11% less likely than their peers to reach expected levels in language and communication and 9% less likely to reach the expected level in social and emotional development.

Taking place in the south east and north east of England, the trial hopes to empower staff to support children's oracy skills, identify what barriers they face in this and what drives successful development.

The team will build upon Talking Time, an evidence based resource devised by Professor Dockrell and IOE Emeritus Professor Morag Stuart, by developing staff's continuing professional development activities in order to support them implementing work on language skills.

Media contact

Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations
T: +44 (0)20 3108 8515
E: rowan.walker@ucl.ac.uk