Sarah Wareing, EYFS Consultant

Language is at the heart of what we do in the EYFS and research from the EEF’s Preparing for Literacy document clearly outlines the importance for prioritising the development of communication, language and early reading. As a consultant, a lot of my work focusses on this as we know that children who start EYFS with low levels of language are already at a disadvantage. Closing this gap is imperative for children’s future learning.

The Launchpad for Literacy Skills Framework is very detailed, and it gives a detailed progression showing the small steps of development. The schools that I support that have Launchpad for Literacy, use it as part of their curriculum progression. It clearly identifies the many different strands of language and early phonological awareness. I have given teams support to develop their understanding of the Skills Framework and to see how to integrate this into their practice. This support has enabled them to embed and use the approach most productively. As a consultant, I use the Launchpad Skills Framework when I am working with practitioners to reflect on and develop their practice. These are just some of the ways I have used Launchpad for Literacy and the supporting documents to support my work with practitioners in schools

  • Developing subject knowledge of language development - I have delivered CPD on the Skills Framework individually with staff in the setting, at team meetings and moderations. I have looked at the different strands in depth with teams, focussing on the child development in these areas. Developing subject knowledge has helped staff to reflect on their provision and the learning opportunities that they provide.
  • Developing adult-child interaction - I work with practitioners helping them to reflect on their practice and also to model practice. Adult-child interaction is a complex process and I have used the Skills Framework to base discussions around the stage children are at in their learning. Through identifying where children are it has helped practitioners identify the small next step the child needs and their role in supporting this. They can then see clearly the skill I am wanting a child to develop when I am modelling adult-child interaction within the provision.
  • Defining and developing a language rich environment - A language rich environment is a term that is used a lot, but practitioners and leaders can struggle to articulate what it means at their school. Where I have been using Launchpad to support my work to develop subject knowledge, curriculum and practice, the teams are able to articulate what makes a language rich environment at their school.
  • Understanding and developing phonological awareness in nursery - The Skills Framework clearly shows the many different strands to phonological awareness. I have been working with nursery teams to understand how these strands are related and to design lesson plans for phonics lessons to ensure they are pitched at the right level for the children. We have then looked at quickly identifying areas where children may need further experience within the nursery. It has also been used to focus discussions with leaders about whether some children in nursery are ready to start the school’s formal phonics programme in nursery. It has helped us to identify gaps that these children have with auditory skills or other strands such as segmenting that, unless addressed now, will be an issue later in reception/Y1
  • Identifying phonological issues in reception and further up the school - I have used the Skills Framework to help practitioners to identify if children who are not progressing within phonics have gaps in their early phonological and auditory skills. This has meant that interventions become more targeted and have enabled the children to access the school’s phonics programme and make progress.

Sarah Wareing, EYFS Consultant -

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