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The NELI Programme – Yewstock School’s Favourite Intervention

Yewstock School share why The NELI Programme is their favourite intervention and the impact its having across their Early Years.

Yewstock School is a special school located in a rural part of Dorset in Southwest England. The school has a mix of children attending the school, those who can access the formal curriculum and children with more complex special needs. All children have an Education Health and Care Plan (ECHP) and communication is a big focus across the school – 90% of their students have communication needs of some sort. They have been using the NELI programme for the past three years. Kate Yewstock, Communication Lead and NELI Lead, and Jules Daulby, Deputy Headteacher, share how the programme is having an impact right across their early years.  

Simple, effective assessments 

At the start of each year, we assess all children in the class with LanguageScreen. One feature we love is the LanguageScreen results are autogenerated, which saves us a lot of time. Being a Special School, we have a lot of children who flag as needing language support. Our Speech and Language Therapists (SaLT) use the LanguageScreen results to not just identify the children who will receive the NELI intervention but also those who might benefit from other programmes we run in school. The reports are so easy to understand and it’s straightforward to pass the information on to the child’s class teacher.   

We also like how straightforward the assessment is. It’s not overwhelming for the children. If they are not sure of an answer, the assessment is not intimidating, and it’s easy to just move on. With our  SaLT funding being limited they don’t have enough time to spend with each child. LanguageScreen enables them to be informed about a child’s ability without needing to be present to do the assessment. LanguageScreen allows them to focus their time where they can have the most impact, while still having a complete picture of a child’s language ability. Before LanguageScreen a lot of our assessment was down to teacher judgement, LanguageScreen has provided a deeper knowledge of our pupils. It has become one of our essential tools.  

Integrating NELI across our classes 

When we started using NELI we weren’t sure how it would work with our pupils’ needs, however, we are so glad that we signed up as we have only had to make minor modifications to use in our school. Due to their needs, we run NELI with our children in years 1 and 2. 

We tend to run our NELI groups with 3 children but will run multiple cohorts of NELI within the year. When we started NELI, Kate as our Communication Lead, would take all the children out of class. NELI was so well received that we now have class TAs running NELI as well. Being a special school, having a high ratio of TAs to children means we’re able to roll out NELI to every child who needs the support.  

Demonstrable impact on children 

Each session the children are always excited to find out what the special words they are going to be learning are. The mixture of group and individual sessions gives the children so much confidence. Each individual session reinforces the group session, which is then recapped again in the next group session, so the children are always able to meet their targets.  

The progress the children make through the year is just outstanding. We had one child who was non-verbal when he began the intervention, by the end of the 20 weeks he would be putting his hand up in class, talking within groups and even sharing his opinion. It was like something had just switched in his brain and all this language came flooding through. Another girl was difficult to understand and it was hard to make out what she was trying to say. By the end of the NELI sessions, she was telling full stories – it kind of blew our minds a little.  

Transference back to the classroom 

If we are taking children out of a class for intervention, then we want to see a transference back into the classroom. Very quickly, teachers were noticing, and commenting, on the changes they were seeing in the NELI children. Class teachers requested NELI training for themselves and we even had parents commenting on how their children were excited to tell them what they did that day in their NELI sessions.  

The children who participated in NELI last year are continuing to progress in their new classes. It is like we opened a language gateway for them and now they are just flying, not only in terms of their language but their confidence and ability to access the curriculum.   

NELI is a very cost-effective solution for our school. The impact the intervention has is enormous. For our children, language gives them so many opportunities. We deliver a lot of interventions, and without a doubt, this is our favourite!   


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