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What is NELI?

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) is a programme for children in Reception (4-5 years) which has been found to improve children’s language and early literacy skills.

How the programme is structured

A member of school staff (usually a teaching assistant or early years educator) delivers three small group sessions and two individual sessions to a targeted group of around 3-6 pupils for 20 weeks.

Evidence and programme development

NELI is a Nuffield Foundation initiative and was developed by leading academics in the field of language and literacy development. The aim was to design an evidence-based early intervention programme that could be easily delivered by schools to address children’s language needs. Several robust evaluations have led to NELI being the most well-evidenced early language programme available to schools in England.

Communication and language impacts on everything, including life skills and NELI gives them the grounding they need before we concentrate on other areas of the curriculum, such as reading and writing.

Shushila Bhanderi, Assistant Headteacher,
Uxendon Manor Primary School

Training, materials and delivery support

The NELI programme is accompanied by an array of supportive tools: online self-paced training for teachers and TAs, an online delivery support hub, a tablet-based language assessment tool (LanguageScreen) to support with identifying pupils to receive NELI, and the resources and session plans to deliver the programme to pupils.

NELI has been a wonderful addition to our EYFS provision. The children have absolutely adored working with Ted! After NELI, children are more confident, ambitious in their vocabulary choices and ready to continue great progress.

Alex Davies
St Thomas More Primary School

Narrative Milestones

A narrative is a story or sequence of linked events or ideas, and it can be difficult for young children to produce a narrative effectively. Whenever they are telling you what they had for tea, or what happened just now in the playground, or pretending to be Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they are using narrative skills.

Once children can choose which words to say, and combine these to make individual sentences, they need to be able to build them into a coherent sequence or story. Narrative skills develop as children get older and there are typical narrative milestones. NELI helps you support the children who are finding these skills difficult.

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