ICC Research Roundup September 2020

30 September 2020

ICC Research Roundup September 2020


During a BBC Panorama report on the SEND system families reported that they’d found accessing support for their children with special educational needs difficult during lockdown, but that it was an example of the long-term struggles they have faced getting educational support for their children during lockdown. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/education-54034802

Primary School-age

The Education Endowment Fund has just published an update of their Literacy in KS1 guidance based on research findings. There are 8 recommendations with the first one covering SLC:  Develop pupil’s speaking and listening skills and wider understanding of language.  ‘High quality language interactions are important and sometimes described as talking with children rather than just talking to children.

Janssen et al in Child Language Teaching and Therapy: Narrative Group Intervention in DLD: Learning to Tell the plot.   This was a comparative study on a small group of children (6 in each group) which found that children made significant improvements in elements of story telling after a 10 week intervention.

McGregor et al reported on a study which looked at how children with DLD responded to rich vocabulary instruction through a language intervention embedded in a science camp. The authors conclude that ‘the modest success of rich vocabulary instruction for children with DLD is not a limitation of the approach but of the difficulty of tailoring the approach to individual needs of children with DLD’

Tarvainen et al reported a systematic review in Autism and Developmental Language Impairments on Oral language comprehension interventions in 1-8 year old children with language disorders or difficulties 80% of the studies reported favourable impact on comprehension and while levels of evidence varied the authors a moderately confident that comprehension skills can be improved if the right approaches are used.

Early Years

NI Education and Training Inspectorate have published the third evaluation of Sure Start.  It reports on the increasing confidence of staff and parents in supporting the SLC needs of children and the embedding of support provided at universal and targeted levels by staff across the 38 Sure Start projects in NI. 

JAMA Paediatrics reported a study looking at use of touch screens by toddlers: Saliency-driven visual search performance in toddlers with low and high touch screen use suggests that attention may be improved by touch screen use compared with the distractions of TV.


The Early Intervention Foundation published a report on Supporting children’s social and emotional wellbeing as they return to school  including a summary of evidenced interventions to support schools.


The Education Policy Institute published Education in England: Annual Report  2020 The report uses 2019 data which shows that progress in narrowing the gap has stalled over the last 5 years and is beginning to widen. This is likely to have been exacerbated by the impact of Covid 19.  Findings include:  Disadvantaged pupils are 18.1 months behind by the time they finish their GCSEs – the same as 5 yrs ago; the gap at Primary age has widened for the first time in 7 yrs

The Conversation carried an article reporting on Face Masks: why your eyes might be saying more than you realise, quoting research showing that people are very good at reading emotions from ‘eye expression’.

Secondary/older CYP

Snow et al reported in Child Language Teaching and Therapy on The Language, literacy and mental health profiles of adolescents in out-of-home care: An Australian sample Adolescents in care have complex needs, in the group studied 92%  had below average language skills with similar numbers scoring in the very low range for reading comprehension and 50% having a diagnosis of depression. Findings suggested that mental health problems are a comorbidity rather than a correlate of language and literacy difficulties.


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