Latest updates

Latest updates

First wave of TALK Derby ambassadors announced

The first group of ambassadors for TALK Derby have been announced. All the ambassadors were invited to take on the role as they have demonstrated commitment to the project and consistently supported and promoted it since its launch in April 2019.

The new ambassadors come from a range of positions and organisations and all have a keen interest in promoting the importance of speech, language and communication between children and adults.

The ambassadors are:

  • Jane Calladine, Executive Head at Redwood Primary School and Chair of Derby City’s Primary Strategy Group
  • Wendy Colebourne, Head of Harrington Nursery School, Member of the Opportunity Area Board and the Early Years Working Group
  • Fiona Colton, Head of Early Help at Derby City Council
  • Lisa Sandercock, School Readiness Lead for Derby City Council
  • Will Turner, Business Development Manager at Derby County Community Trust

You can find out more about the ambassadors here.

TALK Derby is a major Government programme to help local children develop the communication skills they need to learn, make friends, stay well and ultimately find jobs. The project was launched in April 2019 to improve life chances for children in the city, and the programme is already having a positive impact. More than 320 professionals have been trained, and 130 different schools and early years settings are now running activities to support children’s speech, language and communication development.  

TALK Derby training and support have huge benefit for mum and daughter

A Derby mum is already seeing the improvements in her daughter’s communication and language skills thanks to courses for parents run by TALK Derby.

Liene Lvova attended TALK Derby’s Let’s Talk at Home course at her local children’s centre and has used the knowledge and skills she gained to support her daughter, Eli, who was falling behind in her speech and language development. She could see improvements in Eli’s communication skills after just a few sessions. One of the key things she learnt was to give Eli time to respond. Mum, Liene also learnt and how to change what she said if Eli doesn’t understand.

Liene said: “I learnt that anything can be used in play and chatting time. We use things we find around the house and chat during play time, describing how things look, feel and taste.”

Liene is very pleased with Eli’s speech, language and communication development and adds: “It melts my heart to hear Eli say new words. She talks much, much more now.

“I would recommend the course to any parent who has a child who they think is having problems communicating.”

Although face-to-face training is currently paused, early years practitioners are still able to access training TALK Derby has pulled together resources for parents to help them work on their children’s communications skills at home.

Liene and her daughter, Eli

TALK Derby DAY celebrations to stay close to home because of Coronavirus

An ambitious event to promote the power of conversation between adults and children and young people across Derby is changing focus, because of Coronavirus restrictions.

Plans for July’s TALK Derby DAY were launched last month to celebrate the work of TALK Derby – a major Government programme to help local children develop the communication skills they need to learn, make friends, stay well and ultimately find jobs.

The special day, on 1 July, is designed to inspire everyone – parents and families, businesses, schools, colleges and other organisations to stage activities which encourage people to talk with each other. Ideas have ranged from teddy bears’ picnics and storytelling to structured debates and networking for older children and adults. TALK Derby DAY recognises many workplaces are closed and families are staying at home.

The emphasis now will be on encouraging events in the home, and on using video links and other technology to have conversations with friends and loved ones elsewhere.

Anyone can help a local educational setting to win £250 to spend on speech, language and communication development. To enter, post your activity on social media on 1 July, with the hashtag #talkderbyday. The winner will then be able to nominate the school or setting to receive the £250.

TALK Derby will be sharing additional resources and tips in the coming weeks, including home-based ideas for parents and carers, businesses and for small groups of children. This will be done through the website (talkderby.org.uk/talk-derby-day/) and on social media – Twitter (@lets_TALKDerby), Facebook and Instagram (@talk_derby).

In response to Coronavirus restrictions, all learning and support for early years professionals and parents have already been moved online.

Celebrate with TALK Derby this summer!

TALK Derby is inviting everyone across Derby to celebrate communication, speech and language on 1 July 2020. TALK Derby DAY is a chance for businesses, schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other organisations to organise activities that encourage face-to-face conversations – between adults and with children and young people.  

Schools, colleges and early years settings also have the opportunity to win £250 to spend on supporting speech, language and communications development in their school or setting by sharing their TALK Derby Day event on TALK Derby’s social media channels. Businesses can nominate a city-based school, college or early years setting to receive the money.

City-based nursery, Derwent Stepping Stones, has already started making plans for TALK Derby DAY. Chief Executive, Janet Holland, said: “We are going to organise a ‘talk, walk’ with the children where they can explore the local area and talk about what they see. We’ll also be collecting things we find so we can talk more about our adventures when we return to the nursery.

“We also wanted to involve parents in the day and so we will be holding a teddy bear’s picnic at lunchtime in our forest garden.” 

Cllr Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Derby City Council, said: “TALK Derby is fantastic initiative which encourages everyone to spend more time talking and listening to the children in the lives – which is vital to communication skills in adulthood.

“We are delighted to support TALK Derby day and hope that residents and businesses in the city will work together to help improve social mobility and language skills in children.”

TALK Derby was launched last June with the aim of improving children’s social mobility by supporting development of their speech, language and communication skills. There are already clear signs of the positive impact it is having in the city. Over 300 professionals have been trained, and over 130 schools and early years settings are now running a range of activities to support children’s speech, language and communication development.

The programme is being co-ordinated by Leicester-based early years consultancy, Hempsall’s. Project Director, Kate Freeman said: “TALK Derby DAY is an opportunity for the whole city to get talking to each other and the children in their lives. Whether you’re in education, business, are a community group or other organisation, please save the date and let’s TALK Derby.”

To help organisations plan for the day, a resource pack and posters are available to download.

December 2019, The cast of Derby’s pantomime, Peter Pan, have got behind TALK Derby.

A pantomime is one place where children can definitely use their voices – shout-outs and audience responses are a great tradition and all part of the fun. So, the cast of Peter Pan, currently playing at Derby Arena, are backing the campaign.

Morgan Brind from Little Wolf Entertainment is the show’s writer, co-producer, and plays the hilarious Dame Hilda. He creates engaging dialogue, rhymes and puns, and helps bring them to life onstage.

“For many children, a panto is their first experience of theatre, and it’s magical,” says Morgan. “One of the best things is how it brings families together and everyone can join in, whatever their age.

“Children learn from adults and so if they are shouting ‘Oh no it isn’t,’ they’re going to join in too. There is no such thing as an audience that is too loud. Who knows where it could lead? Perhaps one day their families will come back to watch them on stage because they’ve developed the confidence to get up there.”

Kate Freeman, Programme Director for TALK Derby, said: “TALK Derby welcomes the support of the cast of Peter Pan on this important programme. We know that children really benefit from the opportunity to talk about what they have seen and done – going to the pantomime is an exciting trip for the whole family.”

People of Derby can make a commitment to spend more time talking and listening to the children in their life by taking the TALK Derby pledge: https://talkderby.org.uk/pledge/.

Peter Pan runs at the Derby Arena until Saturday 4 January.

The cast of Derby's pantomime, Peter Pan, showing their support for TALK Derby.

November 2019, TALK Derby Expanded

TALK Derby has been expanded to cover the entire city.

The project, which was launched last June, was initially focused on eight particularly disadvantaged inner-city wards. Here, childminders, nursery and other early years practitioners have been able to access free training in how to spot and address issues.

In less than six months, the project has trained 151 early years professionals and recruited 100 champions who work with children. In addition, nearly 200 people have made a pledge to support the project by talking more to the children in their lives.

The Derby Opportunity Area Board, which oversees the project, last month extended the scope of TALK Derby to cover the entire city. This means any early years organisation in Derby can now apply to access free support and training.

Activities at a Champions' Network meeting.

September 2019, Launch Event

Childcare professionals, business leaders and councillors from across Derby gathered at a special event on 25 September to learn more about TALK Derby.

More than 70 attendees heard about what's been achieved so far and how they can get involved. They also had the opportunity to be photographed and make the TALK Derby pledge to show their support.

At the close of the event, everyone was asked to write down and share how they would support TALK Derby, at home or in the workplace. Delegates committed to a range of different actions – from talking and listening to children more, to informing colleagues.

A highlight of the day was the screening of two films showing local children in conversation with Derby City Councillor Evonne Williams and Dean Jackson, Managing Director of Huub.

A full room at the TALK Derby event

July 2019, #ThisIsDerby

TALK Derby had a strong presence at the #ThisisDerby event, celebrating the first year of the city’s Opportunity Area programme.

Hundreds of families were attracted to the Market Place by activities, videos, music and dance, and a carnival parade.

Families enjoying Elklan's activities

The TALK Derby team were there to promote the importance of speech, language and communication skills – sharing information and encouraging people to take the TALK Derby pledge.

Training partners Elklan provided storytelling and colouring sessions throughout the day, showing how such activities can provide great conversation opportunities between children and adults.

Further opportunities will be sought to raise awareness of what TALK Derby has to offer.

June 2019, PR Launch

The following TALK Derby news release achieved coverage on regional TV, in the Derby Telegraph and in specialist publications.

A major new Government programme has been launched in Derby to improve the education and future job opportunities of local children.

TALK Derby aims to increase the social mobility of children across the whole city, and particularly in some of the least advantaged areas, by strengthening speech, language and communication skills.

Information and resources will be provided widely, with additional free training and support for schools, childminders, children’s centres and early years settings in eight Derby wards – Abbey, Alvaston, Arboretum, Boulton, Chaddesden, Derwent, Normanton and Sinfin.

TALK Derby is encouraging everyone in Derby to pledge to spend more time talking and listening to the children in their lives – at mealtimes, during play and through everyday conversations.

The £845,000 programme is funded by the Department for Education through the Derby Opportunity Area and will run until September next year.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want to create a generation of confident learners – and parents are a child’s first and most dedicated teacher, helping to get them talking and communicating before they reach the classroom. You don’t need expensive books or toys to help your child develop literacy skills. It can be as simple as reading labels as you go around the supermarket together or pointing out things that you see on the bus – little interactions can have a huge impact.

“Children from lower income families are more likely to fall behind at school compared to their peers and once you’re behind it’s hard to catch up. That’s why projects like TALK Derby are vital and why we are launching a major new campaign shortly to help parents incorporate Chat, Play and Read into their daily life, putting their children on track to succeed.”

140 people who work with local children in the eight target wards are being recruited as “champions” to drive the project forward. Trained staff will lead effective early years practice and work with parents and wider families, to encourage them to have more of the right kind of interactions with their children.

The programme is being coordinated by Leicester-based early years consultancy Hempsall’s. Project Director Kate Freeman said: “TALK Derby aims to inspire and equip parents and professionals to help our children develop as they should. It’s something that benefits us all – in families, communities, education and work.”

Most brain growth happens in the first three years of life. Research has shown that language at the age of five is linked to employment opportunities at the age of 34 – and that the quality of conversations children have at 18-24 months affects school progress 10 years later.

Derby is an Opportunity Area because local children from disadvantaged backgrounds have less chance of doing well at school and getting a good job. The city is 316th in the Social Mobility Commission’s Index of 324 local authority areas.

Councillor Evonne Williams, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People added: “We know that social mobility is an issue in the city and TALK Derby is another piece of the puzzle to tackle it. The Opportunity Area has proved really valuable. The early results are really positive and I believe that this project will also prove a success.”

Speech and language training specialists Elklan are delivering accredited courses for early years practitioners to develop children’s skills and enhance engagement with families.

Elklan Director Liz Elks said, “Our parent engagement work involves fun interactive sessions with carers and their children designed to promote early communication skills. Our accredited training programmes provide practical, easy to implement strategies to enable early years practitioners to make changes in practice and so boost children's talking and learning. Simple and genuinely two-way conversations help children build their understanding and skills, making them more confident in expressing feelings and ideas.”