Effectiveness trial of Nuffield Early Language Intervention - Preschool

Setting Information Sheet [PDF]
Nursery staff and nurseries privacy notice [PDF]
Parent privacy notice [PDF]

What is the Effectiveness Trial of Nuffield Early Language Intervention Preschool (NELI Preschool) 2024-2025?

As part of the Department for Education’s Early Years Recovery Programme, nine Stronger Practice Hubs across England and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) are working together to fund settings’ access to evidence-informed programmes and study the programmes’ influence on practice and children’s outcomes. This initiative aims to support education recovery following the pandemic, whilst also developing our understanding of effective professional development in the early years.

The NELI Preschool programme will be delivered by OxEd and Assessment (OxEd) and will be independently evaluated by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). The aim of the evaluation is to ascertain the impact of NELI Preschool on the language skills of 3 to 4-year-old children.

The evaluation will run as a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in the academic year 2024-25. We will randomly allocate 318 eligible setting settings to one of the two groups:

  • The intervention group, who will deliver NELI Preschool programme; or
  • The control group, who will continue with their usual practice.

Further information on the NELI Preschool programme can be found in the Setting Information Sheet above.

Who can take part in this trial?

  • Settings can be state-maintained or PVI settings.
  • Settings will need to have a minimum of fourteen 3 to 4-year-old children attending 15+ hours per week in the 2023-24 academic year.
  • Settings must be willing to allocate time for a minimum of two setting staff members to complete online training and administer LanguageScreen, encouraging as many practitioners who work with 3 to 4-year-olds as possible to complete the online training as well. Payment for training time will be made for up to 5 trainees per setting (£120 per trainee).
  • Setting must be located in one of the local authorities that are part of the nine Strong Practice Hubs. For further information, please see the Setting Information Sheet above.
  • Settings cannot take part if participating in another EEF funded evaluation in the early years or if they are participating in the DfE Early Years Professional Development Programme during the year of evaluation delivery (2024/25). 
  • Settings that took part in the previous evaluation of NELI Preschool (known as the NELI – Setting or NELI-N efficacy trial) by the University of Oxford are not eligible to take part in this evaluation.
  • All 3 to 4-year-old children (as on 31st August 2024) who are in the pre-school classroom are eligible to take part in the evaluation. Children who ‘move up’ or join the pre-school classroom after settings have completed LanguageScreen are not eligible for the evaluation; however, in settings allocated to the intervention group, these children can still take part in the Whole Group Sessions.

What does the trial involve?

The evaluation will assess expressive vocabulary, receptive vocabulary, sentence repetition and listening comprehension via LanguageScreen, and information content and grammar via Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT). Participating children in all settings will be assessed with LanguageScreen in Autumn 2024 by setting staff (prior to randomisation, approximately 10 minutes per child). All participating children, from both control and intervention settings, will then be assessed with LanguageScreen and RAPT in Summer 2025 by NFER Test Administrators (after the programme delivery is complete).

In addition, all participating settings will be asked to share data for the 3-4-year-old children enrolled in the 2024-2025 academic year and complete online surveys at the start and end of the trial.

Nominated staff from the intervention settings will complete the online training, deliver the NELI Preschool programme to all 3-4-year-old children in the pre-school classroom between January and June 2025, and complete weekly attendance registers for NELI Preschool sessions delivered. A small number of intervention settings will be invited to act as (anonymous) case studies for the evaluation. Participation in this element is voluntary. Control settings will continue with their usual practice during this time.

Please see the Setting Information Sheet above for a detailed timeline of activities.

What is the benefit of my setting participating in this trial?

Your setting will contribute to the evidence relating to the impact of NELI Preschool on language skills for 3 to 4-year-old children. Your setting's participation will also help to understand how best to implement the programme in the future and at a larger scale.

Participating settings will also receive:

Intervention group:

  • The NELI Preschool programme
  • £400 in recognition of their contribution to this research
  • Paid staff time to complete training and administer LanguageScreen
  • Assessment feedback reports at the end of the evaluation

Control group:

  • £250 in recognition of their contribution to this research
  • An additional £1000 (which can either be financial payment or be used to purchase the NELI Preschool programme so that settings can deliver it after the trial)
  • Paid staff time to administer LanguageScreen
  • Assessment feedback reports at the end of the evaluation

Who controls what data is shared?

NFER is the data controller for this trial and will make decisions about how and what personal data is used in accordance with the objectives of the evaluation set by the EEF. OxEd is the data processor during the trial.

Privacy Information

OxEd & Assessment’s Privacy Notice can be found here.

You can see further details of the evaluation and links to NFER’s privacy notices above.

How should my setting sign up for this evaluation?

Expressions of interest are currently being collected, please complete the short form here. Once submitted, the OxEd team will be in touch. If your setting is eligible, OxEd will send the Memorandum of Understanding for your setting’s Headteacher or the Nursery Manager to sign.

Who should I contact for more information?

Find out more about NELI Preschool and see what other settings say about the programme here: https://oxedandassessment.com/uk/nelipreschool/

For further information about the NELI Preschool programme, please contact Mariela Rios Diaz, Research Officer and NELI Preschool Project Manager at OxEd: [email protected]

For further information about the trial, please contact NFER at [email protected].