EEF Early Language Research Priorities Survey - January 2022

New round of Research Commissioning by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) 
 
The EEF funds research projects to generate evidence about how best to bolster the learning of children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with the overall aim of breaking the link between family income and educational achievement . In the last ten years, the EEF has funded over 150 projects and identified approaches and programmes that support teaching and learning.

After a reduction in our usual commissioning, due to disruptions caused by Covid, we are reinvigorating our commissioning approach in 2022. This will include ensuring that we focus on funding projects to answer the most important questions as suggested by the existing evidence base and priorities of those working to support children, prioritising the areas that are likely to be most beneficial for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Starting with the EEF’s existing evidence reviews, we have selected three topics to be the focus of our first funding round of 2022: Early Language; Early Years and Key Stage 1 Mathematics Teaching; and Cognitive Science.  

Later in the year we also expect – in collaboration with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) - to commission projects focused on School Presence (to improve attendance and reduce exclusions). The EEF will also run a further round of commissioning in 2022 looking at three new focus areas yet to be decided. 

A survey to understand what stakeholders consider most important. 
 
Within the three areas that have been selected, we are interested to understand the priorities of those working to support children.  

We are therefore launching three surveys to gather feedback and to help inform our next tranche of commissioning. For each of our three selected topics (this one being Early Language) we are asking people to indicate:
- which themes are most important for improving the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds;
- how important a number of more granular topics within these themes are to achieving this aim; and,
- whether there are any other themes that the EEF should be considering.

Early Language
Oral language skills are fundamental for learning. Studies consistently demonstrate that there is a higher prevalence of oral language needs in socially disadvantaged communities and those working with children have told us they are prioritising supporting children’s language skills following the disruption of the pandemic.   
 
For the topic of Early Language we’d welcome views from childminders, staff working in schools and nurseries, childminders, academics, speech and language therapists, health visitors or those working at local or regional level for government, charities, or other organisations.

The results of the survey will be used alongside other stakeholder discussions, and the EEF’s evidence reviews to support the prioritisation of projects for our next round of commissioning. 

This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes.

Links to the other surveys are below.

Early Years and Key Stage 1 Maths
Cognitive Science
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