Early Years Based Information Carrying Word (EYBIC) Trial
EYBIC is an evidence-based intervention programme for children with poor language skills (understanding and expression), who are in early years settings. These children are at risk of ongoing speech and language difficulties and falling behind in all aspects of their education.
EYBIC aims to improve children’s speech and understanding. During this trial EYBIC will be delivered over 13 weeks by a member of staff in the child’s early years setting.
The aim of this trial is to evaluate the effects of EYBIC on the development of expressive and receptive language skills. The results of this trial will make an important contribution to understanding what works in improving support for children who show weakness in their language skills.
The trial is being carried out by Elklan and the University of Sheffield. It is funded by a grant from the Communications Consortium. The trial is a randomised controlled trial. This means that half the children identified to take part, in each setting, chosen at random, will receive the intervention (EYBIC) initially. These are the Intervention children and there will be 3 per setting. Each child will receive 10-15 minutes individual support four days a week (where children are at similar language levels the support may be delivered to children in a group). The other 3 children per setting who will be identified will be the Control Children, and they will not receive EYBIC until later.
Once the Intervention Children have received EYBIC we will reassess all 6 identified children in each setting so we can compare the outcomes for the Intervention Children with those of the Control Children, to find out whether EYBIC has made a noticeable difference.
Staff who are implementing EYBIC will receive half a day’s training and the EYBIC resource, they will also be able to access an Elklan Tutor throughout the trial for support if they need to. The staff will have already completed training in supporting children’s speech and language development, so will have some knowledge of strategies to support children. Once the children in the Intervention Group have completed the EYBIC programme, and both Intervention Children and Control Children have been reassessed, the staff in the settings can offer the EYBIC intervention to Control Children, still in their settings, so that these children do not ‘miss out’ by being allocated to this group.
Settings are eligible for the trial if they anticipate having a minimum of 20 three-year-olds on role in September 2022, with preference given to settings with 30 or more children of this age.
Children are eligible for the trial if they meet all the following criteria:
- Age 3 years-3:11 years in September 2022 and likely to remain in the setting until at least July 2023.
- Able to engage with an individual session for 10-15 minutes a day.
- No significant visual or hearing impairment
- Parental consent given
Staff in the setting will be equipped to screen all the children in their setting who meet the above criteria and the 6 children with the poorest language skills, as identified by the screen, will form the Intervention and Control Groups.
Staff are eligible for the trial if they meet all the following criteria:
- They have attended the Elklan course ‘Speech and language Support for 3-5s’ OR, if they have attended another Elklan course but are able to do a short additional training session regarding Information Carrying Words. Settings will also be considered where there has been no Elklan training but staff are willing to undertake some free Elklan e-learning to equip them with the skills they need to participate.
- They are likely to be working in the setting until July 2023.
- They can be released to receive half a day face-to-face EYBIC training in October/November 2022 and can be released for an hour four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) for intervention for the 13 weeks of the intervention.
- Provide consent forms to settings.
- Purchase LanguageScreen permissions for settings to screen all eligible children.
- Provide instruction to setting staff to administer the LanguageScreen.
- Identify the 6 children per setting with the poorest language skills.
- Identify, to their setting, any children not within the group of 6 selected for the study, any other children whose LanguageScreen results indicate that further investigation/advice is required.
- Arrange detailed assessment, in their settings, of 6 children per setting before and after the Intervention Children receive the EYBIC programme.
- Train a staff member from each setting to implement EYBIC (half a day).
- Provide each setting with the EYBIC resources.
- Provide a named Elklan tutor to support the staff member implementing EYBIC.
- Provide confidence questionnaires for the staff members in the settings at the beginning and end of the trial.
- Provide materials to elicit feedback from Intervention Children.
- Provide feedback surveys for the families of Intervention Children.
The University of Sheffield will:
- Obtain ethical approval for the trial
- Randomly assign 3 of the identified children from each setting to be Intervention Children and 3 to be Control Children
- Analyse assessment and attendance data.
The Setting will:
- Distribute consent forms to parents and collect them in.
- Undertake LanguageScreen assessments, on a tablet, for all eligible children whose parents have given consent.
- Facilitate external assessors in undertaking detailed assessments of 6 children in the setting before and after the Intervention Children receive the EYBIC programme.
- Complete pre and post questionnaire in which the named staff member rates his/her confidence, skills and knowledge in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.
- Consent to children being randomly allocated to Intervention and Control groups.
- Nominate one member of staff to implement the EYBIC programme (EYBIC Practitioner, referred to as EYBIC P).
- Release the EYBIC P to receive half a day face-to-face EYBIC training.
- Enable the EYBIC P to deliver the 13 week EYBIC programme to the 3 intervention Children between 7th November 2022 and 10th March 2023. The total time requirement is one hour four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for intervention). This allows for 15 minutes intervention per child and 15 minutes preparation time.
- Undertake post-intervention LanguageScreens for the 6 identified children post intervention.
- Setting staff undertake a LanguageScreen for all eligible children (September 2022).
- External assessors undertake detailed assessments of 6 children, on two occasions (October 2022 and March 2023).
- The EYBIC Practitioner completes pre and post questionnaires to rate his or her confidence in supporting children’s speech and language (October 2022 and April 2023).
- The EYBIC P attends half a day of training in using EYBIC (October/November 2022)
- The EYBIC P implements the EYBIC programme with 3 children (identified by Elklan) over 13 term time weeks from 7.11.22 to 10.03.23, completing records of attendance online and accessing support from an Elklan Tutor as required.
- Feedback on the EYBIC programme gathered from the children involved (March 2023).
- Feedback questionnaires distributed to, and collected from, families (April 2023).
- EYBIC P is able to implement the EYBIC programme with the Control Children, from September 2023.
We have made the process for applying as quick as possible. Please follow this link:
If your application is accepted, you will receive the Memorandum of Understanding by email to sign electronically.
Use of data
All data, including children’s test responses and any other pupil data, will be treated with total confidentiality. Data from LanguageScreen and the detailed assessments will be administered and analysed by Elklan and Sheffield University.
No individual setting, parent or child will be identified in any report arising from the research.
Once the evaluation design is finalised, the study will be submitted for ethical approval by Drs Clegg and Spencer to the University of Sheffield Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee will review the study to ensure it is ethical. Once the committee is satisfied, the study will receive ethical approval. In line with the University of Sheffield Ethics Committee, the following will be adhered to in terms of data storage and confidentiality.
All the information collected during the study will be kept strictly confidential, anonymised and will only be accessible to members of the research team. To ensure confidentiality, each participant will be assigned an ID number. This will be the only form of identification that will be on any database used in this study. It will not be possible to identify any participants or settings in any reports or publications from this study. All data will be stored on an electronic database on the University of Sheffield’s secure Google drive. All settings and participants will be asked for their written consent to participate in the study. Parents/carers of child participants will be asked to give their written consent for their child to participate. Further information about the ethical approval process can be made available.