Greenwich Post-Covid Early Talk Boost Project

  • Greenwich Post-Covid Early Talk Boost Project

Welcome to our Greenwich Post-Covid Early Talk Boost Project page. This is intended for anyone involved in the project. We have a number of resources, links and an FAQ page here which will help you find out more.

We will be working in close collaboration with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust Speech & Language Therapy Service; Therapy Links UK CIC; I CAN Charity and the Rotal Borough of Greenwich Inclusion, Learning and Achievement Division and Early Years Setting staff.

Project summary

This ambitious project is aimed at boosting the language and communication skills of 3–4 year-olds across Greenwich Borough in London. It is for children who, during the pandemic, have missed out on much of the high-quality language and communication support that pre-school and nursery settings normally provide. The Royal Borough of Greenwich are fully funding the project. We hope that as a consequence of this input, a greater number of children will start reception from September 2022 with the essential speaking and listening skills they need in order to learn and to interact with peers.

How will the project run?

Click here to download a pdf of this infographic.

Watch the recording of the project launch

We launched the project on December 6th on Zoom to around 100 attendees. You can access the recording here. (Length approx 1 hour)

Timeline showing what needs to be done by when in settings

If your setting has signed up for the ETB project, you can book staff onto ETB training here


Questions about signing up for the project & for ETB training

Sign up for the project is now closed. Please contact Cathy Bee <> or Roz Weeks <> if you are interested in using Early Talk Boost in your setting in the future. 

Here is a link to the latest evidence figures on the I CAN website

Here is a more detailed evaluation of the pilot studies in settings around the country which was done in 2015

Go to I CAN’s online shop: to order the resources. If you want to pay by invoice, you will have to first create an account on ICAN’s website, and it will give you the option of choosing invoice . 

In the Licensee Details section, as shown below, please input the following “Greenwich Project: 2 Participant Books”:

Click on ‘Book ETB training here’ in the section above.

No need to tell us – we are expecting a few changes and have factored this in. 

ETB training starts on 11th Feb 2022. There are a range range of options: online to face to face & twilight over 1 or 2 sessions. You can book onto training by clicking on ‘Book onto ETB training’ in the section above. 

All settings will be accepted if they can meet the criteria described in the launch video and outlined in the sign-up form. Information about the project will come out via the SENCO newsletter and whoever signed you up for the project will received a welcome email full of information after signing up. 

I’m afraid not. Training is required to deliver the assessment so it’s all or nothing. 

Yes. Whilst the ETB programme is not specifically aimed at teaching children English, there is evidence that children with English as an additional language will benefit. Contact for further information. 

Questions about assessing children after setting staff are trained

No consent is needed. ETB is a targeted intervention which is part of the school offer and is delivered by school staff. We would suggest that parents are kept informed as to the project and whether their child is included. 

No. Only the children you think may benefit from some additional support with language and communication. And those you are uncertain or concerned about. 

That will depend on the size of your setting and the local demographic. If you work in an area of social disadvantage then it is likely that more than half your children, possibly up to 80% will need assessing. Reliable post-Covid data on language development is not widely available yet – we are relying data from small studies and anecdotal reports which are telling us that children’s language development has been impacted by the pandemic. It is difficult to predict how many children will need support – this project will provide us with some useful data. 

The detail of assessment and intervention is all covered in the training. Assessment takes around 40-50 minutes per child. You will upload the results onto an online ‘tracker’ which you will have log-in details for. You will then be able to compare children’s scores before and after intervention with graphs etc to see the impact of the intervention. This is a good way to present impact data for OFSTED. 

Questions about delivering the ETB intervention

The short answer is yes. We know that many settings are running some sort of speech, language and communication support such as WellComm, NELI, Language Link and bespoke language groups (to name but a few).  Each setting will be assigned an I CAN ETB tutor to support you with ETB in the Spring & Summer terms. Exactly how ETB dovetails with existing support can be discussed with your I CAN ETB tutor. We would very much encourage you to continue with existing support as each programme has different benefits. 

Trained ETB practitioners deliver the intervention for 9 weeks to groups of 6-8 children. They follow a structured approach set out in a clear manual. Groups run 3 times per week for 15-20 mins a session – during story/circle time. Story books and resources are provided in the intervention pack. The training covers this in detail.

This will be agreed by our Co-design group, which has nursery practitioners and representatives from all parties involved in the project,  advising us on all aspects of the project. At the very least, the before and after language scores that you input into the I CAN online tracker will give us the basic measures about the impact of the intervention. We will consider what other measures would be useful. If you have ideas on how to measure the impact of the project – please email

There are several support options that you can access.

Firstly, included in your £500 investment is support from I CAN via or 020 7843 2515. It’s best to go to them with any log-in questions, tracker questions or problems with equipment/resources/orders. 

Secondly, we are running online drop-in sessions where you can talk to an ETB tutor and other setting staff specifically about ETB and do some problem-solving. Scroll down to find out about our Monday ‘drop in’ support. 

Thirdly, 3 SaLTs and 1 qualified teacher and SaLT assistant (from Talking Outcomes & from Therapy Link UK) will be providing further online support and hopefully some on-site visits. We’ll know more after February half term.  

Finally we are aiming to provide some support from SaLT students after March. Again, we’re not sure what this will look like or whether it will be available to everyone. More details will follow in March. 

Possibly. If you have indicated on your sign-up form that you would welcome support form students, then we are considering this option for you. We are liaising with London Universities to see if we can make this work as we believe it could be beneficial to students and settings. Sarah Beckett is the SaLT to contact if you have ideas or queries about student involvement. 

ETB suggests:  

  • Invite parents to ETB parent workshop (using online invitation template) 
  • Parents attend in person workshop 2 weeks before the intervention groups begin 
  • Books are sent home weekly for parents to share with their children 
  • Parents attend feedback session at the end of the group 


There is more information about this in your participant book


How can we adapt the parent workshop? (e.g. in light of Covid-19 restrictions or where engagement is minimal): 


Raising awareness (pre-group): 

  • Chat at the school gate 
  • Leaflet (we are in liaison with ICAN about a general leaflet and poster to highlight Early TalkBoost in your setting and will share when we can)
  • Poster (visible at drop-off / pick-up) 
  • Using existing communication channels (school texts, MCAS etc) – e-poster /e- leaflet 


Sharing information (pre / during group) 

  • Using existing groups such as coffee mornings to share information 
  • Pre-drop off slot– parents come to a drop-in before their children start school – meet the practitioner, discuss ETB, visual display board, look at resources etc. (If parents are unlikely to be able to arrive early,  a practitioner could run this at drop -off time)  This would be one step on from touching base at school gate. Like a physical drop in with the ETB practitioner – tying in with natural drop off time. Downside is – busy time.
  • Online parent workshop (e.g. use the parent workshop powerpoint slides and present using zoom) 
  • In person parent workshop with Covid-19 guidelines in place 


Supporting parents (during and after) 

  • Jake and Tizzy books to be sent home each week– School could invest in colourful book bags for the Jake and Tizzy books (Robert Owen have found this has increased percentage of books being returned) for example: Quadra Classic Book Bag QD456 (
  • Sharing ICAN videos (e.g. Tizzy’s top tips for talking Tizzy’s Talking Tips – Bing video)  via school channels such as Tapestry
  • Post group zoom (instead of in person) – checking in – how are you getting on – go through photo book – any questions.
  • Sharing the photo book through school channels such as Tapestry/school social media – provided permission is in place.
  • Send video links direct to parents of children involved – from ICAN website – short clips to watch in own time

Top talking tips: Tizzy’s Talking Tips – Bing video

Sharing books together: Jake & Tizzy Book 1 on Vimeo

  • In person post-group workshop with covid guidelines in place 


How much should we involve parents?

ICAN recommend parents are involved from the beginning to the end of the sessions (see ETB suggests above). However, it is up to schools to make their own decisions as to what is manageable e.g. how much of a priority talking interventions are, within the context of their wider school priorities.

The short answer is yes. Here’s why…

It appears that many children in reception are developing language below expected levels, particularly post-Covid. I CAN are currently working on an Early Talk Boost reception tracker for this age group, but it is still in the development stage and not yet available for use. Many settings have now put reception aged children through the ETB intervention, and I CAN are receiving reports that children are benefitting.

It is still possible to use the online tracker by selecting the ETB tracker even though it says it is the ‘wrong tracker for the age group’. When you put this child through the ETB tracker, you will be not able to see the RAG rating for this child because the charts will be coloured blue (because the child does not fall within the age group of the set standards). However, you can still see the progress the child has made. Alternatively, you can use the paper versions of the tracker to monitor the progress the child has made.

Want to talk to an Early Talk Boost Tutor?

We hold weekly "drop-in" ETB advice sessions online

Mondays 11.45 - 12.30 in term time. See below:

Starting a new project in settings is always challenging. A friendly ETB tutor (speech & language therapist/assistant) Maria, Nikki, Sarah or Jan will be online in the meeting room ready to answer any questions you have. We can also talk through tricky situations or things you are unsure about. Or signpost you to where to find things. There may be other practitioners in the virtual meeting room as well – who may have good ideas about how to tackle the issues that are arising with your project. 

Here is the link to join the drop in. Remember it only happens during term time Mondays 11.45-12.30. At other times there will be no-one there.

Meeting ID: 883 2944 4001

Passcode: 631751

We are hosting a special drop-in session to tackle issues around engaging parents in the ETB project. Join Maria on March 7th at 11.45 to explore ideas for your setting and hear others’ ideas.

Contact us

If you have any further questions please contact us by using the form below. If your enquiry is urgent please email Jenny the project administrator on