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Little Squirrels in Formby, honoured for changing the lives of children with speech and language difficulties

Little Squirrels at Redgate Community Primary School, has been highly commended in the Early Years Setting of the Year category for their excellent work developing children’s communication skills at the UK-wide 2019 Shine a Light Awards organised by learning company Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust.

The Shine a Light Awards, which took place at Pearson’s headquarters in London, celebrate innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication development. They also recognise the hard work and determination of children and young people who have some form of long-term and persistent speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Language and communication abilities in the area have historically been of concern and in response to this, Redgate Community Primary School developed their own nursery provision, Little Squirrels, recognising the vital importance of early intervention. Two years on and due to their outstanding work in speech and language development, children are  achieving great heights!

Thanks to the early years team, which comprises of specialist trained language champions and teachers, Little Squirrels has become a sought-after early years provision. With children being assessed during home visits, transition visits and on starting nursery and reception, all children are offered appropriate support from the outset with the early years provision itself providing an environment that ensures all children make progress. Little Squirrels at Redgate has even been awarded ELKLAN’s Communication Friendly Setting accreditation.

Thinking outside of the box using different strategies and ideas, children at the early years provision develop their skills in a fun and interactive way with staff also dedicating time and resource to support parents and carers. Together with providing informative posters on how they can support their children’s learning and communication development, the team sets special family learning challenges such as trips to the local beach.

Louise Dean, Early Years Lead from Little Squirrels at Redgate Community Primary School said: “We are thrilled and honoured to be awarded highly commended for the Shine a Light Early Years Setting of the Year Award. A child’s earliest years are a crucial stage in their language and communication development, and so our early years team are dedicated to ensuring that our youngest learners are equipped with the language and communication skills they need to become successful lifelong learners and skillful communicators. Winning this award has empowered our team to truly believe that our child centered ethos, along with skillful interactions from adults is having a positive impact on the lives of our children.”

Sally Phillips, Host of the 2019 Shine a Light Awards, said: “Little Squirrels at Redgate Community Primary School provides fantastic childcare. As a nation, it is vital that we ensure that all children have the opportunity to express themselves, particularly when this ability has a profound impact on our future life chances.

“The amazing winners and highly commended finalists of the Shine a Light Awards prove what a difference we can make if we become informed, impassioned and engaged in the speech language and communication needs of those around us. Little Squirrels at Redgate isn’t just changing the lives of their children in their community but also across the UK. I have seen for myself the huge difference expert intervention and support provides for children, like my son, Olly, particularly at a time where we face a nationwide shortage of speech and language therapists.”

For further information about the Shine a Light winners and highly-commended finalists, visit and follow us on Twitter #awards_SAL.