What’s is the Early Years Universal service?

In the Fylde and Wyre districts, our team offers additional support to those who work with children in the Early Years Foundation stage (up to the end of Reception year). 

The "universal" level service, means that we focus on support for all children, not only those who may have been referred to speech and language therapy services. Our aims are:

  • To support early identification of speech, language and communication needs
  • To develop a skilled early years workforce, able to provide a high quality communication environment for all children in the Foundation stage
  • To maintain a family focus, supporting a positive home learning environment

We aim to adapt our service to meet the needs of the local area; however we have some consistent core elements of our work:

  • Supporting our network of Language Lead practitioners via cluster meetings and setting visits to support with a range of development needs.
  • Free or reduced cost access to a rolling programme of training/workshops to develop your skills and knowledge.
  • Supporting those delivering services in the community, e.g., Children and Family Wellbeing Service, Libraries etc.

Professionals working in Fylde or Wyre, with children from birth to the end of reception year (foundation stage), are able to access this service.  Some elements may be limited to settings/services who have a nominated Language Lead practitioner.

What is the role of a Language Lead?

  • To take a lead in promoting a communication friendly environment in your setting
  • To demonstrate good practice and support colleagues in your setting
  • To support colleagues in identifying potential difficulties and with the process of referral to SLT
  • To be a point of contact for local NHS Speech and Language Therapist


What support will the Language Leads receive?

Regular network cluster meetings in your local area will be supported by a Speech and Language Therapist and will:

  • Provide opportunity to share good practice
  • Allow time to discuss any current difficulties you are experiencing
  • Include updates on new resources/information from the SLT
  • Help to identify training needs and, where possible, include these within the network meetings

Support also includes:

  • Termly newsletters containing information on current initiatives, examples of good practice, resource updates and training dates
  • To be part of the wider Lancashire Leads across Lancashire which includes specialist teachers, NHS SLT’s which also have termly cluster meetings
  • Termly informal local cluster meetings
  • Individual visits to your setting to support a range of development needs
  • Support for your setting to review your practise and develop and action plan.

If you’re not already part of the Lancashire wide Language Leads network, you can sign up here. to receive invitations to the cluster meetings and ensure you receive your newsletter.

In addition, we have our own local smaller cluster in Fylde and Wyre – these smaller groups give us opportunity to get to know you and your settings, and for us all to share our good practice as well as those challenges. 


Julie Ward, Heyhouses Nursery, St Annes

Language Lead Setting and Talk Boost Intervention 2023

"I became a Language Lead for our setting a few years ago. Louise and her team are so approachable, friendly and professional. Louise keeps us up to date with what new training is available, as well as visiting our setting if we need guidance. She is always available to answer any questions or queries. I can’t always attend every Language Lead meeting just with the nature of our roles; however, you can attend virtually or face to face. The face-to-face meetings are a good way to meet people from other settings and share ideas and information and support each other.

"As a SENCO in our setting, it is invaluable to have the knowledge and from Louise and her team, for myself and our team and families.

"It enables me to pass on up to date and correct information to our parents and families.

"Louise listens to what training needs are and will contact us when it is becoming available.

"On a personal level having this Language Lead group has given me confidence to pass on information regarding speech and language to our families and our nursery team."