Getting there in the end….

It’s been a while since we posted on this blog and mainly because our heads were down and we were all busy getting the GMPTT project report written up.

When we started this project in April 2019 we could never have foreseen how it would end amidst a country in lockdown and a Covid pandemic.

But we got there in the end and submitted our report to the DfE with some creative approaches to co-writing and editing the final report.

Our report has been shared across GM and will be available very soon for wider circulation and in the meantime here are some extracts from our Executive Summary:


At the beginning of the GMPTT project, we identified our Greater Manchester-wide priorities. We recognised that whilst the Greater Manchester SLC Pathway was being implemented across Greater Manchester localities, there were some differences in the scale and pace of implementation and Communication and Language outcomes are varied. use of the Early Intervention Foundation’s Speech, Language and Communication Maturity Matrix which showed substantial progress in implementing a mature system for delivery of speech, language and communication services in many of the EIF key elements across Greater Manchester.

We asked all Greater Manchester locality leaders to complete an initial SLC pathway implementation stock-take in summer 2019 and a review of this in February 2020 to evaluate the impact of the GMPTT project. As part of the evaluation, we analysed locality implementation plans and monitoring reports and carried out leadership interviews with GMPTT Project Leads and other Greater Manchester Strategic Leaders to highlight the key outcomes of the project.


We found that:

  • Most localities showed significant positive changes to their self-ratings of maturity in their end of project review of the GM stocktake document and indicated positive progression to more mature states of implementation of the SLC Pathway. Domains that showed the largest positive changes were Partnerships, Assessment and Surveillance and Workforce Development.
  • Peer support and challenge was identified as a key feature of the success of the GMPTT project with planned and informal networks and opportunities for shared working and learning being created between locality leads and multi-agency colleagues.
  • Leadership coaching sessions were valued by all leaders. They could see the impact of the leadership coaching on their leadership of the project and how they were driving delivery of their locality implementation plans. Leadership learning was one of the strongest and most consistent outcomes identifed through the GMPTT project leadership interviews.
  • One of the strongest transferable learning outcomes from the GMPTT project concerns the learning culture to which leaders and stakeholders attributed change. There was collective recognition that successful collaborative peer-to-peer networks work best when they are sufficiently resourced, providing dedicated time and space for leaders to work collaboratively within a safe and supportive environment.

In the final section of the report we propose the next steps and make recommendations to Greater Manchester Strategic Leaders and the GMCA School Readiness Board to enable the successes and learning from the GMPTT project to influence the ongoing Greater Manchester School Readiness Programme. We will post a link to the full report on this page over the next few weeks.

Where does the time go?

Well we are reaching the end of week 9 – which seems hard to believe doesn’t it? In some ways it feels as if lockdown has been here forever but also feels like time is flying by.

Ive so enjoyed the Huddle conversation during the last week – with more responses added today it almost feels like we are back in the room at Worsley Court House! Oh how i miss our project implementation meetings.

We sent out our 3rd GMPTT project newsletter last week – a copy is attached here if you haven’t seen it. Thank-you so much for all the messages of appreciation and thanks for the newsletters and we will keep going until we can all meet up again.


Like many of the project leads, I’ve been doing very different things since lockdown and whilst still working on the GMPTT report and future proposals, I’m also sewing scrubs. I’m a governor for Grosvenor Nursery School in Bolton and have joined the recently set up Bolton Schools Community Scrub Hub. It’s so good to be able to contribute practically and use my sewing skills – which I’m pleased to say have come back to me quickly 🙂

Yesterday the scrub hub posted a photograph of a member of staff from Bolton Hospital wearing her new scrubs and saying Thankyou – and it was such a great motivator to keep on making more of them. It reminded me how a few moments to take time to show appreciation to someone is so important and can make such a difference.

So a huge Thankyou to all of you from the GMPTT project team – you are all amazing and doing a brilliant job of keeping Early Years and SLC services for children and families going in some of the most challenging times we have known. Please keep in touch and you know where we are if you need us:


Thanks to Deborah for sharing this update on the exciting work she is doing at the moment.

Deborah James, Professor of Educational Psychology at #McrMetUni, has been using her expertise and research to help families to support charity @GMHomeStarts by taking their home visiting service for the local community online/over the phone.

Please follow the facebook link below to hear Deborah talking about this work. You can also follow the link on twitter:

Why some children are running to catch up…..

Thanks to Martina for this week’s blog post.

Dr Martina Street has recently had an article published in Nursery World which looks at what we can learn from the the International Learning and Child Well-being Study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

She explains criticisms of the research, findings, and what future studies should focus on. Please follow the link below to read the Nursery World article – a very interesting read!

My Hero is you

Thanks to Julie for todays Blog Post:

I wanted to share with you the latest information published by WHO on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Children’s book released today

I am delighted to inform you of the release today of “My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!” produced through a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector as part of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings co-chaired by WHO.

This heart-warming, beautifully illustrated book, aimed at 6-11 year-olds, explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality. During the early stages of the project, more than 1700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world shared how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The input was invaluable to the project team in making sure that the story and its messages resonated with children from different backgrounds and continents.

In order to reach as many children as possible, the book is being widely translated, with a number of language versions released today and more than 30 others in the pipeline. All language version can be found at the link below. It is being released as both an online product and audio book.

Please share widely with your networks. We are tweeting and posting messages about the book from our corporate social media accounts today; we encourage you to retweet and share. 

My Hero is You: all language versions

WHO press release

Advice on staying mentally healthy at home

As part our #HealthyAtHome campaign, we have published advice on staying mentally healthy when at home for long periods.

You can access this information here

For more information about keeping #HealthyAtHome, click here

For the latest information on COVID-19, you can also follow @WHO on our social media channels for the latest information.


Best regards to you all.

Stay safe.  

Dévora Kestel


Mental Health and Substance Use Department

World Health Organization

Office: +41 (0) 22 791 3625


Follow WHO on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram

Our next update…

Hello to all our GMPTT project colleagues – we hope you are keeping safe and well.

As we are now preparing for week 4 of lockdown, we wanted to remind you we are thinking of you all and send a few updates out. A copy of the latest newsletter is available via the following link: gm-pathways-to-talking-project-newsletter-april-2020-second-edition.pdf

We have also recorded our second VLOG and published this on our GMPTT leadership hub – a link has been sent out to project leads.

Becky joined us for the VLOG and talked about the work she has been doing in Salford to support the development of the ‘Spirit of Salford’ helpline for local people who are self-isolating and can’t get support from family, friends or neighbours and need help with food shopping, getting medication and much more. We know that many of you are in all sorts of different roles and doing things that may not be your usual day job and we talked about how virtual services are emerging and growing in strength and recognised the great work taking place across GM.

It’s been really good to hear from some of you and we are really happy to respond to emails and still planning to arrange some virtual leadership coaching sessions.

Finally, please don’t worry about your GMPTT locality projects – we could never have planned for this and we will look at what’s required both at GM and locality level just as soon as we can. Everything is on hold and we will keep in touch with you throughout this period and can’t wait until we meet again!

Early Intervention Foundation blog: ‘Off the merry-go-round’

As we have been writing up the initial report for the GMPTT project, its been interesting to look at the work of the Early Intervention Foundation in terms of how evaluation is being used to influence future policy making and how they are putting forward the case for longer term investment.

Here’s an interesting report published in October 2018

In my research, I also came across this interesting and very relevant Blog Post from the EIF Chief Executive, Dr Jo Casebourne written in March 2020 who reflects on the latest round of cabinet changes, and asks whether the conditions might now be in place for ministers to take a longer-term view of the complex challenges facing children and families. Here is a link to the Blog:

The GMPTT report which summarises the activity and outcomes of the GM project so far is in the final stages of drafting and proof reading. This recognises that much of the work at locality level is ongoing and will be added as an annex to this report later in 2020. Watch this space – we will publish as soon as we can!

Keeping in touch

Well this is something none of us could have planned for and its been lovely over the last few weeks to hear from people involved in the GMPTT project and we are still here to help if we can – just email us at and Jan or Elizabeth will get back to you as soon as we can and remember no question is too small!!

Hoping you are all keeping safe and a big shout out to all our amazing colleagues who are NHS staff and essential frontline workers in early years services. We are thinking of you all sending our very best wishes.

REAL update

Thanks to Margaret for these slides which provide an update on the REAL project and show how GM schools are involved in this:

What is the REAL Project?
The Sheffield REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) Project began in 1995 and was the largest preschool literacy intervention study in the UK. Central to the REAL project programme was the ORIM (Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction, Model) Framework.
It is designed to think about ways in which families can help children’s early literacy development.

Here is a link to the website which explains the structure and framework for the Sheffield the REAL Project:

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Its always inspiring to hear stories from around the world of how women are empowering each other and being advocates for strong female leadership.

This week we saw this in practice yet again in our GM Pathways to Talking Leadership Coaching session. We happen to be an female group of leaders and as always I came away, as I’m sure many other did, feeling inspired and proud to be part of this leadership group. It’s been such an exciting and impactful part of the GM EOF project with inspirational leadership from Deborah.

So even more exciting to hear an interview on Community Radio between Dr Martina Street and Dr Julie Marshall, two colleagues involved in the GM PTT project. Martina is talking to Julie about the work she is doing in her role as a Reader in Communication, Disability and Development with Manchester Metropolitan University. Please follow the link below to listen to the interview – you won’t be disappointed (plus some great music chosen by Martina!)