Child Language as a Life Chances Indicator

Prof James Law, Newcastle University, gave this LuCiD seminar at the University of Manchester on 7th February 2017.


Although language development is often construed as being “within” the child in the sense that we assess an individual child’s language and we provide “therapy” to the individual, it is clear that oral language, like literacy is also a societal phenomenon. In this session, I will describe the provenance of what has come to be known as the “Life Chances agenda” and how child language development might fit into it drawing on data from a number of different large scale population studies. I will then highlight a number of different developments from the UK’s What Works Centres and what this might mean in terms of intervention and service development. The term “Life Chances” has been superseded in the political narrative over last few months by “social mobility” and “opportunity” but it remains a useful way of approaching early child development.”