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Bradford - Language skills scheme works in translation

A scheme devised in Bradford to help improve children's language skills is being taught in schools as far way as Canada, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

The international success of Talking Partners emerged this week as the programme received its latest domestic plaudit.

Jean Gross, the Government's communication champion, has written the foreword to the latest Talking Partners training materials.

In it she welcomes the contribution the scheme has made to children's language and communication skills nationally.

The oral intervention programme, which helps children to learn English through exercises that ensure they talk to each other, was first developed in Bradford in 1999.

Originally aimed at pupils learning English as an additional language, the scheme is now also benefiting native English speakers who need help with communication skills.

Education Bradford said that on average children had shown 18 months' worth of improvement at the end of the ten-week programme.

The company, which runs school services in the West Yorkshire area, employs two specialist consultants to show teachers in Bradford, other parts of the UK and abroad how to use Talking Partners.

Clare Reed, one of the consultants, said: "The one fundamental aspect of our lives that makes us happy can nearly always be attributed to a quality conversation either at work or in our personal life.

"I passionately believe that we need to support children to develop their speaking, listening and learning skills to ensure their happiness too. Talking Partners is a proven method of doing just that." WS.

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