The Manchester Language Study

Celebrating 20 years of the Manchester Language Study

A blog from John Parrott, I CAN Communication Advisor.

I am one of I CAN’s Communication Advisors and have been working in the field of children and young people’s speech, language and communication needs for over 30 years. During that time we have learnt a huge amount about language development; what can go wrong in that development, the impact this can have on the education and lives of children and young people and their families, and what we can do to support them across a variety of provision. As practitioners we have developed and changed our approaches and been a source of innovation, but the root of much of this change has come from a range of research studies.

One of the best known and informative longitudinal projects, The Manchester Language Study (MLS), is celebrating its twentieth year. Twenty years ago Gina Conti-Ramsden, Professor of Child Language and Learning at the University of Manchester, applied to the Nuffield Foundation to study children with specific language impairment (SLI), attending language units across England. The MLS was successfully funded with an official start date of 1995. The first two researchers to join the project were Nicola Botting and Alison Crutchley.

For 20 years the researchers have been able to count on the help, support and dedication of language unit teachers, school teachers, classroom assistants, speech and language therapists and many professionals across the country, and especially the families and the children and young people, themselves now young adults.

Gina and her team want to thank all those who have supported the project over the years and wish to invite everyone involved to celebrate with them at a special reception in London in November 2014.

If you have been involved in any way with the Manchester Language Study or know someone who has, or are a friend of the study, please get in touch with Gina and her colleagues so that they can send you details of the celebrations. They would love to see as many old friends and colleagues as possible and so if you are interested please contact Gina’s assistant Jackie O’Brien at:

I intend to be at the celebration in November and look forward to drinking a toast to all those children, young people, young adults, families, academics and professionals that have contributed to this enduring and inspirational project.

See you there!

John Parrott, I CAN Communication Advisor