A GROUP of private nurseries in Scotland has employed a speech and language therapist to tackle increasing problems amongst pre-school children.

The Bertram Nursery Group, which runs 16 Scottish nurseries, has established a programme of activity and support for those children in its care who are finding language difficult.

The move comes after research showed more than one million children and young people - nearly three in every classroom - have some form of persistent language challenge, with early years support seen as critical.

Loading article content

The Bertram Group is also now training all of its staff to identify speech, language and communications problems in under-fives.

Graeme Scott, chief executive said: "The value and importance of quality pre-school education is being increasingly understood and as a childcare provider we take our role extremely seriously.

"Having introduced a speech and language therapist on our staff, we have had tremendous feedback from parents, and it is for that reason that we are increasing our investment in the initiative. We are seeing that with the support of speech therapy, a child can gain in self-esteem, preparing them for school and where there are communications difficulties, the earlier interventions are implemented the lesser impact these difficulties will have."

Maeve Murray, the group's speech and language therapist, carries out individual assessments for children presenting difficulties, providing support and onward referral if required.

She also puts in place strategies within the nurseries to encourage communication development.