BELL Project

Principal Investigator: Dr Julie Lachkovic

Project Fact File

Start DateFebruary 2015
End DateFebruary 2017
Funded by

Chester Municipal Charities

Project TeamDr Julie Lachkovic
External Providers and CollaboratorsKevin Hasset, Chester Municipal Charities

Principal Investigator

Meet Dr Julie Lachkovic

Dr Julie Lachkovic

Principal Lecturer

Phone +44 (0)161 247 2575

Project Details


The BELL project is a speech therapy trial research project that is funded by Chester Municipal Charity. The trial is aiming to assess the impact that a controlled strategy or exercise can have on children’s communication, social and cultural skills. Three schools have adopted the controlled strategy and a further three schools have no strategy to identify the effectiveness of this intervention. The trial will conclude in July 2017 and the results published in January 2018.

After an evaluation at the six-week point, some initial findings have taught us that an early intervention does improve these factors and this could potentially reduce negative impact on society further down the track.

Aims and Objectives

The faculty would like to display this piece of research and its findings with a PR campaign early 2018 after the results are published. To support this a short video will be produced before the conclusion of the trial to capture footage of the therapists in schools and the other key players that have been involved in project (i.e. funder, teachers, academics etc.). The video should highlight the results from the study positive impact that this research has had in the classroom. 


CMC approached Man Met along with other universities to seek a research partner to evaluate their project. 
Following discussion with CMC it was clear that a multi-faceted evaluation would suit their aims of evaluating employing SLTs from the perspectives of the children’s outcomes, the experience of the SLT and the experience of the school.

For the children’s outcomes we are assessing their communication skills at entry to nursery and again after 12 months across 3 schools who have a newly qualified speech and language therapist full time in the early years provision and 3 who do not. We are also collecting Development Matters data for all the children to track their progress in learning.

In addition, we are recording interviews with the speech and language therapists, headteachers and early years staff to gain an insight into their experiences of this novel approach of providing an SLT in the nursery classroom.

The biggest challenge was initially to recruit ‘control’ schools who had no additional input but do have the disruption of making space for us to come in and assess their children and share data with us. We used the charity’s local knowledge and face to face meetings with the schools to gain support and send them a regular progress newsletter to keep them informed about the project’s progress.


Article published in Sunday Times, 4 December 2016

Radio 5 live discussion (Adrian Chiles Show) Wed 28th December 2016

Having begun to work with us as part of this evaluation, CMC also chose to commission us to provide a package of clinical supervision to the 3 SLTs involved in the project. This is a professional requirement and allowed the SLTs to meet their competencies and join the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists as full members by the end of their involvement. All 3 successfully went on to other jobs  within the profession at the end of the project.

We are now providing the supervision package to another school for their newly qualified SLT.