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Starting the NELI programme with pupils

On this page you can find a summary of the first steps to starting the NELI programme with your identified group of pupils. Hopefully this will give you a refresher of the content from the online training and help you know where to start.

Week 1 of NELI Delivery

Firstly, here’s a reminder of the structure of the first week of the NELI programme. We recommend you start delivery on a Monday:

Monday and Tuesday

Assessment of narrative speech and grammar

The first two days are set aside for you to complete the ‘Assessment of Narrative Speech and Grammar’ sheet (Part 1 Teaching Handbook, p. 106-107) with each child in your NELI group. Don’t worry, this won’t take two whole days, just approximately 5 – 10 minutes for each child.

This assessment will give you a good indication of the level of language skill each child has and will enable you to set appropriate narrative targets for each child right from the start of the programme.

You can find useful demonstration videos of these initial narrative assessment sessions in the Delivery Support Hub from Step 1.12 to 1.16, alongside completed assessment sheets and at Step 1.17 of the Hub (Effective record keeping – tracking progress and setting targets) there is a Grammar toolkit and Narrative Assessment targets in the Downloads section. The assessment sheets look like look similar to the one shown here.

You should use a three-sequence picture story or personal event narrative prompt card to do this; it doesn’t matter which one you use but remember to use the same story or prompt card each time you conduct the assessment (at the end of week 10 and week 20). Write down the child’s story (with no prompting), conduct the assessment and set three targets.

You may also want to complete the Attitude and behaviour record sheet which can be found in the Part 1 Teaching Handbook (p. 108).

NELI assessment of narrative speech and grammar


First group sessions

On the third day you can undertake the first NELI group session. The structure, content and format of the group sessions are laid out in detail in the NELI Handbooks. Refer to Session 1 in the Part 1 Teaching Handbook for the session plan for the first group session.

You can find useful demonstration videos of the group sessions in the Delivery Support Hub, Step 1.11 ‘Group Sessions in Action’.

The first video on this page is Session 1. This is the first time our TA shows the ‘Ted’ puppet to the children and introduces the ‘Days of the week’, ‘Listening Rules’ and the ‘Best Listener sticker’ and board. We hope this provides inspiration for your own first session.

Teaching assistant and children in a group NELI session


First individual sessions with each of the children

On the fourth day you will begin individual sessions with each of the children.

After greeting the child and encouraging them to greet you in return, you can revise the ‘Days of the week’ and the ‘Listening rules’, before beginning work on ‘Vocabulary revision’ and ‘Narrative’. Step 1.13 of NELI Course 2 gives an Introduction to individual sessions.

While the group sessions follow a structure the individual sessions allow you more flexibility to meet the needs of each child based on their Assessment of Narrative Speech and Grammar. However, we know that planning time is often limited and to get you in the  swing of delivering NELI, we have provided optional session plans for every Individual session. See Step 1.23 of the NELI Delivery Support Hub.

Teaching assistant and child in an individual NELI session


Second group session

On the Friday you can undertake the second group session. By now we hope you will be in the swing of your NELI delivery, and it will be less daunting. Please refer to Session 2 in the Part 1 Teaching Handbook for the session plan for your second group session. You can also refer to the videos in Step 1.11 of the Delivery Support Hub ‘Group Sessions in Action’ for inspiration.

Group NELI session teacher and children with flash cards

Week 2 of NELI Delivery

The second week delivery falls into a standard pattern of three group sessions (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and two individual sessions with each child (Tuesday and Thursday). The full timetable for NELI delivery can be found on page 15 of the Part 1 Teaching Handbook, as well as on this page of the online training.


If you have any queries, please contact support or post a message in one of the comments sections on the Delivery Support Hub on the FutureLearn training platform and NELI Mentors will be happy to help.