FE News is reporting that new support to help parents improve their children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school have been announced today (30 April) by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
Two schemes will build the confidence of parents to support their children in language and reading at an early stage. This has been shown to help close the so-called ‘word gap’ – the gap in communication skills between disadvantaged children and their peers when they start school.
A new £5million scheme will be run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to trial projects to provide practical tools and advice to parents so they can help their children learn new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes.
Alongside this, an £8.5million programme has opened for local authorities to fund projects to improve early language and literacy development for disadvantaged children.
Through the hard work of teachers and the government’s reforms, academic standards are rising with 1.9 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010 and the attainment gap is narrowing in both primary and secondary school. English children are also rising up the international literacy league tables from an early age, helping to make Britain a country fit for the future.
Despite this progress, too many children arrive at school struggling with language and social skills, putting them at a disadvantage when they begin their formal education and making it harder for them to master the fundamentals of reading that other children take for granted.
Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said “Parents care very much about the future of their children, whatever their background or wherever they come from. But it can sometimes be difficult to get them involved in their child’s learning and we know little about how to do this well.
By testing different ways of tackling issues like the early years ‘word gap’, this new fund will give us much needed information about how we can give parents the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life.”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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