Multi-million investment to support children’s early communication skills

Disadvantaged families will benefit from extra support to nurture their child’s early development at home, thanks to multi-million pound projects launched today (14 November) by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds. GOV.UK reports.

The projects, backed by nearly £18 million, will include funding for additional training for health visitors who work with families of young children to identify speech, language and communication needs early on, helping to address and support concerns when they can have the most impact. It will also fund educational games, apps and text message ‘tips’ for parents and carers from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to interact with their children when at home or out and about, making everyday activities an opportunity for learning.

The Education Secretary will today host a summit bringing together nearly 100 businesses, charities and public sector organisations designed to tackle the ‘last taboo’ in education – supporting parents with learning at home. The summit will draw on a bank of existing research on parents’ confidence and behaviour when it comes to learning at home with their children.

Speaking at today’s summit, Education Secretary Damian Hinds is expected to say:

“Education begins long before children arrive in the classroom. It begins as soon as they leave the maternity ward, in the crucial early years in the home, where their parents and carers help shape and prepare them to start school. But for lots of parents, as much as they want the best for their children, they lack the support they need to ensure that their children are arriving at school at the same level as their peers.

“That is why I am working with experts from around the country, using research from around the world, to propose a set of actions for parents to teach them simple steps to playing with, reading with and chatting with their children.”

Organisations including the National Literacy Trust, the National Children’s Bureau and the Scouts will get a share of the funding to boost parents’ confidence with learning at home, drawing on data that shows a lack of skill or fear of embarrassment can discourage them from interacting in this way. Grants will also go towards improving the training available for professionals working with young children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

One in eight children in receipt of free school meals say they do not own a single book at home, according to the National Literacy Trust. Many of today’s new projects will go to voluntary and community groups to improve early language, literacy and communication skills, building on the free childcare offers already available to three and four-year-olds and the most deprived two-year-olds in England.

They will harness technology and the latest global research to make user-friendly resources like text message prompts for parents to teach children new words and numbers, or strategies to help parents manage behaviour in the home.

Read the full article Multi-million investment to support children’s early communication skills

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