Children being sent to school unable to speak in sentences is a “persistent scandal”, the Education Secretary is to tell parents. The Telegraph reports.
In his first major speech on social mobility, Damian Hinds will promise to tackle the “last taboo” in education by highlighting the fact that many mothers and fathers are failing to teach their children how to talk.
Speaking at the Resolution Foundation in Westminster on Tuesday, he will say that he has no desire to “lecture” parents about how to raise their children. But he will warn that children who start school at age four behind their peers rarely catch up and instead “the gap just widens”.
“And the truth is that the vast majority of these children’s time is at home. Yes, the home learning environment can be, understandably, the last taboo in education policy – but we can’t afford to ignore it when it comes to social mobility.”
His comments follow research that shows that more than a quarter of four-and-five-year-olds lack the early communication and literacy skills expected by the end of reception year.The ‘expected level’ includes a child having the words and understanding to talk about events that have happened or are going to happen in the future.
A separate study shows that children with poor vocabulary at age five are more than twice as likely to be unemployed at age 34 as children with good vocabulary.
He will outline his intention to build a new coalition of business leaders, charities, tech companies and media groups to encourage more parents to read and learn new words with their children.
Representatives from the National Literacy Trust and Public Health England will sit on the coalition, which will come up with ways to boost parents’ confidence with supporting their child’s language and literacy.
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