https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/04/30/education-in-the-media-monday-30-april-2018/

Education in the media: Monday 30 April 2018

Today the blog will look at the launch of two schemes to boost children’s early language and communication skills.

EARLY LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Today, Monday, 30 April, we have launched two schemes to help with children’s early language and communication skills at home.

The first is a new £5 million scheme to be run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) that will trial projects to provide practical help and advice to parents so they can learn new words with their children.

Alongside this, an £8.5 million programme has opened for local authorities to put forward bids to fund projects that will work to improve early language and literacy development for disadvantaged children.

First announced in the government’s social mobility action plan, the projects aim to give parents and carers the tools to widen children’s language, vocabulary and social skills in the pre-school years to tackle the ‘word gap’ that exists between disadvantaged children and their better off peers at age five. There is evidence that shows this has a long term effect on educational outcomes.

This announcement has been covered widely and positively by the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, The Independent, Metro, PA, The Daily Mail and Schools Week.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

This Government wants every child to have the best start in life which means mastering the basics of speaking, reading and writing at an early age. It is important that parents and families can feel confident about supporting their children so they can start school with the appropriate level of language and social skills.

This new support will help parents with early language learning at home by giving them practical advice on activities like reading and learning the alphabet which are so important in making sure no child is left behind.

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.

Councillor Roy Perry, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:

We are very pleased that the Government has announced funding for a new LGA peer review programme of sector-led support which will share and promote good practice and knowledge across councils.

Councils are absolutely determined to make sure that children get the best start in life. This is why we need to close 'the word gap' in the early years, by focussing on key early language and literacy skills, so that all children can begin school ready to thrive.

Read more about the government’s social mobility action plan here.