Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the Secretary of State’s social mobility speech.
Today, Tuesday 31 July, the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, gave a speech about social mobility at the Resolution Foundation. The speech addressed major issues regarding social mobility, including children’s literacy skills and narrowing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.
The Secretary of State announced a 10 year ambition to halve the number of children who are starting school without the early communication and literacy skills expected by the end of reception. There will also be a new £30 million fund to expand the number of nursery places run by successful schools in disadvantaged areas. This will allow more disadvantaged children to access a higher quality of early education.
It is also essential to ensure that children get the best support from staff, and the delivery of these plans includes £20 million being spent on training and professional development for early years staff in disadvantaged areas. A new coalition of businesses, charities, tech companies and media groups will also assist in working together to deliver this ambition. This includes collaborating with the edtech sector to identify the most effective apps to support parents in learning at home with their children.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words.
This matters - because when you’re behind from the start you rarely catch up...your peers don’t wait...the gap just widens… This has a huge impact on social mobility…
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…
I don’t have any interest in lecturing parents here… I know it’s parents who bring up their children, who love them, who invest in them in so many ways, who want the best for their children.
But that doesn’t mean extra support and advice can’t be helpful…
I particularly want us to be harnessing the power of technology. Whilst there are legitimate worries about screen time, media and modern technology can also help to raise awareness and build parents’ confidence around what they can do to help their child’s early language development…
To kick start this, today I am inviting businesses, broadcasters and broad range of other organisations to be part of this coalition and to attend a summit this autumn to explore innovative ways to boost early language development and reading in the home.
The Secretary of State’s speech can be viewed in full here.