Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at a roundtable on the home learning environment as well as a faith leaders roundtable and welcoming commitments from one business related to social mobility and apprenticeships.
Home Learning Environment Roundtable
Yesterday, Tuesday 29 January, the Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi hosted a roundtable with eight businesses to discuss their work to support the home learning environment (HLE). This has received coverage from the Times, the Telegraph, the Mail and the Guardian.
The discussion at the roundtable involved pledges to boost disadvantaged children’s early literacy including with apps that children can use in their early learning. Attendees included Clarks, the Lego Group, EasyPeasy, HarperCollins, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Land, Oxford University Press and KPMG.
Much of the media coverage following this meeting has focused on the great news that Clarks has committed to train 6,500 staff in children’s speech, language and communication development and how to engage with families.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
We want to create a generation of confident learners who can read and communicate effectively – these are vital skills that children need to grasp from the earliest opportunity in order to succeed.
There’s no instruction manual for being a parent. For some who left school a long time ago or who have low confidence in their own abilities, it can be overwhelming to know where to start with supporting children’s learning at home before they start school - and we know that too many children are arriving at school already behind their peers.
By working with a growing number of businesses, charities and experts, we’re making it easier for parents to kickstart this early development – helping to take forward our national mission to boost children’s early development. New projects are being set up all over the country and our expert panel will create trusted tools that parents can be confident using, so that every child develops the skills they need to thrive.
Faith Leaders Roundtable
The Education Secretary took the chance at this meeting to speak about the contribution that these trusts have already made to the academies and free schools programme, whilst also emphasising the benefits of operating through the programmes.
The roundtable follows the announcement last week that over half of pupils taught in state funded schools are studying in academies, alongside research showing the benefits of academy conversion.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
The diversity of schools in this country is one our education system’s most valuable assets, and faith schools play a pivotal role in that. They have led the way in embracing our reforms, with innovative free schools and high performing academies, taking advantage of the freedom and autonomy those choices provide.
Faith schools make up one-third of the schools in England. I want to see even more faith schools enjoying the benefits of academy conversion, with even more faith groups using the exciting opportunity the free schools route provides. In doing so, the leaders of these schools will ensure they are the ones making the right decisions for their pupils and for their communities, as I firmly believe they should be.
Apprenticeships and social mobility
On Wednesday 30 January, Greene King Brewery launched a report called ‘Stepping Up’ working with the charity the Prince’s Trust, which will include a series of commitments to helping improve social mobility over the years, including increasing the number of new apprentices they take on to 8,000 by 2022. This also includes the announcement of a new ex-offender employment programme,
We welcome the work of Greene King and their efforts, alongside the Prince’s Trust, to improve social mobility in making these commitments.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Everyone should have the chance to fulfil that spark of potential that exists in all of us. That is why creating opportunities and real change in the lives of young people is a shared responsibility. Alongside the Government’s work to transform technical education and promote apprenticeships through our new ‘Fire it up’ campaign, businesses like Greene King are playing a critical role in promoting social mobility. This scheme is supporting inhouse training, offering apprenticeships and helping ex-offenders get back into work, making sure people have skills and qualifications needed for success.