Sam Baron

21 November 2018

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

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

This week, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced that approximately £18 million of funding will be made available for several projects launched to improve children’s early language and literacy and to boost parents’ confidence with home learning.  Businesses, charities and public sector organisations attended a summit hosted by the Education Secretary on the 14 November 2018, with an aim to tackle the ‘last taboo’ in education – supporting parents with learning at home.

The projects backed by the £18 million, will help disadvantaged families benefit from extra support to nurture their child’s early development at home.  There will be funding for additional training for health visitors working 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. Research is clear about the importance of the home environment for a child’s early learning, and even small changes can encourage conversations between parents and their young children.

Alongside this, the Department for Education has confirmed that a £20 million programme of training for early years staff in disadvantaged areas will support children’s early language, literacy and numeracy skills, benefitting up to 60,000 pre-school age children.

Some of the grants awarded so far include:

  • £6.5 million for projects focused on closing the disadvantage gap at age five and improving the early years education of children with SEND.
  • £1.8 million for a programme with Public Health England, including new speech, language and communication training for health visitors, delivered by the Institute of Health Visitors.
  • £5 million for trials to be led by the Education Endowment Foundation in partnership with Shine the north of England that will research the best way to help parents in disadvantaged communities to start building their children’s skills at home, so that no child starts school behind their better-off peers.

More information can be found here.