Funding announced to support poorer families with early learning at home
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced multimillion-pound projects aimed at helping poorer families nurture their child’s early development at home.
Backed by almost £18 million, they will include funding for extra training for health visitors who work with families to identify speech, language and communication needs in young children.
The money will also go towards 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.
On Wednesday, Mr Hinds will host a summit on the home learning environment.
He is expected to say: “Education begins long before children arrive in the classroom.
“It begins as soon as they leave the maternity ward, in the crucial early years in the home, where their parents and carers help shape and prepare them to start school.
“But for lots of parents, as much as they want the best for their children, they lack the support they need to ensure that their children are arriving at school at the same level as their peers.
“That is why I am working with experts from around the country, using research from around the world, to propose a set of actions for parents to teach them simple steps to playing with, reading with and chatting with their children.”
Organisations including the National Literacy Trust (NLT), the National Children’s Bureau and the Scouts will get a share of the money to boost parents’ confidence with learning at home.
According to the NLT one in eight children who get free school meals say they do not own a single book at home.
The Department for Education also confirmed a £20 million programme of training for early years staff in disadvantaged areas will support children’s early language, literacy and numeracy skills.
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