Early years staff to be specially trained to identify early language difficulties in children
Specially trained early years staff and family support workers will identify infants with poor language and communication skills to prevent them falling behind at school.
As part of a £6.5 million funding boost, families with youngsters who would benefit from extra help will have access to family reading lessons, local parenting pop-ups and improved training for early years professionals.
One of the local projects will introduce an online tool that informs parents of the basic child development stages.
It also offers ideas for activities to do at home and signposting to further information and resources.
The schemes will aim to improve the language and communication skills of children from birth to five years old, as children who start school behind often struggle to catch up.
They will be set up in eight areas – Leicester City (with Derby City and Nottingham City), Wolverhampton (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall), Staffordshire (with Stoke-on-Trent), Luton, Doncaster (with Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield), Halton, Salford (with the nine other Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) local authorities), and Swindon (with Gloucestershire).
Supporting families in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country, experts such as health visitors, early years staff and family support workers will be trained to identify those in need of extra help.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds wants to halve the proportion of children who finish reception without the communication, language and literacy skills needed to thrive within the next decade.
Mr Hinds said: “Ask any parent and they want their child to have the best start in life.
“But we know that those from a disadvantaged background often start school already behind when it comes to communication and language development.
“This multi-million pound investment will provide better support to families in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
“No one is born knowing how to be a mum or a dad and parenting does not come with a manual. I want to support families with hints and tips to propel their child’s learning so they can go on to reach their full potential, whatever their background.”
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire.