New £5 million fund to support early years home learning
The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced £5m funding for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to trial projects that support parents to help improve their children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school.
The EEF will fund different projects that provide practical tools and advice to parents so they can help their children learn new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes.
Too many children arrive at school struggling with language and social skills, putting them at a disadvantage when they begin their formal education and making it harder for them to master the fundamentals of reading that other children take for granted.
The new fund aims to build the confidence of parents to support their children in language and reading at an early stage. This has been shown to help close the so-called ‘word gap’ - the gap in communication skills between disadvantaged children and their peers when they start school.
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The EEF will trial projects in the north of England, looking at what works best in improving children’s communication skills at home before they begin school.
Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:
Parents care very much about the future of their children, whatever their background or wherever they come from. But it can sometimes be difficult to get them involved in their child’s learning and we know little about how to do this well. “By testing different ways of tackling issues like the early years ‘word gap’, this new fund will give us much needed information about how we can give parents the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life.