Children: Communication Skills

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st March 2017.

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Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen Labour, Nottingham North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential implications for her policies of the results of polling commissioned by Save the Children, published in February 2017, on the proportion of children in Nottingham North constituency on free school meals who did not reach the expected level of speech and language skills by age five in 2015.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS) sets out the key areas of learning which every provider must follow. This includes a focus on literacy and communication and language. We are seeing year on year improvements in the communications and language area of learning. In 2013, 59.9% of children eligible for FSM achieved at least the expected level in the communication and language area of Learning, compared to 75.0% of all other children. In 2016, 71.2% of children eligible for FSM achieved at least the expected level in the communication and language area of learning, compared to 83.3% of all other children.

For Nottingham North, in 2015, 75.1% of children eligible for FSM achieved at least the expected level in the communication and language area of learning, compared to 79.8% of all other children. In 2016, 74.9% of children eligible for FSM achieved at least the expected level in the communication and language area of learning, compared to 81.2% of all other children

Social mobility is at the heart of the Government’s agenda, and that is why we are increasing spending on childcare to over £6 billion per year by 2019-20 – more than any other government.

We are working hard to ensure parents and children - wherever they live in England - have access to high quality early years education places through the funded 15 hour entitlement for disadvantaged two-year-olds and for all three- and four-year-olds. The Early Years Pupil Premium also provides over £300 per eligible child to improve outcomes for disadvantaged three- and four-year-olds.

We know that the quality of the workforce has the biggest impact on the children’s outcomes, and over recent years, we have taken steps to improve the quality of the workforce. We are currently developing a workforce strategy to remove the barriers to attracting, retaining and developing staff in the early years workforce.

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