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Children: Communication Skills

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th June 2018.

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Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support opportunity areas in the development of plans to improve speech, language and communications skills among children and young people.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We know that having poor speech, language and communication skills can hold children back at school and limit their life chances thereafter. This was identified as an issue in all 12 of the Opportunity Areas. We are putting plans in place to address this.

For example:

  • In Stoke-on-Trent we are building on the successful “Stoke Speaks Out” initiative, extending this to 25 primary schools with lower than average numbers of children attaining a Good Level of Development by the end of their reception year. This is a proven approach to providing targeted, specialist support for early language, communication and literacy;
  • In Oldham, we have committed to ensuring that all children are school ready by the age of five, and have already completed training 29 schools and settings in our Making it REAL programme, which focusses on early literacy and development. 254 children have already been supported; and
  • In the North Yorkshire Coast OA, we have commissioned work to develop improved speech, language and communication support for children in the early years. 25 primary schools will participate in this.

We are working to ensure that the learning from these initiatives will be shared across other areas of the country facing challenges.

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