Children: Communication Skills and Literacy

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to tackle the word gap among pupils in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

28% of children finish their reception year still without the early communication, language and literacy skills they need to thrive. The Department has set out an ambition to halve this figure by 2028. This is why the Department has launched ‘Hungry Little Minds’, a new three-year campaign to help parents support their child’s early language development. This builds on our wider early-years social mobility programme, where the Department is investing over £100 million.

The Department is committed to continuing this support once children reach primary school, which is why one of the three aims of the £26.3 million English Hubs Programme is early language development. 34 primary schools have been appointed as English hubs to support nearly 3000 schools across England to improve educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged children in reception and Key Stage 1.

The Department introduced a new curriculum for primary and secondary schools from 2014. The new curriculum for English increases the level of demand from an early age and aims to ensure that all pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, a good understanding of grammar, and proper knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and written language.

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