Children’s Minister Vicky Ford has today (Aug 24) announced a multi-million pound package to support Early Years’ language skills.
Reception-aged children will benefit from new training and resources worth up to £9m, if their school signs up to the ‘catch up’ programme.
The scheme will look at raising outcomes in speaking and language skills in young learners who have had their development disrupted by the pandemic.
One-to-one and small-group sessions will be delivered through the investment as part of the National Tutoring Programme, a key element to the Government’s £1bn Covid catch-up package for education announced in June.
All state funded schools with reception classes will be invited to apply for the support, and schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils will be given priority.
Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said:
“Nurseries and other early years settings have played a huge part in keeping our youngest children safe and supported throughout the pandemic, but too many children have missed out on education at a crucial point in their development.
“Ahead of every pupil returning to the classroom full-time in September, we’re increasing the support available to get them back on track and ready to learn.
“We cannot afford for our youngest children to lose out, which is why this package of support is focused on improving early language skills for the Reception children who need it most, and especially those whose long-term outcomes who have been affected by time out of education.”
This programme, the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, comes after research shows that children who start school with poor vocabulary are twice as likely to be unemployed as an adult.