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News story

We secure funding to improve children’s life chances by empowering parents

13 Apr 2017

Early years reading

We are part of a consortium of education and children’s charities who have secured funding from the Department for Education to deliver projects to improve the life chances of children from six disadvantaged communities in England.

 Alongside us, the projects will be run by the National Children’s Bureau, Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust.  The four charities are working together to support families and practitioners to improve the home learning environments of more disadvantaged children. The consortium has received a grant of £430,000, as part of a wider £55 million government investment in childcare schemes announced by the Minister for the Early Years, Caroline Dinenage [1].

 In England, children from poorer backgrounds do worse at school and in the world of work than their more affluent peers. By the time children start school, aged five, those from poorer backgrounds are already 18 months behind their wealthier peers in school-readiness [2]. What’s more, 60-70% of gaps in attainment at age 11 are due to inequalities present at age five [3].

Despite strong evidence that parental involvement in a child’s early learning is a more powerful force for success than socio-economic factors [4], one-quarter of parents from poorer backgrounds do not consider themselves to be the primary influence on their child’s learning [5].

The programme will help parents and early years educators develop the skills and confidence they need to better understand the positive impact they can have on their child’s life chances through learning together in the home.

Early childhood is a period of rapid growth and development, and what children learn in the early years provides the foundation for later learning and health. We are delighted to be working with the National Children’s Bureau, Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust to support parents to become their child’s first educator. Working together, we can create a more level playing field for all children growing up in England today. All the charities will work together to promote the role of the home learning environment and the key role of parents more widely. Our work will focus on Bradford and Leicester to identify and train champions from nurseries to support families with two year olds to improve their home learning environments and gain the confidence to support their child’s development.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust

1] Department for Education press release, Tuesday 11 April 2017:

 [2] The Sutton Trust and the University of Oxford, Subject to Background: What promotes better achievement for bright but disadvantaged students? 2015

 [3] The Sutton Trust, International Inequalities, 2016

 [4] Flouri and Buchanan, 2004

 [5] National Literacy Trust, Early Literacy Practices at Home, 2015

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