The Read On. Get On. campaign aims to ensure that every 5year-old in England to have good language skills by 2020, and that every 11year-old can read well by 2025. The campaign has published a report on early language skills of children in England.
It shows that children who have low language skills before starting school continue to have a literacy problems. There is a noticeable impact even at the start of secondary school. The report highlights statistics on the gender and equalities gap.
One in four young children is not reaching the expected level of language development, rising to one in three of our poorest children. By the age of five, children from the poorest families are on average 15 months behind children from the richest families in their vocabulary”.
After exploring which children are most at risk of falling behind, why this matters to being able to read, the role of parents and the impact of poverty, the report looks at the current support provisions and how the challenge can be met.
There is a special section on Children’s Centres. The report acknowledges the lack of adequate funding and the fragmented approach to service provision nationally as local authorities look to cut funding and focus their priorities.
The report also sets three priorities for government:
- invest further in early years education
- strengthening support for parents, especially in public health services and children’s centres
- making sure that, as a country, we can track the progress we are making to improve children’s language skills.
Having provoked lots of correspondence, Sam Gyimah MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education) has issued a response, restating the governments commitments in this area.