£700,000 fund to improve language skills in Wales

£700,000 fund to improve language skills in Wales

A new campaign encouraging parents, carers and guardians to take time to talk, listen and play to help their child’s language development and communication skills has been launched by the Welsh Government.

The ’Take time’ campaign is part of a wider Welsh Government approach to oracy which includes £700,000 of extra funding and support to schools in 2018-19 through regional consortia to help improve the language skills of learners. Funding of £700,000 is already in place for 2017-18.

The campaign will provide practical tips to parents/carers to help children aged three to seven improve their language skills and prepare for school.

Research shows that children who receive this attention have a greater capacity for language, and later literacy, boosting their communication skills and chances of success in later life.

Cabinet secretary for education, Kirsty Williams, said: “We are prioritising children’s speech, language and communication skills because they are the building blocks for success, not only in school but later on in life as well.

“Oracy is essential for developing life skills and we are keen to support parents, carers and guardians as they pass these valuable skills on to their children.

“We know there are many different pressures when you’re raising children, sometimes just finding the time can be a challenge, but the message of this campaign is that every effort you make at this early stage will help and the benefits will last a lifetime.

“It’s important that we make this as fun and as rewarding a process as possible so the new campaign provides some helpful hints, tips and practical advice for parents, carers and guardians to support the development of their child’s bilingual speaking, listening and discussion skills.”

Advertisements featuring writer and presenter Anni Llyn will run for two weeks on television, local radio stations and online, encouraging parents, carers and guardians of three to seven-year-olds to take time to talk, listen and play.

The short animations will include top tips for them to help develop their child’s language and communication skills.

Booktrust Cymru’s Pori Drwy Stori programme supports key Foundation Phase areas of learning, including literacy and numeracy, as children start the reception class at school.

The Welsh Government-funded programme provides bilingual learning materials for use in the classroom, and at home, which will be an important resource for the oracy campaign.

Booktrust Cymru’s Pori Drwy Stori programme materials are given to every child in the reception year of school. The termly resources supports parents and carers to engage in their child’s learning when they start school and focus on the key Foundation Phase areas of learning, including literacy and numeracy.

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