£6.5m for projects that boost early communication skills

The government has put in £6.5 million investment to help ensure children have the language skills needed for when they start school.

This will allow councils to fund projects like family reading sessions, local parenting pop ups and improved training for early years professionals.

One of the local projects will introduce an easy to use online tool that informs parents of the basic child development stages, offering ideas for activities to do at home and signposting to further information and resources.

Experts such as health visitors, early years staff and family support workers will be trained to identify children with poor language and communication skills and to make sure the right support is in place so they don’t fall behind.

The eight new projects will cover 27 local councils which will share expertise and resources, bring education and health services closer together to help improve children’s outcomes by age 5.

The projects aim to improve the language and communications skills of children from birth to 5 years old, as children who start school behind often struggle to catch up. Programmes will be targeted at disadvantaged areas including three of the government’s 12 Opportunity Areas Doncaster, Derby and Stoke-On-Trent, providing parent-child workshops and outreach programmes to raise awareness amongst parents of the importance of speech, language and communication development.

The 8 projects will create tools and techniques, including closer collaboration between education and health services, that will have lasting impact for children today and for future generations.

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