Competition to find best early years apps launched

The Department for Education has launched a competition to find the best educational apps for young children to help disadvantaged parents with their children’s early language and literacy skills at home.

Families in 12 pilot areas will get free access to a choice of two apps focused on early language, literacy and communication. These are designed to help parents think about how to use screen time constructively and provide learning activities for their young children in the years before they start Reception.

Tech companies coming forward with apps that meet agreed educational criteria, including elements of play, interaction and ranging difficulty levels, will be given a stamp of approval. Parents across England will be able to make informed choices about the apps they choose from among the hundreds already available on the market.

On average, disadvantaged children are 4 months behind in their overall development at age 5. It grows by an additional 6 months by the age of 11 and by the time they take their GCSEs they are, on average, 19 months behind their peers in overall attainment.

In July, the Department for Education launched a three year behaviour change campaign called Hungry Little Minds, giving parents access to video tips, advice and suggested games to help with early learning and helping to tackle the barriers some parents face in supporting their child’s learning at home, including time, confidence and ideas of things to do.

It follows a partnership with the National Literacy Trust to bring together a coalition of businesses and organisations supporting parents to play a bigger role in their child’s early education.

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