Education secretary, Damian Hinds has addressed parent’s concerns about their children’s use of screens in his first major speech. He has said that it is a scandal that some children start school unable to speak in full sentences or read simple words. It has been speculated that primary school children are unable to communicate in full sentences because of the amount of time they are spending in front of screens.
The education secretary has promised to halve, within a decade, the number of children who are not at the accepted level for speaking and reading skills. Currently, figures show that 28% of four and five-year-olds in the UK do not meet the communication and literacy skills expected by the end of their reception year.
Children with poor vocabulary at the age of five are twice as likely to be unemployed later in life than children with good vocabulary research has shown.
A group of companies and charities have been brought together to help with a plan to best support families so that pupils don’t find themselves behind their peers.
Educational researches have shown that social mobility starts at home in the ‘home learning environment’ and that a home with lots of books and learning materials, alongside parents that are able to give their children quality time, talking to them and teaching them how to make sounds, provides a good start to their education. Some parents are unable to offer this kind of environment for various reasons, but the Education Secretary has said that he is not lecturing parents.
He said this early gap had a “huge impact on social mobility… I don’t have any interest in lecturing parents here… I know its parents who bring up their children, who love them, who invest in them in so many ways, who want the best for their children. But that doesn’t mean extra support and advice can’t be helpful.”