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£18m funding for early learning announced

By Rachel Lawler
Early communication skills
Education secretary Damian Hinds has announced the launch of several new projects aiming to help support children’s early communication skills.
Supported by almost £18 million in funding, the schemes are aiming to support children’s development within the home.
Preparing to start school
Speaking at summit on learning in the home environment, Hinds said: “Education begins long before children arrive in the classroom. It begins as soon as they leave the maternity ward, in the crucial early years in the home, where their parents and carers help shape and prepare them to start school.
“But for lots of parents, as much as they want the best for their children, they lack the support they need to ensure that their children are arriving at school at the same level as their peers.
“That is why I am working with experts from around the country, using research from around the world, to propose a set of actions for parents to teach them simple steps for playing with, reading with and chatting with their children.”
Early communication
Projects supported by the funding include ICAN’s Change the Conversation about Language project, the National Literacy Trust’s volunteering and digital support, the Scouts Early Years Pilot Programme, the National Children’s Bureau’s work with children with SEND and the Alliance’s First and Foremost programme.
As part of the project, the Scouts will be opening a new pilot programme aimed at children aged three and four. This will be the first time the movement has extended its offering to a new age group since 1986, when it launched Beaver Scouts for children aged six to eight.
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