Government to send parents ‘text message tips’ to improve literacy of disadvantaged children

Written by Sam Trendall on 21 February 2019 in News
News

Department for Education will also provide free access to learning apps 

The government aims to increase the literacy of disadvantaged children with two initiatives that aim to help parents “think about how to use children’s screen time constructively, rather than as an easy distraction”.

The first project will see the government provide a selection of families in 12 pilot areas around the country with free subscriptions to educational apps for tablets and smartphones. The Department for Education will choose what it believes are the leading learning apps for children aged two to four.

In another programme of work, Leeds-based charity Education Endowment Foundation will run a series of schemes offering access to educational toys, learning tips via text message, and “parenting group sessions”.

The government will recruit about 375 schools and nurseries across the north of England to take part, with the aim of helping 6,000 families in total.


Related content


The ultimate goal is to reduce a gap in educational attainment which, the DfE said, sees disadvantaged children four months behind their peers at the age of five. According to the government, this gap grows to six months by the age of 11, and 19 months by the time children sit their GCSEs.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “No parent has all of the answers. Being a parent is like learning to drive: wonderful, full of new discovery, but at times challenging, with plenty of obstacles to swerve. Our children are growing up in a constantly changing world and it is hard to keep up. And when it comes to children and technology – that’s where a manual can be helpful. Not all screen time is created equal: on one side there are the pressures that come with social media and the time spent looking at a screen, which is a key worry for parents – but on the other, the power of technology and the internet can open up a whole new world when embraced properly.”

He added: “But it’s also difficult to navigate, and often expensive, so I want to support parents of all backgrounds to feel able to embrace its benefits and use it in a measured, sensible way that helps improve children’s early development at home. Screens can be an easy distraction for children, but harnessing the power of technology to support early communication and development means that we have another tool in our arsenal to help young kids develop those skills.”

Programmes run by EEF will include group classes for parents in which 1,800 families will work with educational experts, as well as a home-visit programme for 320 families in South Yorkshire and 920 in Greater Manchester. The Tips by Text project will see parents of 2,700 four- and five-year-old children sent three messages each week containing advice on “literacy, numeracy and socio-emotional skills”.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Conservative manifesto: five tech takeaways
9 December 2019

Rounding up the Tories’ key pledges in the area of digital and data, including a new cybercrime force and tax incentives for investments in cloud computing

Could AR/VR augment the public sector?
6 December 2019

Government has only dabbled with augmented and virtual reality so far, but the technology has a range of potential use cases, according to Jeremy Dalton of Immerse UK and PwC

Related Sponsored Articles

Three best-practice measures in the event of a data breach
3 December 2019

To have the best chance of an effective response and a full recovery, organisations should have a robust incident response strategy in place, says BT 

How to take control of your network
26 November 2019

We hear from BT about why delivering a great customer experience depends on your network visibility 

The future of voice: how to successfully transform your legacy voice estate
19 November 2019

Organisations are increasingly having to replace their legacy voice infrastructure as traditional analogue and ISDN lines are being phased out. BT talk about how they can help the transition...

Case Study: Cryptocurrency, connectivity and the cloud
12 November 2019

BT presents findings from cryptocurrency firm Gemini on how they're providing customers with direct connectivity thanks to the Radianz network