Home help for disadvantaged Rotherham families to boost children’s school chances

By Adele Forrest | 12/04/2019

Home help for disadvantaged Rotherham families to boost children’s school chances

DISADVANTAGED parents are being offered the chance to have weekly home visits from an expert to help boost their childen’s language and literacy skills.

Around 80 Rotherham famililes are set to be recruited this month (April) to take part in the new two-year scheme, announced by education secretary Damian Hinds.

The Parent Child Home Programme will see trained experts visiting families at home twice a week for 15 months to demonstrate different reading, conversation and play activities and provide books and educational toys to enrich the home learning environment. 

The programme will be run by Family Lives and a total of 320 families across South Yorkshire with two-year-old childrens are set to take part.

The scheme was part of four new programmes — funded by the Department for Education and run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) — set to be rolled out in the north.

Mr Hinds (pictured) said he wanted to halve the number of children arriving at school not yet ready to learn. 

He said: “There is more support for childcare and early learning than ever before, with more than 700,000 two-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds having benefited from 15 hours of free childcare a week since 2013. 

“But the vast majority of a child’s time is spent at home and what happens here is critical to their development.

“The home learning environment can have a huge impact on a child’s ability to succeed in life, so I want to support families with hints and tips to propel their child’s learning so they are not behind on their first day of school and they can go on to reach their full potential, whatever their background.”

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: “Parents want the best for their children, whatever their background or wherever they come from. 
“But it can sometimes be difficult to get parents involved in their child’s learning in practical ways which make a difference and we know little about how to do this well.

“By testing different ways of improving the home learning environment — from texts to parents to home visits — these new trials will give us much needed information about how we can give mums and dads the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life.”

The Government said that, on average, disadvantaged children are four months behind in their overall development at age five. 

This grows by an additional six 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.

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