Save the Children respond to Education Secretary's speech at Resolution Foundation
Commenting on the Education Secretary’s pledge to halve the number of children falling behind in their early language and literacy skills, Steven McIntosh, Director of UK Poverty for Save the Children, said
We warmly welcome this commitment to address the hidden crisis in pre-school learning. One in four children, and almost half of the poorest, fall behind in their learning before they even start school. Children who start behind, tend to stay behind – that’s why the government is right to put tackling the early learning gap at the forefront of improving social mobility.
Parents will always be the biggest influence on a child’s development. It is very welcome to see the Education Secretary take a lead on how society can come together to help mums and dads support their children’s early learning. But 95% of children in England attend formal childcare before school and there are still major gaps in the quality of this early education. We face a critical shortage of skilled early years teachers, who are trained to identify and support children falling behind - yet, this month, the government backtracked on a commitment to tackle it.
To ensure every child is ready for school, the Education Secretary must combine leadership on home learning with a commitment to boost childcare quality.