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Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, 4/5/18   Blog: Narrowing the gap in children’s school readiness


 

 

Almost half of all children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not reach their expected level of development when they start school,* by which time the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers can be as large as 15 months.** This school readiness ‘gap’ can have lasting consequences, leaving children who have started school behind their peers continuing to lag behind them throughout their education, right through to GSCE and A level attainment.

At Family Lives, the charity at which I am Deputy Chief Executive, we are committed to levelling the playing field so that all children can make the most of their time in school and fulfill their potential.

Last year, I travelled to the USA and Ireland as part of my Churchill Fellowship to learn how the Parent Child Home Programme (PCHP) is reducing the school readiness gap between low income children and their better off peers. Using toys and books to model positive play, along with communication and interaction over the course of 92 home visits, families are transformed by this programme. Parents and children all grow in confidence, parent-child interaction increases and children’s literacy improves dramatically.

Family Lives is delighted to be introducing the programme to England during 2018, having secured a grant from Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to pilot PCHP in three areas in England: Newcastle, Ealing and Nottingham. Based on learning from my Fellowship travels, we will be adapting the delivery cycle and supervision structures to fit the UK context, as well as introducing volunteer home visitors.

We are very excited to be bringing the joy of books and toys to families in these areas, ensuring that children are surrounded by a positive home learning environment – and that they are ready to thrive when they start nursery or school.

Please click here to read the full blog post from Pamela Park on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Blog.

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