Boost family learning to close attainment gaps

Funding family initiatives that empower parents to learn basic skills and also help their children learn at home, can significantly close the attainment gap and boost educational attainment across generations. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) says that governments should give family learning more support and urges head teachers to fund family learning through the pupil premium.

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Other initiatives have focused solely on developing/improving the home learning environment of disadvantaged pupils. The Effective provision of pre-school education (EPPE) found that the quality of the home learning environment is more important for social/intellectual outcomes than parental occupation, education or income. Children from poor backgrounds are much less likely to experience a rich home learning environment than their better off counterparts, and this has an important role to play in explaining the lower test scores of poor children compared to children from better off families, evident by age 3.

Interventions such as ‘Play and learn strategies’ offers at home training to parents of infants focusing on improving parents responsiveness and sensitivity. This has been found to produce an improvement in children’s attention and language. Other initiatives such as the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) programme focus on learning. PEEP fosters reading readiness by providing parents with materials and then supporting them in the use of those materials through group sessions or home visits. Evaluations show gains in several measures of cognitive development between the ages two and four to five years.

To read full Evidence Ofsted report, click here:  Unseen Children: access and achievement 20 years on