On 6 October 2022, the Department for Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), will launch the new home learning environment (HLE) campaign. The campaign has been designed to encourage parents and carers to chat, play and read more with their children, developing their communication, language and literacy skills before starting school.
Some of the poorest children in the UK start school months behind their peers and the gap can grow through their school years. As a result, children with poor vocabulary skills at age 5 are likely to do less well academically and may be up to twice as likely to be unemployed in their 30s.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse: there has been a rise in the number of children starting school with language skills poorer than would have been expected before.
We want to encourage parents and carers to chat, play and read more with their children to develop their communication, language and literacy skills before starting school. We want to support and empower parents to do more learning and play activities with their children and help overcome the key barriers we know they face, such as lack of time, confidence and not knowing the types of activities that are beneficial. The reality is that these activities take little time, can happen anywhere and can easily be interwoven with daily tasks. And, ultimately, it is as rewarding for parents and carers as it is for their children.
The main objective of the campaign will be to direct parents to our HLE online hub, where they can find ideas of activities to do with their children and explore where to find further support in their local area.