Labour’s 2015 manifesto aims to improve life for children and it suggests that one effective means of achieving that aim is to invest in early years’ provision. The claim is that a child’s language development at the age of two is a strong predictor of reading ability in primary school and later attainment. The evidence for this checks out, but is the Sure Start initiative the best way to support early learning? Read more
Despite the UK’s pivotal role on the global stage and its melting pot of cultures, the country remains largely a nation of monoglots. But what is holding back Brits from learning a foreign language? The Guardian and the British Academy launched the Case for Language Learning to investigate the reasons behind the UK’s shortage of foreign language skills, discussing the importance and value of learning a foreign tongue. The Living Languages report highlights many of the debates and thinking generated by the two-year project, and brings together some of the dominant themes. Read more
The Liberal Democrat manifesto launched on 14 April 2010 was built around ‘four steps to a fairer Britain’. Many of its pledges have gone nowhere, particularly in areas like education, and a number of high-profile ones have been ditched, like scrapping tuition fees. However, perhaps more have been adopted than might have been expected for a minor party in a coalition. Read more
From the archive 15 April 1925: It used to be a first principle that all educated English people spoke alike. There was, of course, the Oxford accent, but that was the exception which proved the rule. There was also a very much greater difference between what was known as the “educated” accent and that of those to whom education did not come quite so easily. To-day accents have so far merged into each other that it is not quite so easy to place people. Read more
The average British family spends just 34 minutes a day together during the week, a survey shows. At weekends that rises to only an hour and 37 minutes each day.Eight in ten parents say they don’t spend enough time with their children, with more than a quarter blaming long working hours, commuting and getting home exhausted. Six in ten told the survey for Highland Spring that they struggle to gather the whole household, with only four meals a week eaten as a family. Read more
The party manifestos contained little that was new or surprising when they were released this week. You can check the education promises for the Conservative party(page 33), the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats (page 50), UKIP (page 28) and the Green Party (page 36).
Primary school-aged children in the UK need more education on how to avoid sexual abuse, says a leading academic. A global study suggests that children who have been on abuse prevention programmes are more likely to tell an adult if they have been abused. The researchers looked at data on some 6,000 children in seven countries. Read more
Ahead of the general election in May, new research has revealed that guaranteeing small class sizes is the most popular education policy among parents. It comes ahead of having fully qualified teachers in the classroom, protecting the education budget from cuts and reducing university tuition fees to £6,000 per year. The policy forms a key part of Labour’s education manifesto, published last week, in which the party pledged to deliver smaller class sizes for five, six and seven year-olds; capping numbers at 30 pupils or less. Read more