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SHINE has partnered with the Department for Education and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to test projects that support parents to help improve their children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school.

Together, we’ll spend £5m testing up to 8 different projects in the North of England that aim to provide practical tools and advice to parents so they can help their children learn new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes. All of the projects will have a focus on supporting families in disadvantaged areas.

Speaking at a summit on the home learning environment in the early years on Wednesday 14th November, Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced four projects that will be taken forward through the funding partnership:

  • Making-it-REAL, delivered by the National Children’s Bureau, trains early years practitioners to deliver home visits and literacy events to families in order to improve early literacy.
  • The Triple P Positive Parenting Programme, supports early years practitioners to deliver targeted sessions to parents that aim to improve children’s language, and social and emotional development.
  • The Parent Child Home Programme, delivered by Family Lives, is an intensive home visiting programme focused on improving disadvantaged 2-year olds’ language and social and emotional development.
  • Tips by Text, delivered by the Behavioural Insights Team, sends “nudge” texts to parents that offer them highly specific activities to do with their child, as well as tips and encouragement on how to improve the home learning environment.

The EEF is currently working with delivery teams and independent evaluators to design the projects. Recruitment to the trials from schools, nurseries and early years settings in the North of England will begin from January 2019. Details will be advertised on the EEF’s website. You can sign up to receive their email news alerts – or alternatively email them now – to register your interest in taking part.

Fiona Spellman, Chief Executive of SHINE said: “We are delighted to have partnered with the Department for Education and The Education Endowment Foundation to deliver the Home Learning Environment Fund.

“This funding partnership will enable us, for the first time, to develop a clearer understanding of what works in relation to supporting parents in the home learning environment in communities across the North of England. We are very much looking forward to seeing the results of the first five projects.”

Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Parents care very much about the future of their children, whatever their background or wherever they come from. But it can sometimes be difficult to get them involved in their child’s learning and we know little about how to do this well.

“By testing different ways of improving the home learning environment – from texts to parents to home visits – these new trials will give us much needed information about how we can give parents the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life.

“I’m delighted that we’re able to partner with SHINE on this project. They have excellent networks in the North of England and will help us to make sure we reach those schools, nurseries and families most in need of support.”

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