Improving communication, language and reading skills

Why this is an issue

There is an attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and other pupils. This gap exists in all early years learning goals (ELG), all key stage 1 expected standards and key stage 2 reading, writing and maths. Disadvantaged children in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire have particularly low attainment in reading, writing and communication.

School leaders report that a lack of communication and language skills is a key barrier to social mobility. Many children who are behind during their early years remain behind in their primary and secondary education.

What we will do

  • invite all schools to apply for up to £25,000 to deliver projects to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils
  • provide training for teaching assistants and early years providers to give children the best support in school and early years settings
  • launch a reading scheme to encourage children to read during the summer holidays
  • support and promote the projects funded through the strategic school improvement fund and the teaching and leadership innovation fund to improve teaching of reading and phonics
  • employ a specialist lead for early years to support early years providers and schools

Our targets

  • by 2021, the percentage of children eligible for free school meals achieving the expected standards in the early years foundation stage reading and speaking goals will be more than the national average
  • by 2021, the attainment of all pupils in key stage 2 reading will be in the top half of all local authority districts in England
  • by 2021, the gap between the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and all pupils at key stage 2 will be half of what it was in September 2017