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Education in the Media: Friday 21 December 2018

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Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the £9m Holiday meals and enrichment fund announcement and the latest Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2018 statistics.

Holiday meals and enrichment fund

Today, Friday 21 December, Minister Zahawi announced the opening of bidding for the £9m Holiday meals and enrichment fund for summer 2019. This has been covered on the i front page and reported by the TES.

The announcement builds on £2m provided in summer 2018, and will pay for local coordinators to fund and oversee meals and enrichment activities such as sports clubs for free school meals children during the summer holidays.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

We supported more than 18,000 disadvantaged children through our investment this summer – giving young people access to nutritious meals and fun activities and helping us to understand how we can best support them during the holidays.

Following this successful programme we have increased funding to £9 million for next year and will tailor the scheme so that it has the most benefit for young people and their families.

This will help deliver on our ambition for every child, regardless of their background, to reach their potential – building on our work to shrink the attainment gap in our schools and continue protection of the £2.4 billion a year spent on the pupil premium for those who need it most.

Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2018

Yesterday, Thursday 20 December, we published the Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents 2018 Official Statistics publication. This was reported by the Daily Mail and the Sun.

The findings show the overall use of formal and informal childcare by pre-school and school-aged children, perceived impacts of the 30 hours policy on families and children, maternal work and employment decisions and digital technology and the early years home learning environment.

The top findings include:

  • that among children that used digital electronic device at home
  • the most common reasons were to support learning (74%)
  • and of children who used a digital electronic device at home
  • two-thirds (65%) were helped by someone at home to learn the alphabet, spell or recognise words using the device(s).

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

This survey underlines that technology is a double edged sword. We all know that phones and devices are an easy distraction for both children and their parents, me included. But also when used in the right way, technology can actively support a child’s learning and is something we must harness in our mission to support parents with children’s learning at home.

We want to improve children’s early communication skills, so they begin school able to thrive, and it’s encouraging the majority of parents – 74% - are helping their children to learn through the use of digital devices. We want to improve access to high quality apps for parents to support this learning, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to make sure families don’t miss out.


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