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Government plan to improve social mobility through education

The Government in England has released a national plan to support children and young people to reach their full potential. The new plan 'Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential' was unveiled by Education Secretary Justine Greening aims to have social mobility at the heart of education policy.

Justine Greening pledged £50m to boost school nursery provision in some of the most challenging areas, in a bid to help more children benefit from early education support before starting primary school. This also includes investment in the development of early years practitioners in pre-reception settings. 

The plan has set out four main ambitions:

  1. Close the 'word gap' in the early years
  2. Close the attainment gap in school while continuing to raise standards
  3. High quality post-16 education choices for all young people
  4. Everyone achieving their full potential in rewarding careers

Early years-specific initiatives include:

  • £50m funding to develop more high quality school-based nursery provision to increase the number of good early years places for disadvantaged children.
  • £20m allocated for school-led professional development for early years practitioners in pre-reception nursery settings (both private and school-based) to support early language and numeracy development. 
  • Expansion of English hubs nationally with a particular focus on reception.
  • £8.5m early years ‘system leadership’ programme to spread best practice on improving outcomes where it is needed most. This will include support for communities with low take-up of early education, effective use of children’s centres and alignment with local troubled families programmes.
  • A new partnership with Public Health England to enable health visitors and early years educators to identify and support children’s early speech, language and communication needs through training guidance and an enhanced early language assessment tool.
  • A £5m dedicated ‘what works’ fund with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to further enhance the professional development opportunities in the early years and ensure practitioners can identify and make the best use of proven interventions to support disadvantaged children.
  • £5m trial in the North of England to identify evidence based approaches to home learning environment programmes that support early language development.
  • Identify and share best practice on what should be taught in reception year.
  • A specific focus on early language and literacy in the £280m Strategic School Improvement Fund and in the £75m Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund.

Read the full plan