Minister’s quest for ‘simple solutions’ to social mobility misses the point

“It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not  able to read simple words,” said Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds in his first keynote speech today. Policy to improve this situation should look to some of the great teaching practice that’s happening already rather than being based on assumptions made about the home environment, say Dr Naomi Flynn and Dr Holly Joseph.

Damian Hinds’ comments in his talk to The Resolution Foundation today on the ‘scandalous’ lack of speaking and reading skills in young children mixes up several agenda that need unpicking if he is to get to the root of the issues he wants to tackle.

Reports (from the BBC and The Independent), have also cherry-picked some of things he said and conflated poor language and literacy skills, and commented on screen time, in ways that the minister did not necessarily intend.

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If we want equal life chances for all we must stop focusing on exam results

The exam grades gap between rich and poor remains stubbornly constant. If we are ever to achieve parity of life chances for all, we must shift the focus away from exam results towards skills such as confidence, resilience, and personal measures of achievement, say Dr Carol Fuller and Gaston Bacquet.

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