New £1.6 million investment for education in North Yorkshire, UK
New programmes worth £1.6 million will support young people and their families living on the North Yorkshire Coast with practical help to boost early learning at home and improve access to extra-curricular activities.
Parents who struggle to help their young children develop reading, writing and language skills will be supported by a £800,000 scheme that will offer support such as community workshops with early years experts.
The project will also fund the creation of 40 speech and language ‘champions’ to work with nurseries and preschools in the area, helping identify earlier when children might need better support and make sure they arrive at school ready to learn.
It will also provide support to more than 20 primary schools to improve pupils’ speech, language and communication skills. Support could include an onsite therapist in more severe cases – an expansion of the Scarborough Pledge, which tackles educational disadvantage.
Alongside this, a second scheme also worth £800,000 will launch in September to improve access to sports, arts and cultural activities for more than 3,500 young people aged five to 18 in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.
The Education Secretary launched the projects, all part of the government’s £72 million Opportunity Area programme – of which North Yorkshire Coast is one of 12 – during a visit to Coventry University Scarborough Campus where he met with members of the Partnership Board and young carers who will benefit from the investment.
The Opportunity Area Partnership board is also match-funding £50,000 of investment from the Two Ridings Community Foundation as part of the #iwill fund. This fund aims to increase volunteering among young people in the area by 50% by 2020, encouraging them to fundraise, give up their time or campaign for a chosen cause.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with additional needs can face the greatest barriers in their early development, so it is important that where that help is needed it is in place as early as possible – such as through the government’s free childcare offer for two-year-olds from lower income families, which has been used by nearly 750,000 children.
The funding builds on the Education Secretary’s vision to halve the number of children finishing reception year without the early communication or reading skills they need by 2028, and on £20 million of investment already announced to improve early language and literacy for disadvantaged children around England. ■