Families to receive parenting tips by text

Charities the Education Endowment Foundation and Shine are running a series of government funded parenting trials, including texting families with tips on being a successful parent.

Joe Lepper | 26th Feb 19

Families with young children will be sent parenting tips by text as part of a series of government funded projects being rolled out by two education charities across the north of England.

The Education Endowment Foundation and Leeds-based education charity SHINE have been recruited by the Department for Education to run a number of parenting projects across 375 schools and nurseries.

This includes a ‘tips by text’ service for parents of four and five-year-olds, involving 2,700 families from 105 schools in the north-east. The aim is to encourage activities that help develop literacy, numeracy as well as social and emotional skills, such as counting the number of plates on a table.

Other trials include 1,800 families across 150 schools and nurseries in the north-east taking part in the Group Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). This ncludes videos showing positive parenting techniques.

The aim of the trials is to halve the proportion of children leaving reception classes without the communication skills needed to thrive in school.

“By testing different ways of improving the home learning environment – from texts to parents to home visits – these new trials will give us much needed information about how we can give mums and dads the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life,” said Education Endowment Foundation Chief Executive Sir Kevan Collins.

Free education apps initiative

The government has also announced it is to give disadvantaged families with young children free access to educational apps for smart phones and tablets. The Department for Education is to source the most effective apps and buy subscriptions so that children aged two to four can use them in up to 12 pilot areas.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “Not all screen time is created equal: on one side there are the pressures that come with social media and the time spent looking at a screen, which is a key worry for parents – but on the other, the power of technology and the internet can open up a whole new world when embraced properly.

“But it’s also difficult to navigate, and often expensive, so I want to support parents of all backgrounds to feel able to embrace its benefits and use it in a measured, sensible way that helps improve children’s early development at home.

“Screens can be an easy distraction for children, but harnessing the power of technology to support early communication and development means that we have another tool in our arsenal to help young kids develop those skills.”