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Recent research has shown that around 50 per cent of children in key areas of deprivation are starting school with delayed language, which has a direct impact on their future employability in the workplace.
The ability to communicate effectively is a key life skill. Good verbal communication is fundamental for learning to read and write, managing emotions and behaviour, developing friendships and entering employment. Yet, at the same time a recent study found that over 90 per cent of talking in a classroom is done by the teacher and the average contribution of a pupil is just four words. Just as they develop children’s literacy and numeracy, schools can play a crucial role in developing children’s spoken language skills. However, beyond age five, there is no statutory need for schools to report on children’s spoken language, and it is not prominent in the national curriculum – so often it just is not prioritised in school.
Communication skills cannot be underestimated; children with poor language skills at age five are at high risk of low achievement at age seven and beyond, and language levels at age two predict reading, writing and maths ability when starting school. No Pens Day Wednesday, which takes place on 13th November 2019, is a national day of speaking and listening activities, with over 7000 schools having taken part in previous years. 80 per cent of past participants said that No Pens Day Wednesday raised their awareness of speech, language and communication needs.
Aston spoke to Bob Reitemeier, CEO of ICAN to discuss the research in further detail and they also spoke about the “No Pens Day Wednesday” campaign.