Sutton Trust Founder Sir Peter Lampl is quoted by Eleanor Busby in an article for the Independent.

It is a “scandal” that young children are not able to speak or read properly when they arrive at school, the education secretary will say in his first speech on social mobility.

“This matters, because when you’re behind from the start you rarely catch up,” Damian Hinds will add as he launches a coalition of businesses, charities, tech and media groups to encourage more parents to read and learn new words with their children.

He will add: “Your peers don’t wait, the gap just widens. This has a huge impact on social mobility.”

The latest statistics from the Department for Education (DfE) showed 28 per cent of four and five-year-olds lacked the early communication skills – such as being able to talk about events in the past or future – expected by the end of reception year.

Mr Hinds will set out his plans to halve the number of children starting school without vital literacy skills by 2028.

An awareness-raising campaign – similar to the “five-a-day” campaign that encouraged more people to eat fruit and vegetables – could be introduced to change busy parents’ behaviour.


Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, a charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, said: “We know that what happens before school starts has a profound impact on a young person’s academic attainment later in life.

“The minister is absolutely right to set an ambitious target for closing the early literacy gap by focusing on the home learning environment.”

He added: “While achieving this won’t be easy, we know that all parents care about the future of their children. However it can sometimes be difficult to get them involved in their child’s learning and we know little about how to do this well.”