Justine Greening’s comments from the Carnegie-Sutton Trust Best in Class 2018 Summit, hosted in New York last month, are featured in an exclusive article by Will Hazel in TES.

Government is too ‘reticent’ about advising parents how to help children learn at home, says former education secretary.

Parents who lack confidence in reading should turn on television subtitles to improve their children’s literacy, Justine Greening has said.

The former education secretary suggested that government had in the past been too reluctant to tell parents how to bring up their children, and called for it to take a more “active” role by advising parents on how they could create a good “home learning environment”.

One literacy charity has backed her comments by calling on broadcasters to automatically subtitle children’s TV programmes as a way of improving reading skills.

Speaking last month at a social mobility summit organised by the Sutton Trust in New York, Ms Greening highlighted the use of TV subtitles as a “practical” thing that parents could do to improve their children’s prospects.

She said: “If we could just get parents having subtitles on the TV as a matter of course for a child’s early years. If you’re not a great reader yourself, as a parent, that’s one thing you can do, to help children listen and learn words.

“It can help. It’s not going to change the world, but it can help.”

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Read the full article, catch up on the summit or read our latest research on early years.