UK Government launches competition to find best early learning apps
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UK Government launches competition to find best early learning apps

by Freya Lucas

August 01, 2019

The United Kingdom Government has launched a competition to find the best quality early years learning apps, with 12 pilot areas announced where disadvantaged families will receive free access to the two best quality apps. 


The competition builds on a national mission to encourage parents to interact with young children in a bid to ‘kick start’ children’s language and literacy skills at home. 


Families in 12 pilot areas around the country will receive free access to a choice of two of the highest-quality apps focused on early language, literacy and communication. The Government said that by supplying the apps, parents would be supported to “think about how to use screen time constructively and provide meaningful learning activities for their young children in the years before they start Reception (the first year of formal schooling).” 


Tech companies in the UK have been encouraged to come forward and nominate apps which meet agreed educational criteria, including elements of play, interaction and ranging difficulty levels. 


The apps, if suitable, will be given a ‘stamp of approval’ by the UK Government. Parents across England will then be able to make informed choices about the apps they choose from among the hundreds already available on the market. 


UK Children and Families Minister Kemi Badenoch said the Government was keen to “work together with families to give all children the best possible start and support parents to begin the learning process at home”.


“Digital technology means there is a wealth of fun activities at parents’ fingertips, but the content of these is important too. That’s why we want to help parents make confident, informed choices about the resources they use, so they can help inspire a love of learning in their children,” she added. 


Ms Badenoch said the competition “reaffirms an ambition set last year to halve the proportion of children leaving Reception without the early literacy, language and communications skills they need by 2028.”


While the percentage of children reaching a good level of development at the end of Reception has increased from 51.7 per cent to 71.5 per cent since 2013, more than 1 in 4 children still leaves that first year of school without the key communication skills needed to thrive, she noted. 


The areas chosen to take part in the pilot were selected based on factors including the proportion of children achieving below the expected level of development in communication, language and literacy at age five, as well as a focus on some of the most deprived communities.

For more information about early learning initiatives being undertaken in the UK, please see here.

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