03 February 2022

I CAN response to the announcement of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper

The Levelling Up strategy includes promises to refocus education spending on disadvantaged parts of the country and eliminate illiteracy and innumeracy. To meet this ambition, it is crucial that the right support is put in place to help children struggling to speak and understand language. Substantial research evidence links good language and literacy development with long-term achievements in education, better social-emotional skills, good health, improved employment prospects and more opportunities for social mobility.

More widely, we know that as many as 50% of children start school struggling to speak and understand language. The pandemic has only exacerbated this issue. If the Government is serious about levelling up, it must ensure in the short-term support is put in place so that all those behind because of Covid can be supported to catch up and in the long term develop a cross departmental speech, language, and communications strategy so that children and their families can get the right help at the right time. 

Carol Payne, I CAN Interim Chief Executive

Recently, I CAN alongside the Oracy All Party Parliamentary Group and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, publishes a Policy Position Statement on the centrality of spoken language to developing literacy and numeracy skills. You can read it here

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