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Assembly Member calls on Minister to help children who can’t speak

June 15, 2011 2:32 PM
Originally published by Peter Black and South Wales West Liberal Democrats

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has asked the Minister for Education and Skills to use the Welsh Government's pre-school programmes to help children learn to speak.

Following the shocking news that many children start school unable to speak properly and that 3 in 10 children live in households that don't own a book, Mr. Black asked the Minister if Welsh Government programmes were reaching those families inWalesthat needed them most?

"We recognise the efforts of the Welsh Government to address literacy issues among 11 year olds, and indeed in children starting school" said Mr. Black, "but it is too little too late. More and more children are starting school without basic language skills. Teachers are teaching children how to speak before they can start to educate them."

"I asked the Minister if he would amend the Government's programmes such as Flying Start in order to turn around this worrying trend and ensure all children inWalesstart school with the basic speech skills they need. Local Authorities need discretion in order to meet the needs of their communities but schemes such as Flying Start are prescriptive in every way: location, numbers and projects.

"It is no wonder that Wales is falling behind so badly in the education league tables when teachers have to spend the early years teaching children how to speak rather than read or write."