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News story: Multi-million fund to boost children’s early language skills

first_img We are very pleased that the Government has announced funding for a new LGA peer review programme of sector-led support which will share and promote good practice and knowledge across councils. Councils are absolutely determined to make sure that children get the best start in life. This is why we need to close ‘the word gap’ in the early years, by focussing on key early language and literacy skills, so that all children can begin school ready to thrive. Through the hard work of teachers and the government’s reforms, academic standards are rising with 1.9 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010 and the attainment gap is narrowing in both primary and secondary school. English children are also rising up the international literacy league tables from an early age, helping to make Britain a country fit for the future.Despite this progress, too many children arrive at school struggling with language and social skills, putting them at a disadvantage when they begin their formal education and making it harder for them to master the fundamentals of reading that other children take for granted.Over the past 40 years, the amount of time parents spend on development activities, such as playing and reading with their children has risen from 23 minutes per day to 80 minutes, but research shows that three year olds from certain backgrounds are 37 percentage points less likely to be read to every day than their peers.The EEF will trial projects in the north of England, looking at what works best in improving children’s communication skills at home before they begin school, a key part of the government’s ambition to give every child the best start in life.The projects aim to give parents and carers the tools to widen children’s language, vocabulary and social skills in the pre-school years to tackle the ‘word gap’ that exists between disadvantaged children and their better off peers at age five, and there is evidence that shows this has a long term effect on educational outcomes.First announced in the government’s social mobility action plan Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential, published in December, these measures target support in areas that need it the most – ensuring equality of opportunity for children and young people and laying the foundations to give them an excellent education.Sir Kevan Collins, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: In a separate drive to aid social mobility, the government has also committed £8.5million to a new Early Years Social Mobility Peer Review Programme with the Local Government Association, which will see councils working together to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children.Councillor Roy Perry, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: New support to help parents improve their children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school have been announced today (30 April) by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.Two schemes will build the confidence of parents to support their children in language and reading at an early stage. This has been shown to help close the so-called ‘word gap’ – the gap in communication skills between disadvantaged children and their peers when they start school.A new £5million scheme will be run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to trial projects to provide practical tools and advice to parents so they can help their children learn new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes.Alongside this, an £8.5million programme has opened for local authorities to fund projects to improve early language and literacy development for disadvantaged children.Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:center_img This Government wants every child to have the best start in life which means mastering the basics of speaking, reading and writing at an early age. It is important that parents and families can feel confident about supporting their children so they can start school with the appropriate level of language and social skills. This new support will help parents with early language learning at home by giving them practical advice on activities like reading and learning the alphabet which are so important in making sure no child is left behind. Parents care very much about the future of their children, whatever their background or wherever they come from. But it can sometimes be difficult to get them involved in their child’s learning and we know little about how to do this well. By testing different ways of tackling issues like the early years ‘word gap’, this new fund will give us much needed information about how we can give parents the tools they need to give their child the very best start in life.last_img read more

Translating Technology – Turning Bits and Bytes into Business Benefits

first_imgWhen people ask what most excites me about working for the largest privately owned technology company in the world, they are often surprised to hear that my answer focuses not so much on IT itself, but rather the vision emerging technologies are capable of providing to those companies willing to think innovatively.In the age of digital transformation, the human/machine partnership has opened vast new channels for organizations to push the boundaries of what technology can do to help them expand their corporate reach. But this can only be accomplished when decision makers are able to properly read the blueprint for turning the chaos at the center of digital disruption into opportunity, and that means teaching them to focus not on what technology is, but what it can achieve within their organization once properly integrated.Struggling with the pace of changeTo be sure, committing to a successful digital transformation can be a daunting task for members of the C Suite, who must by necessity keep one eye focused on making sure the lights stay on. As an April 2018 IT transformation maturity study commissioned by Dell EMC and conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) illustrates, the majority of today’s organizations recognize the power of emerging technologies to increase their bottom line, but are unsure as to which solutions will give them the best return on investment. The study showed that transformed organizations are more than 2x as likely to report exceeding their FY2017 revenue goals, contributing to a 2.5x greater likelihood to believe they are in a strong competitive position. And yet, a majority of companies surveyed around the world say they lack the transformation needed to remain competitive with more agile and advanced industry peers.So why the disparity? To put it bluntly, most modern organizations still think of IT in yesterday’s terms – as a provider of email, networking, data storage and backups. But when properly understood, today’s technology is capable of so much more. The wealth of possibilities at the heart of the human/machine partnership have transformed IT from a simple service provider into a trusted business partner capable of reinventing business models, extending an organization’s reach and influencing long-term strategies. In many ways, modern IT has so deeply integrated itself into today’s market that every company is in some way a software company, regardless of the goods and services it offers or the field it is in. Take banking, for example. Who uses paper cheques  anymore? And soon, who will use cash? Before we know it, everything will be done online.From science fiction to strategic solutionsThe chaos brought about by digital disruption has led to a culture of confusion among executive decision makers. They are increasingly aware that once futuristic solutions such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and machine learning are now coming into their own as field-tested tools capable of ushering in new methods for productivity. However, they are unsure how to incorporate this potential into their business. This is where we at Dell Technologies come in, and this is where my job gets interesting.In order for an organization’s C Suite to understand the true potential behind these cutting edge solutions, we as IT providers must translate these technologies into tangibles that represent the ways in which they can specifically benefit our customers. To do this, we help them to create and realize innovative business ideas through the use of coded software that sits on solid hardware foundations. Rather than asking what a particular technology does, we want our customers to think about what they wish to accomplish, and then devise new ways of orchestrating emerging IT solutions to realize their goal.A great example of this is Columbia Sportswear, who wanted to drive their time-to-market for customer inspired clothes by increasing their ability to collaborate between design and production departments across different sites. To help them do this, Dell EMC and VMware worked with Columbia to successfully modernize its infrastructure and take advantage of an array of new initiatives in 3D modeling, shared via the cloud. As a result, they can now get a product from their suggestion box to shop shelves in under two weeks.Similarly, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), a part of Coca-Cola, wanted to create greater transparency and standards across its worldwide network of franchise bottlers that manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute Coca-Cola products to millions of consumers. By transitioning its SAP applications to the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, DellEMC helped BIG devise a customized system where its bottlers can now literally “pay by the drink,” granting each individual entity direct control over managing its own costs as well as full transparency into its data.Locally here in the UK, we are committed to helping both businesses and the Public Sector build new offerings based on technology, modernize processes using technology, and create new customer experiences through the use of technology. The possibilities are limitless.Making the most of the human/machine collaborationWhen most of us look at an airplane, we do not think of the series of engines, ailerons and rudders that go into how it flies. Instead, we focus on where that plane will take us on the next step of our journey.For modern organizations, the same can be said of emerging technologies. By investing in the future and partnering with machines and the solutions that power them, forward thinking companies will find themselves perfectly positioned to push the boundaries of what IT can do. In doing so, they will themselves be prepared to reap the benefits of what technology can do for them, be it in terms of furthering the company’s reach or bolstering its bottom line.This enables both parties – us as a technology provider, and our customers who use these solutions to extend their vision – to drive one another to achieve something that is greater than the sum of its parts. And that is what any good partnership is about.I find that incredibly satisfying.last_img read more

Christmas Shoebox Appeal to begin collections next week

first_imgOver the last eighteen years Team Hope have delivered shoebox gifts to over 3 million children living in some of the poorest parts of the world.They say; “To children who think they’ve been forgotten, your kindness shows they haven’t been!” Next Thursday marks the official launch of the appeal in Inishowen at 7:30pm at The Exchange, Buncrana.From Thursday you can drop off your boxes to Supervalu Buncrana, Supervalu Carndonagh, and Serenity House Moville, until Wednesday 16th of November.All you have to do to take part in this fantastic initiative is to fill a shoebox with a range of simple Christmas gifts and drop it off at your local drop point before November 11th. Their volunteers then check through the boxes for customs and safety requirements, seal them, and send them on their way.Their partners deliver the shoebox right into the child’s hands – in hospitals, schools, shelters, churches, orphanages, community centres or family homes. Here are the five simple steps to follow:Grab a Shoe box or a plastic container would be great! Wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paperPrint Label and choose who you want to give your Christmas Shoebox to and what age.Fill the box Get as creative as you like and have some fun with this !Close the box Include €4 in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid. To make it easier you can donate your €4 on our secure on-line site. With elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as we need to check contents to comply with regulations.Drop it off To your local drop off point closest to you before November 16thA list of things to put into the boxes include;TO WRITE – Items for school – like a pen, pencil, copy book, paper, colouring book, felt pens, sharpener, eraser, solar calculator. TO WASH – Some hygiene items – toothbrush and toothpaste, soap (wrapped please), facecloth, hairbrush, comb.TO WEAR – Small clothing items – a hat, scarf, gloves, socks or underwearWOW ! – A treat – sunglasses, game, small Irish gift, a photo of yourself, sweets (must be in date until at least March 2017), make up, a small musical instrument, toys like a doll, a car, cuddly toy, skipping rope, yo-yo, a finger puppet.For more check out their website. Christmas Shoebox Appeal to begin collections next week was last modified: October 22nd, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more