How technology can help close the Attainment Gap in Early Years Education

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About this talk

Our Early Years sector is in CRISIS and as a result the Attainment Gap is growing, especially for disadvantaged children. The main issues are:

◾Affordability of childcare/lack of funding for free hours

◾Flexibility

◾Fragmented sector

◾ Inconsistency with quality of teaching - 'postcode lottery'

◾Staffing shortages (especially in light of COVID/Brexit)

◾Pay & training for staff

Millions of children cannot access structured learning and development opportunities in the Early Years due to growing issues of affordability. Yet the science tells us that a child's experiences from conception through their first five years will go on to shape their next 50. It is well documented that experiences in early childhood are often the root cause of today’s hardest social challenges such as addiction, family breakdown, poor mental health, suicide and homelessness.

Every child deserves a fair chance at education, and yet from day one, the odds are stacked against children from poorer families. Let's take language development as an example: by the time they are three years old, children in the lowest income group are a staggering 17 months behind children in the highest income group.

Technology has a key part to play in helping close the Attainment Gap, by removing barriers to education and ultimately driving improvements in educational outcomes.

The Public Sector has a huge part to play if we are to make the most of the opportunities afforded by EdTech – it will require a partnership approach, that brings educators, leaders, experts and parents together. It requires a vision for EdTech which incorporates support for businesses to access investment, opportunities to meet customers, to test and iterate their ideas. EdTech businesses need the Public Sector to help drive demand and awareness for products and services.

The UK has an opportunity to build the best EdTech ecosystem in the world, whilst also having a truly transformational impact on our society. Big Change Starts Small #TechForGood

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