Bob Reitemeier, our Chief Executive, comments on plans introduced in the Queen’s Speech.
I tuned in with interest today to the Queens Speech to listen to the Government plans to improve life chances for the most disadvantaged. At I CAN we believe that communication is the fundamental life skill for all children. Good communication is key to ensuring children get the best start in life but it is unfortunately the case that upwards of half of all children in some areas start school with poor language. Poor language is a main factor in predicting poor life chances for children. This makes language development one of the most important stepping stones in helping children move out of poverty. Research shows that good vocabulary at age five is linked with success at age 30.
Therefore, in the Queen’s Speech, I was pleased to hear plans for developing indicators for the Life Changes strategy will be forthcoming. I CAN is asking Government to include early language and communication development as a key indicator, with an additional spoken language indicator as part of the GCSE qualification.
I was also noted with interest plans to reform prisons and courts to give individuals a second chance. Between 60-90% of young offenders have communication difficulties, and adolescents with mental health issues are three times more likely as their peers to have poor communication skills. Any reform of the prison system needs to take this into account. Without good communication skills, offenders won’t be able to maximise the benefits of the rehabilitation opportunities in prison and improve their chances of moving on to productive employment.
Find out more about I CAN’s response to Government policy on our website here.