Some of the most effective work I saw in my time as Communication Champion was the support provided to parents to help them become skilled in developing their child’s language and communication.

This really matters, because how parents interact with their children is such a powerful predictor of the child’s language development and learning. As we saw in Chapter 2, in order to develop well, children need parents who tune in to their communications from the moment of birth, and respond in sensitive ways. We also know from the Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) study that what is often called ‘the home learning environment’ in the pre-school years (frequency of being read to, going to the library, singing songs, learning poems and rhymes, plus the more obvious early learning activities like being taught letters and numbers) is a more powerful predictor of literacy attainment at age 11 than whether the child attended pre-school and the academic effectiveness of their primary school.