6500 Clarks staff to teach children literacy skills as they fit their shoes

// Clarks has signed up to a government initiative to improve early literacy skills
// Studies have shown that 40% of 5-6 year olds do not know enough words to do well in school
// Other retailers including WHSmith and Lego have also signed up for the scheme

Clarks has launched a government-backed initiative which will see some 6500 staff teach children language skills as they fit their shoes.

As part of a government scheme designed to improve early language and literacy skills, thousands of Clarks staff will be trained to develop children’s vocabulary and social skills while they’re in store.

The government will pay for the training, and other retailers including WHSmith and Lego have also signed up for the scheme.

According to study conducted by the Oxford University Press last year, more then 40 per cent of five and six-year-olds don’t know enough words to do well in school, while another study by the National Literacy Trust found that 7.1 million adults have poor literacy skills.

Ministers are now focusing on improving early communication and literacy rates among disadvantaged families.

“There’s no instruction manual for being a parent,” children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi said.

“For some who left school a long time ago or who have low confidence in their own abilities, it can be overwhelming to know where to start with supporting children’s learning at home before they start school – and we know that too many children are arriving at school already behind their peers.

“By working with a growing number of businesses, charities and experts, we’re making it easier for parents to kickstart this early development – helping to take forward our national mission to boost children’s early development.”

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