Competition seeks to find quality early years apps to boost pre-school education


A new competition has launched in regions across the UK to find the best quality early years educational apps that can support the development of language and literacy skills.

The government has identified 12 pilot areas where disadvantaged families will get free access to a choice of two of the best apps that focus on early language, communication and literacy.

All of the apps are designed to encourage parents to start thinking about how they can prepare their children for school life, by using screen time constructively and by exposing them to quality learning activities.

Tech companies have been encouraged to submit apps that meet a range of set educational criteria with successful apps given a stamp of approval.

Parents will then be able to make informed decisions on the apps they want to use, helping them to sift through what is a very crowded marketplace.

Children and families minister Kemi Badenoch said the government is keen to help parents to unlock their children’s potential.

“We want to work together with families to give all children the best possible start and support parents to begin the learning process at home,” she explained.

Highlighting the wealth of options available to parents, she added that the content on the apps is important and by making the right choices, they should be able to “inspire a love of learning in their children”.

The government first unveiled plans to boost literacy, language and communication skills in young children back in February, amid concerns that a quarter of children do not have the required skills by the end of Reception year.

Families in the 12 pilot areas will receive access to the apps for free from next year, with regions chosen based on levels of deprivation and on skills levels among pupils.

The pilot areas are as follows: Brent, Enfield, Halton, Leicester, Luton, Middlesbrough, Oldham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Sandwell, Stoke-on-Trent and Tower Hamlets.

The latest move follows the launch of Hungry Little Minds in July, a campaign from the Department for Education designed to provide tips, advice and support to parents around the topic of early learning.