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Clarks staff to teach language skills to children while fitting shoes under government initiative | UK News

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Retail staff will be trained to improve children’s language skills while fitting them for shoes.

Some 6,500 Clarks staff will be trained to develop children’s vocabulary and help build their confidence in social situations.

The company, whose initiative is part of a government scheme to improve early language skills, will pay for the training.

As well as Clarks, which is the largest footwear retailer in the UK, WH Smith, Harper Collins, KPMG and Lego will also take part in the scheme.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds branded the home learning environment for children as the “last taboo”. He wants to halve the number of five-year-old children who do not have speaking and writing skills adequate for their age.

An Oxford University Press study last year found more than 40% of five and six year olds did not know enough words to do well in school.

Analysis from the National Literacy Trust has been cited by the government. It suggests 7.1 million adults in the UK have very poor literacy skills.

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

“For some who left school a long time ago or who have low confidence in their abilities it can be overwhelming to know where to start with supporting children’s learning at home before they start school.”

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