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Keep informed with news, articles and stories about all things related to children, young people and families.

Global fertility rate in decline as women choose to have fewer children

A new study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has found that the global fertility rate has nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 and is expected to fall below 1.7 by 2100. Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century with 23 countries including Spain, Japan, Portugal and Thailand expected to see their populations halve by the year 2100….
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Early father-child play may help children to control their emotions

A study from Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education and the LEGO Foundation has found that children whose fathers spend time playing with them at a very early age may find it easier to control their behaviour and emotions. The research used data from 78 studies in Europe and the USA between 1977 and 2017 to look at how mothers and fathers play with children aged 0 to 3 years and how play affects their development….
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Children doing an average of 2.5 hours’ schoolwork a day in lockdown

A study by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) suggests that children in the UK are spending an average of 2.5 hours a day doing homework while in lockdown. The study used data from an online survey of 4,559 children from households throughout the UK in the last two weeks of April. It reveals that one fifth of pupils, the equivalent of two million children in the UK, did no schoolwork at home, or less than…
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Video-call reading: A new story time for children in lockdown

Reading has considerable benefits for children’s emotional and social development, but many families will be struggling to keep up with reading routines during the coronavirus pandemic. Video-call shared reading (VCSR) has increasingly become a way for children to be read to during lockdown while families are forced apart and nurseries and schools are shut. Through their experience of observing and participating in VCSR, Professors Natalia Kucirkova and Trude Hoel from the University of Stavanger, Norway, have pulled…
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Kindness matters, now more than ever

Kindness was a key theme of last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and continues to be important during the coronavirus pandemic. Kindness is defined as “doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference” and is believed to be a central aspect of good mental health. Over the past few months, local communities and frontline workers around the world have shown incredible acts of kindness and…
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Online resources and ideas for home schooling

The University of Cambridge has curated a selection of online resources and activities to help children learn at home. The wide range of activities have been pulled together by The Cambridge Museums, the Botanic Gardens, the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University and non-school institutions and initiatives such as the Millennium Maths Project. With museums closed many including the Fitzwilliam Museum, The Polar Museum and the Museum of Zoology are replacing their family programmes with…
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Survey reveals UK teachers’ views on returning to school

Findings from a survey released this week of 4,500 UK teachers across all key stages has found that that two thirds think that school closures have had a significant impact on pupils’ education, with the exam years KS4 (age 14-16) and post-16, being the most strongly affected. Teachers believe the impact will be mitigated to quite a large extent in primary schools and at KS3 if schools return on 1st June, however, they think it is too late…
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Women, young people and low earners hit hardest by coronavirus

A new report from the Resolution Foundation thinktank has found that women, young people and the lowest-paid key workers are the groups most at risk from the health and economic impacts of coronavirus in the UK. The study found that women are more than twice as likely than men to occupy key worker roles including nurses, care workers and those working in education, retail and pharmacies. It also found that 39 per cent of working…
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Play can come into its own during lockdown, says LEGO professor

With schools closed families have the chance to follow their children’s lead and to give them opportunities to learn through play, rather than formal structured study. Paul Ramchandani, LEGO Professor of Play at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, says that unstructured play is essential for young children, and learning at home does not have to follow the strict timetable of school. Instead, different types of play allow children to explore the world, to understand consequences and…
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Distance learning inequality during lockdown

Millions of children across the UK are currently out of school for an extended period due to lockdown. Digital classrooms have been set up at dinner tables that have been turned into makeshift classrooms, with many parents gaining experience as first-time teachers. This arrangement is far from ideal in most households, with families finding it difficult to manage their children’s educational workloads. The problem is exasperated further in homes where adequate technology does not exist….
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