Education has the power to transform children’s futures. We're helping millions of children go to school and improve their skills for a brighter tomorrow.
Education is many children's route out of poverty. It gives them a chance to gain valuable knowledge and skills, and to improve their lives.
And it means when they grow up, their children will have a much better chance of surviving and thriving.
But millions of children today never see the inside of a classroom. Many others struggle the lack the basic skills of their peers while others drop out because their classes are overcrowded or teachers poorly trained.
We're determined to remove these blocks to brighter futures both abroad and in the UK.
Advancing reading in Rwanda
While school attendence is high in Rwanda, literacy rates are worringly low. In partnership with Rwanda's government, our Advancing the Right to Read programme aims to transform reading abilties. In 2014, the first full year of the programme, we reached 120,000 children and by 2017 we plan to reach 200,000.
We're doing this by helping teachers improve how they teach reading and use books in the classroom and establishing community-run reading clubs. We're also supporting parents to develop their children's literacy and learning at home.
But that's not the whole story we're also transforming children's wider reading opportunities in this predominately oral culture which has few local books for young readers by increasing the availability of reading materials.
Our Rwanda Children's Book Intiative provided training and support to local publishers resulting in more than 40 new storybooks as well as books for toddlers and set up nearly 1,000 classtoom and school book collections. We're looking to replicate the Children's Book Intiative in other countries, starting with Bhutan.
Changing the story in the UK
In the UK, the poorest children do much worse at school on average than their better off classmates.
too many boys and girls in the UK fall badly behind in literacy in their first few years at school. Most of these children never catch up, leaving school without basic reading skills or good qualifications.
Among children who leave primary school without basic reading skills, five years later almost all of them – 93% – fail to get five good GCSEs.
By the time they reach GCSEs, children from poor families do half as well as their better off classmates (27% of children from poor families get 5 or more good GCSE passes, compared with 55% from better off families).
That’s why we're working in partnership with Families and Schools Together (FAST), an award-winning, project that supports parents in improving their children’s learning and development at home, so they can reach full potential at school.
We've also started Born to Read giving poorer children in the UK the reading skills they need for a better future by placing volunteers in local primary schools to support children who are struggling with reading.
Find out more about FAST.
Education in emergencies
Children always tell us the same thing in emergency situations: what they want most of all is to get back to school. That’s true whether they’re recovering from a natural disaster or growing up amid conflict.
Children’s right to a decent education is as basic as their right to food and water. That’s why we called for education to become a key part of emergency responses – along with shelter, nutrition and medicine. Now we’re a lead agency in coordinating education in emergencies.
We're currently working in partnership with the EU on bringing education to 5,000 children in the Dollo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia. Find out more about the EU Children of Peace initiative
In war-torn Syria, children missing out on school, are increasingly at risk of being dragged into armed groups, early marriage or child labour. We're giving them an alternative and supported 59 schools in the north of the country, helping children back into education.
We've repaired classrooms damaged by war, provided water and toliet facilities and thousands of school books, textbooks, sports kits, art supplies and musical instruments.
Altogether, around the world, in 2014, we made sure 440,000 children in conflict-affected and fragile countries enrolled in primary school, including 170,000 who accessed education for the first time.