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Guardian helps launch news literacy programme for primary schools

The Guardian Foundation has joined with the National Literacy Trust and the PSHE Association to announce News Wise, a pilot news literacy programme for primary school children and teachers, funded by Google for its first year.

Guardian helps launch news literacy programme for primary schools

The pilot, which launches in Autumn 2018, will be focused on primary school children in years 5 and 6 and will create an evidence-based model for teaching news literacy in primary schools, with the aim to embed news literacy into schools’ curriculum. The programme will enable children to access, navigate, critically analyse and participate in the news through a suite of lesson plans, online resources and school workshops.

News Wise is being developed by the Guardian Foundation, which has a history of working with schools through the Guardian Education centre, the National Literacy Trust, a charity with 25 years’ experience of giving disadvantaged children the literacy skills to succeed in life and the PSHE Association, the national association supporting a network of teachers of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.

Schools are encouraged to register their interest in taking part in the pilot which will initially focus on primary schools with a high proportion of children who are disadvantaged.

Ben Hicks, executive director, the Guardian Foundation, said: “The increased use of social media and the impact of online news on our democracies and societies mean that it’s never been more important to empower children and incorporate critical thinking about the news into the curriculum. We’re excited to be partnering with the National Literacy Trust, PSHE Association and Google to introduce the News Wise pilot into schools and are looking forward to working with children and teachers across the UK on this exciting new programme.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “In this digital age, children who can’t question and determine the reliability of the information they find online will be hamstrung – at school, at work and in life. Worryingly, our research shows that this is a reality for far too many children across the UK. Working with the Guardian Foundation, PSHE Association and Google, we will help children develop the critical literacy skills they need to survive and thrive in a digital world.”

Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the PSHE Association, said: “The school curriculum, including high quality PSHE education, can play a vital role in teaching all children critical literacy skills from an early age, including the ability to spot misinformation, identify persuasion in communication and distinguish fact from opinion. Teachers and schools need high quality training and support to cover this increasingly complex area, which is why we are delighted to work with the National Literacy Trust, Google and the Guardian Foundation on the News Wise programme.”

Benedicte Autret, Google’s Head of Strategic Relationships, News & Publishers said: “Google’s entire mission is based on giving people relevant and useful information, so we take our role in connecting people to the best and most credible sources of information very seriously. We think the best role we can play in combating misinformation online is to support the development and identification of high quality journalism - so we’re delighted to be a part of News Wise and help young people to navigate and participate in the news.”