Children’s author backs Big Hopes Big Future Pippa Goodhart, the award-winning author of over 90 books for children and patron of Home-Start Cambridgeshire, has given her support to Home-Start’s new project to get children ready for school, Big Hopes Big Future. "It is well recognised that a child's readiness for school at the age of four can have a profound and ongoing impact on his or her future educational achievement, and also on their happiness and social comfort," said the leading children’s writer. Big Hopes Big Future has been developed by Home-Start UK and is made up of a ground-breaking set of resources and training programmes for its volunteers that are designed to work with families where children may be lacking the skills they need when school begins. One of the key elements of the Big Hopes Big Future programme is encouraging children to love books, and to help parents to read with their children. Around 600,000 five year olds begin primary school each year, yet studies show that almost half will not be ready to start learning. This means that that teachers are spending increasing amounts of time and resources helping children who do not have basic skills. This includes being able to hold a pencil, recognising their own name when it is written down, coping away from their parents or being toilet trained. A study, by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge and the University of South Wales has shown that children from families supported by Big Hopes Big Future make significant improvements in their readiness for school. Pippa Goodhart went on to say "I wholeheartedly support Big Hopes Big Future." Home-Start is now expanding the Big Hopes Big Future programme to 80 Home-Starts across England.