Heather Wheeler MP pledges important support to media literacy within education

On 20th October I signed a pledge in Westminster to promote media literacy skills amongst young people in South Derbyshire. We’re now in the 21st century and skills that I am still developing need to, and soon will, become common knowledge to the youth of today, which is why it is important to make the most of campaigns like Media Smart.

An exhibition, held in the Houses of Parliament, highlighted the importance of the media literacy programme. In my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP OBE, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, it’s an area in which I am keen to develop both locally and nationally. Within this skills program the campaign also promotes the importance of young people and their parents understanding advertising and the commercial world in which they grow up.

The young people of south Derbyshire grow up in a world surrounded by advertising and media as a whole and it is now, more than ever, a part of our lives whether we like it or not. The forms of media our young people are seeing can be creative and inspiring but it is really important for young children especially that they understand exactly what is being suggested, promised and sold. The Media Smart campaign provides excellent, free teaching resources which helps them to think critically about these issues. Today I will be writing to head teachers across South Derbyshire and draw attention to the invaluable resources Media Smart offers for free to both Primary and Secondary Schools.

I am happy to be an Ambassador for this great free resource and I hope all South Derbyshire Schools take up this opportunity to teach students about the advertising we see every day.

Media Smart provides free educational resources for teachers to help young people understand and think critically about the advertising they come across in their daily lives. Funded by the Advertising Association and UK advertising, Media Smart’s teaching materials have been produced with advice from academics and media literacy experts to ensure they are balanced and rigorous. They use real and current examples of advertising that we are all familiar with to help teach core media literacy skills.

Mark Lund, CEO of McCann Worldgroup UK and Chairman of Media Smart, said:

“Advertising has a responsibility to help young people understand the adverts they see, and we’re delighted that over 12,000 schools have introduced Media Smart’s resources into their classrooms to date. Any teacher, youth leader or parent who wants to know more should visit the website.”