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New report underlines importance of school readiness

A new report from Public Health England (PHE) shows that two in every five children in London did not achieve a ‘good level of development’ (GLD) by 5 years old. The report argues that ‘school readiness’ at age 5 has a strong impact on future educational attainment and life chances.

Whilst there has been an improvement in ‘school readiness’ when compared to the previous year, the report shows that there are still inequalities across the capital.

The report argues that investing in quality early years education is vital and that the return on investment is greater than many other economic development options. It states, for example, that every £1 invested in quality early care and education saves taxpayers up to £13 in future costs.

In its School Ready report, PACEY showed that there is disagreement across teachers, childcare professionals, parents and policy makers on what ‘school readiness’ actually is. The report found that social and emotional skills such as children being confident, independent and curious to learn were more important than cognitive and academic skills such as reading and writing.

Commenting on the findings, Victoria Flint, Director of Communications, said:

“No one can doubt that the first five years of a child’s life are absolutely vital in determining their long‑term development. It is therefore encouraging that the number of children achieving a good level of development has improved in the last year.

"Through our Starting School Together project, we are piloting a new approach to help children, focusing on those from disadvantaged backgrounds, transition into school. The project is focusing on developing strong partnerships between families, childcare professionals and teachers so that children start reception with the skills they need to thrive throughout their school life. We are pleased that the report in particular highlights the importance of engaging with parents, and this is a key focus of our Starting School Together project.

"We are looking forward to sharing the learning from this project later this year in the hope that children, wherever they live and whatever their background, have the confidence to succeed in school – and in later life."