Ensuring all children are ready for school by the age of 5

Why this is an issue

  • Growing up in poverty. Fewer than half of children in Oldham eligible for free school meals achieved a good level of development.
  • Growing up in a disadvantaged area. 80% of 5-year-olds in Saddleworth North and Saddleworth South achieved a good level of development, compared to fewer than 50% of 5-year-olds in St Mary’s.
  • Gender. Girls do better than boys in all wards. Girls do better than boys by more than 40% in Shaw, and by more than 30% in Royton South.
  • Language and cultural background. Between 2015 and 2016, 68% of children with English as a first language achieved a good level of development, compared to only 48% of children with English as an additional language.

What we will do

  • roll out Making it REAL, the evidence-based family literacy programme, across at least 30 nursery settings and children’s centres (through Right Start) in the 8 wards in Oldham with the lowest percentage of children achieving a good level of development by age 5 or with the biggest gaps in development between girls and boys
  • work with the Communications Trust in local nurseries and schools to develop a whole-area strategy for improving speech, language and communication skills for all children
  • get support from ICAN, the children’s communication charity in improving children’s language skills – the focus of its work will be agreed over the autumn term, but could include helping schools to develop or find the best training for teachers to improve language skills
  • identify complementary programmes that can be brought online quickly, taking advice from those working with children in Oldham, our research school, and our national partners on the most effective interventions
  • run an early education conference in Oldham in 2018, focusing on literacy and parents’ and carers’ involvement in education to share ideas and good practice

Our targets

  • Making it REAL will be running in the 8 target wards. and The percentage of children achieving a good level of development by age 5 will increase more in these wards than elsewhere, with a faster rate of improvement for boys in Alexandra, Coldhurst, Medlock Vale, Royton South and Shaw
  • 70% of children in Oldham will achieve a good level of development by 2021, with the greatest improvements among disadvantaged children
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