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 fromI CAN, the children’s communication charity in improving children’s language skills – the 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
  • oidentify 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