Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has issued a rallying call to step up the pace of early year’s reform as work continues across the city-region to ensure that no child is left behind.
Andy Burnham was addressing more than 300 schools, public, private & voluntary sector organisations at the second Greater Manchester School Readiness Summit last week, as new figures show the educational equality gap is starting to close.
Last year 12,000 children in Greater Manchester started school without the skills to learn, representing a third of children who started school last year in the city-region.
However, this year there has been an increase in the number of children starting Year 1 with a ‘good level of development’, with approximately 200 more children starting school ready to learn.
Greater Manchester has led the way in tackling the issue of school readiness, with local authorities and other organisations working together to give children the best start.
The Mayor has since made school readiness a priority, championing Greater Manchester’s approach and helping to drive the city-region’s ambition to increase the number of children starting school ready to learn to above the national average by 2021.
Speaking at the event Andy Burnham said:
“At the inaugural school readiness summit in November 2017, I called on organisations to go further and faster to improve the number of children starting school ready to learn, building on our successes so far. Today, I can confidently say that thanks to commitment, collaboration and innovation we are moving in the right direction. More children started school this year with the skills to learn and reach their potential – a result of the pioneering work we are doing across the city-region.
“But we need to do much more if we are to ensure that no child is left behind. By continuing to do things differently and seize the opportunities of devolution, we can truly give our children the best start as they begin their educational journey – and that is my plea today.”
Attendees also heard from Lucy Powell MP, Greater Manchester’s political lead for school readiness, and Jon Rouse, Chief Officer, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.