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More five-year-olds than ever before ‘ready for school’

More children than ever before in Staffordshire are starting their school careers equipped to succeed, according to the latest figures.

Statistics from the Department for Education show that the ratio of children classed as ready for school in the county has risen by 20 percentage points in three years from 53.6 per cent to 73.8 per cent.

And for the first time the rate in every district and borough in Staffordshire is above the national average.

The assessment is taken at the age of five, after a child has spent their first year in school. It looks at a wide range of social and practical skills that a young pupil needs to prosper, including their ability to communicate, follow instructions, concentrate, cooperate with other children, feed themselves and be able to visit the bathroom unaided.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

The improvement over the last three years has been outstanding and it’s our young children who are reaping the benefit.

We have put a lot of targeted schemes in place in Staffordshire for families and under-fives and it’s clear that they’re making a huge difference.

For instance the 83 per cent take-up rate for the county council-managed Think2 free child care scheme for two-year-olds is among the highest in the country and when we analysed the results last year we found that where parents had taken advantage of Think2, and had attended a parenting course, four in every five children had a ‘good’ level of development.”

He added:

We know that one of the best, most effective ways of promoting social equality, a well-paid job and good health is for children to do well at school.

The number of childcare providers in Staffordshire inspected by Ofsted and rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ currently stands at 88 per cent and it’s clear that thanks to their efforts, as well as the hard work of others, more and more children are arriving at school ready to take advantage of the first class education on offer.”

Staffordshire has one of the highest take-up rates in the country of free 15 hours’ free childcare for three and four-year-olds. The county council is also one of eight authorities in the country piloting a scheme offering 30 hours’ free childcare for a limited number of families before it is introduced countywide in September 2017.

 

Table: Percentage of pupils achieving a ‘good’ level of development

   

2016

 

 

Staffordshire

 

  

73.8

 

National

 

  

69.3

 

Cannock Chase

 

 

72.8

 

East Staffordshire

 

 

70.0

 

Lichfield

 

 

72.4

 

Newcastle

 

 

74.7

 

South Staffordshire

 

 

78.3

 

Stafford

 

 

75.4

 

Staffordshire Moorlands

 

 

73.5

 

Tamworth

 

 

73.8