One in three children in Southwark is not ready to start school, according to a new report by Public Health England.
The figures released this month show that 65.6 per cent of the borough’s under-fives have the basic skills needed to start their education – like speaking, reading and behaving appropriately.
Public Health England produced the ‘Improving school readiness’ report to try and encourage local authorities to spend more money on early years development as children classed as not school ready, often go on to struggle throughout their education.
Cllr Victoria Mills, Southwark’s cabinet member for children and schools, said the borough is the sixth best performing in London for early years development and provisional figures for this year indicate the percentage of children who are school ready has gone up to 70 percent.
“Southwark Council is continuing to support early years’ settings to improve the quality of their education and childcare, and to give more children access to free early years’ provision at an earlier age. More than 1,000 two year old children in Southwark are currently receiving a free place, and we expect this to help improve school readiness,” she said.
Southwark is out-performing the London average of just 62 percent of children ready for school and the national average of just over 60 percent.
Lewisham is the best performing London borough with 75.3 percent of children school ready, with the worst being Hillingdon at 52.5 percent.
In June, London Mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell told the News she was “shocked” that more than a thousand five-year-olds in Southwark “failed to achieve the expected level of development” against the Government’s Early Years Foundational Stage framework. “We should all be shocked and galvanised to action by these figures, which tell a story too many Southwark children beginning on a path that will take them to a lifetime of inequality and denied opportunity,” said Dame Tessa.