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OPINION : No gap for pupils’ diverse backgrounds

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 August 2017

Newham Council

I was pleased to read that our approach to improving the attainment of our children has been praised in a report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), an evidence-based research institute.

Their report ‘Closing the Gap’ highlights that Newham is bucking the trend and ensuring children who deemed to be disadvantaged achieve as well as those who are not.

Throughout the country there is a persistent gap in attainment between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers and this gaps grows throughout their schooling. However in Newham our youngsters are on par with each other – there is no gap.

The report’s findings are based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) results, which sets the standards all pre-school providers must meet to ensure children learn, develop and have the skills they need to start school. In 2016, 72.5 per cent of our youngsters achieved or exceeded their learning goals compared to 69 per cent nationally. This year, 75 per cent met their target, compared to 70 per cent across the country.

We have achieved this by improving the quality of nursery and childcare provision for pre-school children and integrating childcare, children’s centres and early years’ health provision (midwifery and health visiting) into the new Best Start in Life programme.

Government and other councils must follow our lead in working hard to get rid of the entrenched disadvantage gap in the education system otherwise pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to fall behind by the time they take their GCSEs. More from Sir Robin


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